Technology

What is cloud storage?

hands on a laptop keyboard

Cloud storage offers you the ability to backup up your files, folders, software, pictures or in fact whatever grabs your fancy to a remote location using an internet connection.


This remote location is a server that is maintained by the service provider that you have chosen.

Your chosen provider – for example, OneDrive a Microsoft solution will manage your data for you and ensure that it is kept safely on their extensive network infrastructure.


You must have an internet connection. Your connection to the World Wide Web will allow you to send your files to the remote server. Of course, it is also what allows you to retrieve them when required. Today both home users and big business are using cloud storage as backup media. It does have a lot of advantages of some I will list here:

Advantages

1 – It’s Convenient

Firstly you don’t have to go and purchase external storage media. No more USB sticks are lying around the house that might end up failing you end up losing your data! Depending on the chosen cloud service provider you can simply have a folder on your desktop. Any data within this folder is automatically backed up for you. You don’t have to do anything else. This data can then be accessed through a web browser from any location in the world, securely, through a web browser. Automatic syncing is a massive advantage to using cloud storage to back up your files.

2 – It’s Inexpensive

Cloud-based backup is cheaper than one would think. A lot of websites will offer free trials to entice you and see what they have on offer so don’t be afraid to try several, so you find a solution that meets all your requirements. For a few dollars per month, you can have Gigabytes or Terabytes of storage space. The solution that I use, a personal choice, is OneDrive. I get features besides online storage such as file sharing abilities, a great mobile app; I can edit my files, for example, word documents online (If I’m using a workstation that doesn’t have Microsoft Office installed) and a host of other features. This costs $1.99 per month. Microsoft has packages tailored to your needs. Again this is the provider I have chosen, and if you search online, you’ll find an abundance of vendors.

3 – It’s Safe

Data that is stored in the cloud is generally stored using secure encryption technologies. Your connection method when uploading and downloading your media content is done using secure protocols. Ensure the provider you pick offers these security features. When we say safe another big advantage is you don’t have to worry about losing your USB storage device, or if your laptop fails, gets stolen you’ll still be able to access your online content instantly again using another device such as a laptop, mobile or tablet device.

Disadvantages

1 – Trust

Anytime I’m asked about cloud storage difficulties this is always first on my list of weaknesses. You must trust your provider. Your holiday snaps, those family videos, your outstanding work presentations or financial data is being stored on servers that do not belong to you that you do not control. Pick a well-established cloud provider. Read plenty of reviews from those using the service already. Ensure that security is of the utmost importance to the company offering you storage.

2 – Internet Reliant

Yes, this is evident but is important to remember all the same and has to be mentioned. You must have access to an internet connection to access your files, both uploading and downloading. Today, this isn’t a major issue with high-speed internet available almost everywhere you look. A good upload speed is important when you have large files in your upload queue and also be aware that if you’re using 3G/4G technologies on your tablet or mobile, you might incur attentional costs depending on your package so try to opt for one that has unlimited bandwidth.

3 – It can be Costly.

Don’t get me wrong. Online storage for backing up your files is as mentioned inexpensive just be careful when choosing a storage package. Look up the costs of attentional space if you go over your allowance. Videos and high-quality pictures can be quite large so have a look at your existing volume of data. Try and estimate future requirements and pick a plan that offers you the ability to easily at more space once you reach your allowances.

The bottom line

I have been using cloud storage for my online backups now for years, and the pros far outweigh the cons in my opinion. Try out a few solutions before you commit to your chosen vendor as we have discussed here, pick a well-established provider that offers a vast feature set, and you won’t go too far wrong.

Some Recommendations

Microsoft: https://onedrive.live.com/

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/

Google: https://www.google.com/drive/


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John Ryan

I write mainly about tips to achieve your goals as well as technology and personal finance. Click here to contribute an article >>

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