Originally published in The Clarion | June 01, 2011
Our last of four simple and relatively inexpensive backup solutions for the home and small office is a newer technology when compared to the others. If you read any technology articles, odds are good the term “the cloud” will ring a bell. While the cloud can be used for a variety of Web-accessible services, one of its top purposes is in providing online storage solutions. The generic term ‘cloud’ simply refers to Web-attached servers that are accessible from virtually anywhere you have an Internet connection. One attractive feature of the cloud is that as a user, it really does not matter where in the broad space of the Web the servers are located, we only really care that they are reliable, accessible and most importantly secure.
Depending on what sort of data you wish to retain in a backup, cloud services may be your best bet for a backup solution. Files including pictures and home videos are typically not considered sensitive data, therefore having such data stolen would not normally result in a major threat to one’s security. Of course we all would prefer that our files be only available to ourselves and those we choose to share them with, but sites like facebook.com youtube.com and flikr.com easily prove that many of us don’t mind the world peering into our personal lives.
Many of the more prominent websites provide some sort of cloud storage services. In addition, some operating systems are now including cloud services in their offerings and Internet Service Providers are beginning to enter the market as well. Most cloud storage providers charge a fee for their services, although there are some providers who provide a small amount of storage space at no charge and allow additional space to be purchased as needed. Uploading, managing and accessing your data from a cloud storage provider is typically as easy as navigating a website. Most providers use a web browser interface which makes your data accessible from most any Web-enabled device.
Determining which cloud storage provider is best for you will take some thought and consideration. For some of us, free is the only option while for others security and accessibility are top priorities. When compared to the other three backup storage solutions that we have discussed previously, one major advantage of cloud storage is that your backups are always stored off-site. Any property damage to your home or small office will not affect your backups in any way. Thanks to this, recovering from a failed hard drive or worse catastrophe is a relatively easy and quick process when using cloud storage services.