What is cloud storage? We’ll get straight to the point – cloud storage is an option to save your personal information to the world wide web. That’s in very basic terms as cloud computing is an intricate and complex beast. Cloud storage solutions/services offer the possibility for you and me, small businesses and big corporations alike, to store files, documents, pictures, videos and so on, to a highly secure and safe online location.
They offer quick access to your data regardless where you are on planet Earth – you just need an internet connection and you can backup cloud data storage from New York to Beijing. In today’s post, we’ll discuss what is cloud storage used for, how does cloud storage work, the advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage, and what are the free options, the cheap services, and the industry leaders.
And it’s super important to know the difference between storage cloud services and online backup providers.
Fun fact: did you know that Yahoo Mail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Flickr are all cloud computing services? All of them allow you to store data on the web and access their online services from basically anywhere in the world. If you’ve been using one of the aforementioned services – and most likely you uploaded a clip on YouTube at some point in your life, or sent a mail with an attachment via Yahoo Mail; then you’re already a cloud computing user.
How does the cloud work?
Uploading data to the cloud doesn’t mean that it’s saved in the fluffy white clouds that traverse our globe. They have a terrestrial home – actually, they have lots of terrestrial homes. Your data is stored on servers all across the world.
The majority of cloud based storage services can be accessed via a web browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox, and some providers offer dedicated desktop, and mobile apps.
You either have a central folder on your desktop where you can paste all of your folders and files, drag and drop them – which also works for web interfaces; or upload them using the provider’s specially made web interface or app. You just need to make sure you have enough cloud storage capacity. Later in our post we’ll discuss what you need to pay attention to when looking for a cloud storage service – such as cloud storage space and cloud sharing possibilities to name just a couple of features.
Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive are just a few examples of cloud storage services that you can subscribe if you need to backup the data on your computer.
There are loads other data cloud storage applications for businesses, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll only discuss cloud computing consumer solutions.
Advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage
So we got the what is cloud storage out of the way, now it’s time to see what are the benefits of cloud storage – and disadvantages, of course.
- Cost Savings – Organizations and businesses pretty much love cloud storage services as they dramatically cut costs. Mainly because, usually, cloud storage costs about 3 cents per gigabyte. Of course, it depends on the subscription plan and the provider, and if you want more features such as file versioning, scheduled backups and so on.
- Disaster Recovery – It’s highly recommended that businesses and organizations have a contingency plan in case something happens to internal servers. In case of emergencies – fires, earthquakes, and such; businesses should have a backup plan ready, and internet storage services prove to be the best way to do so.
- Accessibility – All of your files stored on the cloud can be accessed from basically anywhere in the world as long as you have a working internet connection.
- Bandwidth – Instead of sending a ton of emails for just a 1 GB file, you can send your client, wife, friend, or colleague a web link from where they can download tens of gigabytes.
- Usability – The majority of cloud-based services provide a central desktop folder for PCs and Macs to where you can drag and drop data.
- Software – In order to edit data across multiple devices you’ll have to download the software on all of your machines.
- Data Security – The possibility of personal data mingling with other organizations makes some companies really uneasy. Considering how corporate espionage is a real thing, and how knowing what your competitor is up to means the life or death of your firm, it makes sense to be cautious.
- Accessibility – If you don’t have a working internet connection, you don’t have access to your data.
- Bandwidth – Some providers do provide unlimited bandwidth, be the majority don’t. Surpassing the allotted storage space may cost your company significant money.
- Usability – Instead of a drag&drop, we recommend you do a copy&paste when transferring files to the cloud as doing a drag&drop permanently moves the document.
The cloud storage services that are worth your money
Using cloud storage services doesn’t have to be a hassle, but even though you know what a cloud storage is, there are quite a few things to ask yourself before picking a provider. What is a cloud storage supposed to look like, is this a good, easy to use interface? How much web storage can they offer, and what are the costs of going passed the quota? Are there any file or uploading limits? Backup and file versioning features? And most importantly, what is the cloud storage that will fit my company’s niche?
You’re probably looking for what is the best cloud storage, but first-off you need to assess what you’ll be using it for.
If you aren’t sure what to pick, we have some great posts that should help you determine what you need.
- Top 5 Cheap Online Backup Services
- Top 5 Best Cloud Photo Storage Services
- Top 5 Best Cloud Storage for Video Data
- Cheap Cloud Storage: Top 5 Best Services
- The Best Free Cloud Storage: Top 6 Services
- Cloud Storage Document Management: 5 Easy to Use Services
- Top 5 Business Cloud Storage Services
- Top 6 Best Cloud Music Storage Services
What’s the difference between cloud storage and online backup
The huge difference between the two is that online backup services emphasize security and protecting your files, rather than sharing or syncing them. Online backups will continuously, well, back up all of your data, and when your local storage crashes, you won’t lose all of your information. You can just click a button and let the online backup service recreate your former medium in a matter of minutes, hours, and even days – it depends on how much you have backed up.
And that’s about it folks. Today we’ve learned what is cloud storage, what is the cloud good for, how cloud storage works, the benefits and the disadvantages and about several great providers.