There are a lot of cloud storage options out there, but knowing which one will best suit your requirements is key. When it comes to cloud storage, there are three main services that are already built-in to your devices. If you’re an Apple user, it’s iCloud. If you’re an Android user, then it’ll be Google Drive. But if you’re a Windows user, it will be OneDrive. There are of course, other cloud storage options, I will cover some of these later.
Regularly backing up your files is extremely important. We’ve had customers who have relied on one device to store all of their files, only for that device to fail, resulting in them losing everything. Although data recovery is usually a possibility, this can be very costly, and can of course be avoided. To be sure that all of your files are safe, we recommend backing them up in at least three places; original location, a physical drive, whether that is a USB Flash Drive, or an external hard drive, and of course, the Cloud.
What is Cloud Storage?
I don’t know about you, but whenever someone mentions “the Cloud”, my mind automatically thinks of a blue sky with white clouds! Obviously, that isn’t the case, that’s just how my brain works. Cloud storage is in fact a large network of servers, which are usually within a server farm. Identical copies of your files are stored on multiple servers located around the world. So, in the unlikely event that one server fails, your data can still be accessed elsewhere.
Google Data Centres are located in over 200 Countries and territories around the world, and it is continuing to expand. Microsoft also have 200+ Data Centres around the world, whereas Apple Inc. currently have 8 Data Centres, which did come as a bit of a surprise.
Microsoft – OneDrive
If you are a Microsoft user you may have noticed that when setting up your computer, you were given the option to sign in using a Microsoft account. If this was the case, then you are probably already signed into OneDrive on your computer. Your computer usually saves all of your files to your OneDrive, which isn’t always ideal, as this will result in you not being able to access your files if you do not have an internet connection. What we do recommend is saving the files locally to the computer, and then backing up to OneDrive, this then gives you two of your three backup locations. The third location can then be a physical device, the format and size of this will of course depend on how many files you have to backup.
Do keep in mind though that the storage limit for a free OneDrive account is 5GB, if, however you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, then your account will allow you to store up to 1TB of files.
Apple – iCloud
If you use an Apple device, whether that is an iMac, MacBook, iPad or iPhone, you will have an Apple ID, which will be linked to an iCloud account.
Again, the free limit of an iCloud account is 5GB. If you require more storage, you can purchase additional space. You can find details of prices on Apples website.
Android – GoogleDrive
Anyone who has had an Android device will know that you are required to sign in with a Google or Gmail account. This enables you to install Apps and allows you to back-up to your GoogleDrive. You will of course need to set-up the back-up yourself, as it doesn’t do it automatically. You will need the GoogleDrive App installed, this maybe pre-installed on your device, or you may need to install it from the PlayStore, it will depend on your device make and model. You can then go through the App and select what you would like it to back up. You will also need to go into your Google Photos App and set it to back up your photos too.
You can also install GoogleDrive on your Windows PC, which will allow you to save files directly into your GoogleDrive folder, which you will then be able to access on any other device, be it a SmartPhone, Tablet or another Computer, if you are signed in using the same Google/Gmail account. It is worth remembering though to ensure that your GoogleDrive does sync to the cloud when saving any files on a PC, if they don’t sync, they won’t be accessible.
GoogleDrive does have a free storage limit of 15GB, which is 3 times large than the OneDrive and iCloud free options, but this does cover your files, photos and emails. You are able to upgrade to a paid for storage plan, you can check out storage plans by logging into your Google account.
Are my files safe in the Cloud?
Major cloud storage services are highly secure, with many encrypting your data whilst it is moving between your devices and the cloud. Data Centres have various layers of security to guard against cyber-attacks, although this isn’t infallible, it is something that is constantly evolving.
As with everything there are of course advantages and disadvantages for all types of storage, but the main advantage of Cloud storage is that it is accessible from anywhere you can access the internet, all you will need is your login details for cloud storage.
In the unlikely event that a server fails your data would still be accessible from another server.
Cloud storage can be your best friend, and if you have been avoiding it like the plague, then now may be the time to embrace it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it could change your life, but if you want to access files from more than one device or location, then it is the quickest and easiest way to do it. Backing up photos to the cloud from a mobile device requires no effort once it is set-up, and you can then view them easily on your computer, without having to connect devices by cable.
If you have any questions about the Cloud drop us an email, leave a comment below or get in touch with us on social media.