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Feet on the ground, Data in the clouds

June 3, 2014

Still backing up your important photos and files on a hard drive? Wrap your head around the cloud and check out these four options for individual cloud computing and storage options.

What does the ‘cloud’ even mean?
In a nutshell – the ‘cloud’ or ‘cloud computing’ typically refers to using/storing/accessing programs and files over the internet rather than on a physical device like a hard drive or USB stick. Programs or files stored on the ‘cloud’ can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and from just about any device. Both businesses and individuals are starting to use the cloud more and more and it stands to reason that the popularity will only continue to grow.

Four Cloud Options for Individual Use

Microsoft offers a cloud storage service called OneDrive that gives users 7GB of data for free. 7GB is a pretty good amount of storage space considering it doesn’t cost anything and if you need more space than that you can upgrade from 50-200GB for $25-$100. The website https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/ also mentions something about a service called Camera Roll that backs photos and videos up to the cloud and offers a 3GB space increase when you sign up

2. Dropbox
This cloud solution seems to have the most name recognition and might be the most popular. The basic free plan offer 2GB of storage and upgrades are also available for $9.99-$49.99 for 100-500GB. According to the website Dropbox has been around since 2007 which might help to explain the popularity of it today.

3.Google Drive
Naturally Google offers a service called Google Drive with 15GB of free storage. There might be some advantages to this service if you are already using Gmail. The site also mentioned upgrades of 100GB starting at just $1.99 – a price which seemed like it might be the most reasonable outside of the basic services

4. Apple iCloud
Of course there is an Apple cloud solution out there for iOS users, and it sounds like it might be a good option if you have multiple devices on this platform. App store items and devices backups are possible along with files, photos etc.

Why do I need the Cloud?
This is probably one of the more common questions that comes along when considering whether to go cloud or not. On one hand, there is some serious convenience to having all of your info and files on the cloud. Accessing things from home, the office or on the road is no problem.

The bigger advantage is also peace of mind in knowing that your data is backed up and can be recovered at any time. If you have ever had a hard drive fail, cell phone die or USB stick get lost – you know the immediate sense of panic that can set in on losing your pictures or important files. Having your info in the cloud means you can rest assured knowing that if your phone or computer die, you don’t loose everything. It also means upgrading to a new phone or computer is easy and there is no need to physically copy data or re-install apps etc.

On the downside, privacy is probably the biggest concern. Accessing info online means that information is always available to anybody. Cloud services have protection in place to prevent unauthorized people from accessing data, but there is always the potential for hackers or a breech. Another privacy related concern is that companies might access your info and data in order to market other goods and services or learn more about your behavior as a consumer.