Explanation on how cloud file storage works

Dear Experts,

I am a novice when it comes to cloud storage.  My company is looking to move to a cloud storage platform; so, I have been doing some research on it and I am confused to how exactly does cloud storage work.  So I need help in explaining to me how cloud storage works.

I am very familiar of how things work on our internal storage environment.  If we have a hypothetical department that has 4 employees (Dave, Gary, Matt, Zach); each employee would get their own personal slice of the home drive to keep their own personal data and no one has access to their personal data, except them (and quite possibly the system administrator).  Then there would be a shared drive, separate from the home drive, that they can share documents to others within the department or perhaps outside of the department.

Now, how would the above scenario work if my company moves from an internal storage environment to a cloud storage environment?  In the research I have done so far, I am familiar that each of the above 4 employees would receive their personal cloud storage account that has a storage limit (500GB, 1TB, 2TB, etc...) assigned to it, based on a subscription plan.  However, I am not understanding, how would they share documents with others in the department or even outside of the department?

Any help, tidbit, advice, suggestion would be very much appreciated.  Also, if you have a certain/specific/recommended cloud storage site you would recommend, please do so.  I am familiar with the popular ones (Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive); however, if there are others that you highly recommend, please do so.  I am looking for any help possible.

Thank you in advance,
sla0610
sla0610Asked:
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Brian DayhoffSenior Full Stack DeveloperCommented:
Amazon S3 is the cheapest bulk storage solution, it scales well, it will integrate directly with your company's tech stack if desired, and has a web interface for direct user file management. You can connect to it with most standard FTP clients also, and you have more control over visibility and access rights than you are going to get from Dropbox or Google Drive. It has a command line utility for your IT guy to directly push everything from your existing local storage up in one shot and/or update/pull/push/delete as needed too. Amazon also offers Glacier, which is basically the same thing as S3 but is for long-term bulk data storage (it's cheaper and stores more, but takes longer to retreive, and is mostly for database backups, piles of reports that may need to be looked up at some point in the future but aren't immediately neccessary, etc). You will probably spend half or less using S3 than you would for any other cloud provider.
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorCommented:
However, I am not understanding, how would they share documents with others in the department or even outside of the department?
By simply granting access to those that need the access. How that's done all depends on the subscriptions plan and who your cloud storage host is going to be, but you can rest assured it works. Think of Cloud Storage as just another File Server drive, only that it's not on site and that drive (or space) can be configured to share or restrict in a multitude of ways.

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
There's a few  Pro's & Con's...
Pro's no on site disks that can fail, with the right Cloud provider they provision that for you.
Backups will still be needed. As the could can be seen as Raid Storage, it isn't multiple copies or restorable.

Con's you will need a reliable & capable network connection   without that you would have the experience of a local drive that is about to fail
lots of retries, etc. etc. and restarts needed).
More components need to be in working order to have reasonable availibility.  ==> more potential points of failure.
When using application that don't expect latency during IO those may fail.
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sla0610Author Commented:
Experts, thank you all for your help and the passing on of your knowledge.  It's helpful like you that makes the job a little easier.
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