Cloud Storage – Can it be of use to you?
Let’s take the mystery out of cloud technology as it seems to be a much misunderstood phenomenon. The cloud is tech slang for internet based – networking/ storage/ applications/ and more, it basically means connecting to the internet to do lots of internet based things, if you were to use only cloud storage then your device doesn’t need much storage making it less expensive. The Google Chromebook only has 16 gb of internal memory as it uses the internet based Google Drive as it’s memory/storage.
I thought cloud storage a good place to start for those who are new to the cloud concept. Most of you will have used a pen type storage drive or an external hard drive to bolster the storage of your home computer, cloud storage in its simplest form is just like this. It’s like having an external hard drive plugged in but kept in a secure location, you use the internet to control this hard drive but the principals are the same, you then have added advantages, because the drive is connected to the internet it uses this to network your devices.
So what are the advantages of the cloud and how can it be useful to you at home?
Firstly it is a digital safe – Cloud storage drives are continually securely backed up between a series of hard drives so that theoretically no information stored here can be lost. I use this to store things that are valuable to me like family pictures and videos, that I would hate to loose, in the knowledge that if my computer or home storage drives fail the things that are important to me will remain safe on my cloud storage. I also store the really important stuff on more than one cloud base. To be sure to be sure. 😉
Once I load information to the cloud it becomes accessible to me from any internet connection with my login details. I use this to keep a copy of all my travel documents when I go abroad. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people loosing or having their passports stolen while on holiday and the holiday is ruined by the trauma of having to get all this sorted to be able to return home. If you want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, scan or photograph all your your travel documents and load them to the cloud before you leave home. Should the worst happen you only need an internet connection and your login details to access everything you need, passport, travel insurance, flight tickets etc. Make sure photos are clear and you include any barcodes on the document in your picture. If you’re going on business you can also back up any important documents needed for your trip here.
Sharing – Another useful feature of cloud storage is the ability to share with others, different providers have different systems but they all have the option to share documents or folders as you wish with whoever you want. Say you take a video and you want to share it with family on the other side of the world, what do you do? It’s too big for email, perhaps you load it to a pen drive or burn it to a disc and then hope it doesn’t get lost in the post. You can load your video to the cloud and then share it with your family from there, they can download the video on their side, job done!
So where do you get cloud storage and what’s the difference?
There are lots of cloud storage providers on the internet today but I’ll tell you about the ones I use and you can make up your own mind. All of these make free apps for PC, Android and Apple systems so you can synchronize between all your devices, or not, the choice is yours.
- www.box.com – Box is one of the simplest and most secure for the beginner, simply create an account and you’ll get 10 Gb of free storage. Box is well laid out and easy to use.
- www.dropbox.com – Dropbox is great, you install the software to your pc and it creates a Dropbox folder in your documents, you create folder within this folder and share that folder with whoever you want. This is where it becomes more complicated, you only need drop *a copy of what you want to share into this folder and off it goes, next time that person switches on their computer that file will appear in the corresponding folder on their device, however, this gives that person the ability to put files on you computer without you expressly giving permission. Dropbox will give you 2 gb of free storage when you sign up plus an extra 500 mb every time you get a friend to sign up for an account. *A copy – only ever put a copy of what you want to share into the shared folder, if you or the other person deletes the file it’s gone for good!
- Google Drive – https://www.google.com/drive/ – If you have a Gmail email address then you already have access to Google Drive and 15 gb of free storage if you don’t it’s free to get Gmail. Google not only gives you a place to store the things that are important to you but it also has built in office software included. You have a writer, spreadsheets, presentation creator and a form creator to name but a few of these very useful tools and all can be shared and worked upon by different people all at the same time so you can collaborate with colleagues anywhere in the word on the same document, live.
A word of warning, the information stored on the cloud is only as secure as your login details, use a secure password, a mix of capitol letters, small letters, numbers and symbols or use something like this password generator – http://strongpasswordgenerator.com/ for a strong (probably hard to remember) password or make it easier to remember by using a word you’ll remember but replacing letters with numbers that look similar, use a 5 for an s or a 0 for an o then add a symbol or two along the way.