More and more people are using 'the cloud' today, whether it's storing files, listening to music or saving pictures to the cloud. For those who haven't quite caught on, 'the cloud' still means those white puffy things in the sky. In technology, however, it is something completely different.
What is Cloud Storage?
The term 'cloud' is simply how a network or remote servers can be accessed via an internet connection. In other words, it’s a place other than your computer that you can use to store your stuff.
Before cloud storage services, we had to save all of our files to our computers, on our local hard drives, or on a CD, DVD or floppy disc. These days, we have multiple desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices from which we may need to access files from. Gone are the days where we had to save a file to a USB key and transfer it to another computer or email the file to yourself so you could open it on another device. But today, the cloud allows us to simply save a file on a remote server so it can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection.
How Does it Work?
If you use the internet and you know how to create and save files on your computer, you can understand how to use a cloud storage service. The cloud allows you to save files to your computer which will automatically sync with your cloud storage server. You can then access these files/pictures via the internet through any laptop or mobile device. Basically, you are taking your files with you anywhere!
Many of the services you subscribe to today use Cloud Storage services. Netflix, Spotify, Gmail, Hotmail, Google Docs Dropbox are just a few popular services that utilize the cloud. Scenic Solutions Group uses Microsoft OneDrive for our cloud purposes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage
1. Usability: Most cloud storage services have desktop folders for Macs and PCs. This allows you to drag and drop files between your desktop or laptop and the cloud storage. Furthermore, if you’ve made changes to a file, the cloud will automatically sync the changes across all associated devices.
2. Bandwidth: You can avoid emailing files to individuals and instead send a web link to recipients through your email.
3. Accessibility: Stored files can be accessed from anywhere via an Internet connection.
4. Disaster Recovery: One of the greatest advantages of using cloud storage is that you’ll always have a backup solution in case something goes wrong. If something happens to the files on a computer, you can always access the cloud and retrieve any data that may have been damaged or lost.
5. Cost Savings: Businesses and organizations can often reduce annual operating costs by using cloud storage; cloud storage costs about 3 cents per gigabyte to store data internally. Users can see additional cost savings because it does not require internal power to store information remotely.
1. Usability: Be careful when using drag/drop to move a document into the cloud storage folder. This will permanently move your document from its original folder to the cloud storage location. Do a copy and paste instead of drag/drop if you want to retain the document’s original location in addition to moving a copy onto the cloud storage folder.
2. Bandwidth: Several cloud storage services have a specific bandwidth allowance. If a business uses more than the given allowance, the additional charges could be significant. However, some providers allow unlimited bandwidth. This is a factor that companies should consider when looking for a provider.
3. Accessibility: If you have no internet connection, you have no access to your data.
4. Data Security: There are concerns with the safety and privacy of important data stored remotely. The possibility of private data commingling with other organizations makes some businesses uneasy. However, most cloud storage providers tend to add extra layers of security protocols. They do this in order to prevent your files and folders from either ending up in the wrong hands or from being lost.
5. Software: If you want to be able to change your files locally through multiple devices, you’ll need to download the service on all devices.