Store Your Data In The Cloud For Security And Flexibility
If you’ve taken any notice of the IT scene over the last few years then you’ll know that the cloud has become the latest buzz phrase when it comes to storing your data. So what is cloud storage and how can it help you?
When IT types refer to the cloud essentially what they mean is a cluster of remote servers accessed via the Internet. It doesn’t really matter where this storage is, it could be just down the road or on the other side of the world. As long as you can connect to it, its physical location is irrelevant. By storing data in the cloud rather than on your own computer you have a number of advantages.
Advantages of Cloud Storage
If important information is stored on your local computer system you may enjoy having it under your own control. However this also brings responsibility, you have to back it up and make sure it’s secure. Store it in the cloud and all of this is taken care of for you. In fact many people opt to use cloud storage as a backup so that you have a safe copy of the data in addition to your local version. It’s usually possible to retrieve older versions from the cloud too so there’s no need to worry if you accidentally overwrite an important file.
The other big advantage of cloud storage is in sharing and synchronizing information. If you need to work on the same files in two different locations – at home and in the office for example – then the cloud makes it easy to achieve. There’s no need to remember to copy the files to a flash drive before you leave work and no worries about losing it on the way home. With online storage the same data is available at both locations and you can always be sure you’re working on the latest version of the files.
This comes into its own for team working too. You can have the same project files available to a number of people. It also allows you to see who has worked on a file and what they’ve changed so it’s simple to keep track of who has done what.
Choosing a Provider
There are lots of companies offering cloud storage so when you’re selecting a provider there are some factors you need to bear in mind. Firstly make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Your data is likely to be important to you or your company so you want to make sure it’s safe and secure. Check that they have a backup regime in place and whether files get backed up when they’re in use or only when they’re closed. This is useful if you need to recover from a backup check to see if multiple versions are available so that you can roll back to a specific time.
You also need to find out if your files will be encrypted both when stored and when in transit across the Web. This is especially important if you’re storing personal information that you can’t afford to have fall into the wrong hands. Whilst looking at security find out how much control the system gives you over who is allowed to access the data. Can you restrict files to certain individual logins?
Next look at how much you’re being charged for storage space. Some companies bill for data in fixed size blocks whilst others will give you an unlimited amount for your money. It’s vital to understand what you’re getting as if you exceed your storage allowance you may find yourself getting stung for extra charges.
Jann Webb is a freelance writer and former systems analyst and recommends taking your time to understand what’s on offer when choosing a cloud storage provider.