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The Cloud. Heard of it but not exactly sure what it is? Here’s a one-sentence definition: The cloud is a network of servers with each offering different functions. The most popular function now is probably cloud storage, which lets users save and back up data in the cloud and access whenever they are connected to the Internet. What kind of data should I be saving in the cloud? So you asked. Here’s a couple things that we think would be perfect to go into your virtual vault.

Tip #1 – For photo junkies, Instagram lovers, proud moms & dads, photographers, backpackers, hipsters, and basically you and me: YOUR PHOTOS & VIDEOS.

In Instagram’s report of end-of-year data released on 12-13-2013, the company revealed that in 2013, an average of 55 million photos were uploaded and published daily on its platform. 55 million photos, everyday!

We take a lot of photos on our phones, digital cameras, and even tablets. It’s needless for us to stress how much the photos that captured our 21st birthday, graduation, wedding, family Christmas dinner, and our baby’s first step mean to us. As most images are now digitalized (is anyone still developing his photos instead of uploading?), they mostly live in hardware such as your computer’s hard drive or camera’s memory cards. However, hardware breaks or gets lost, more frequently than you’d expect. To prevent losing these priceless memories, storing these photos and videos in a trustworthy cloud service IN ADDITION to your hard drive is crucial. We recommend keeping data in both places since the downside of cloud storage is that you will need Internet connection to access all files. If you are concerned about privacy and possible data leakage, many cloud service providers do encrypt your data before sending it to their servers. It means if anyone by any chance lays his hand on your data, all he gets will be Gibberish.

Note: For avid Instagram users, even though when you upload your photos to Instagram they are automatically saved to its server AKA the cloud, we still recommend that you save the originals somewhere else so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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Tip #2 – For professionals, students, professors, designers, artists, and basically anyone who is constantly working on documents: YOUR WORKS.

Saving your documents in the cloud not only keeps it safe from unexpected disasters, such as stolen laptops, crashed hard disks, and a flood that washed everything off your house (don’t say it’s unlikely… anything could happen!), but also enables you to access and edit your files anywhere and anytime, as long as you are connected to the Internet. Got a groundbreaking idea to add to the business proposal that you had been struggling with while you are doing your daily run by the beach without the laptop by your side? No problem. Simply pull out your phone, go into your sync folder, open the file, and start editing. Yup, it’s that easy. Even better, you will find the same updated version at your desk when you retrieve your document on your work computer or any other synced devices. Oh, and you can also share files with your colleagues via cloud if you are working on them collaboratively!

Had this Ph.D. student utilized the cloud, he’d have saved himself from losing his dissertation and a peace of mind. Don’t put yourself in this tragic situation!

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Tip #3 – For people with abundant cloud space: YOUR MULTIMEDIA LIBRARY.

Let’s start with the piece of music, movie, or book that is most difficult to acquire. For anything that you can download or stream on iTunes, Netflix, or elsewhere in a snap, leave it unless you have extra space in your pocket. If you have a MP3 that you spent half an hour on going back and forth between gadgets and applications to personally convert from a vinyl record of your very precious collection, this is worth of the space on your cloud folder. You also get to stream music and clips via your cloud folders on mobile devices. Impressed? Back it up in the cloud.

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As there are numerous cloud backup and storage service providers out there, most of them only provide free storage up to a certain limit. If you have a lot of data to back up and do not have the budget to get a paid account, we suggest that you use more than one cloud service. Categorize your data and keep your photos in Service A, documents in Service B, and music in Service C.

Are you about to use up the free space on your current cloud storage? Are you looking to find a cloud service to back up your files? Here is ElephantDrive, a secure, fast, and reliable option for your backup and storage need. We work hard to ensure that all your data is encrypted and easily accessible. Sign up for a free account at today. We promise, you won’t be disappointed!