The way people and companies store their important documents has changed drastically over the past few decades, but nothing has changed how we view storage more than the invention of the cloud.
Storing personal and professional data on the cloud is becoming much more prominent. This is one of the reasons why it is predicted that the public cloud service market will amount to $623.3 billion by 2023 worldwide. But even as the popularity and usage of the cloud grow, some people are still confused about how it works and reluctant to give it a try.
We often hear about the cloud and how it’s a revolutionary way of storing data and keeping it safe, but we don’t hear a lot of people going into further explanation. This is a shame, seeing as how we all use cloud storage solutions and online backup daily.
In fact, the average person uses 36 cloud-based services every single day. Whether you realize it or not, our modern world would function in a completely different way if it wasn’t for cloud backup services. This is true from both personal and professional viewpoints.
If you want to learn more about personal cloud storage and cloud storage for business, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Before we can get into the details that explain why is cloud storage so important and how it works, we first need to look at the basics and explain what cloud storage is.
You’re most likely familiar with old-fashioned types of object storage that involve storing files and other data on your computer. The content you’re saving is stored on the physical drive or a removable storage media such as an external hard drive, a USB drive, or a compact disk (CD).
While there isn’t anything wrong with this type of storage, it does have a few downsides:
- You need to work with limited space.
- Your data is vulnerable to both internal and external tampering.
- Once your data is gone, you can never get it back.
Cloud storage was designed to solve all of these issues. It’s a remote platform that utilizes a virtualized and multi-tenant infrastructure to provide its users with adequate, safe, and reliable storage resources. The data that is on the cloud is maintained, managed, and backed up remotely at an off-site location.
These servers can be accessed at any time and from any device connected to the internet as long as the person accessing them is authorized to do so.
There are both public and private cloud storage options, and there are also various plans you can choose from. Most people who don’t have a need for too much storage space opt for a basic plan, while businesses usually choose a strong annual plan.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
Cloud storage systems use one or multiple data servers to which users send files and data via the internet to the data server. Once the data is stored, the user can access it through a web-based interface.
The way cloud file storage works is actually very easy and simple. All of the information users send is safely stored in various data centers. A third party takes care of the maintenance and makes sure the data is always stored safely and securely.
There is one master control server and multiple other servers that are in charge of storage. Even if one server fails or requires any sort of maintenance, the data will be stored in one of the other servers.
It’s also important to note that the servers can store a seemingly endless amount of data, but your storage costs will depend on the amount of data you use. There are also some solutions that will provide you with additional storage or even unlimited storage if you opt for the business plan.
These servers are all interlinked and can support multiple types of files of all sizes. Business users mostly use cloud storage for important larger files and documents, but these servers can also store photos, videos, movies, music, and more.
The cloud is an amazing example of how much technology has advanced. It provides users with an innovative way to manage, maintain, share, and access their content from anywhere in the world. You can also give access to your stored files to other people, like your friends, family, or colleagues.
When and Why You Should Use Cloud Storage Services
Whenever cloud storage is mentioned, most people think about the key features it brings, which is, as the name says, to store files.
And while this is the primary reason why you should use cloud backup services, it’s far from the only one. In fact, there are a lot of advanced features and premium features you can enjoy.
You can also use cloud storage to:
- Manage different file versions of a document and use the cloud for collaborative work.
- Transfer files seamlessly to different storage options.
- Get more space whenever you need it and increase the storage capacity or opt for unlimited cloud storage.
- Back up the files and data on various devices, including your computer and mobile devices.
- Enable automatic backups for browser settings.
- If you use website builders such as WordPress, you can back up your blog and other vital content on your website.
- Create synced folders and download your data directly to the cloud.
- If you use multiple cloud-based storage service providers, you can unify all of your clouds and have simple access to them.
As for why you should use cloud storage services, here are just some of the benefits they offer.
Backing up all of your data
If you’ve ever saved all of your data on a hard drive (and the chances are that you probably have), you know what kind of mess it can cause if the hard drive fails. Not only do you have to buy a completely new hard drive, but you’ll also most likely lose all of the data you had on it.
When you use the cloud, all of your important data will be backed up, and that’s the only way to make sure your data is not only safe but also easily accessible. This is especially useful if you have unlimited storage and/or you take advantage of the unlimited devices option the cloud provides.
While we’re on the topic of hard drives, you can forget about those bulky and impractical external hard drives, small USB sticks, and anything else you used in the past to make your data portable. With the cloud, you have access to data from any device you want, so those external hard drives will become obsolete.
Simple file sharing
One of the biggest reasons why cloud document storage is so popular with businesses and organizations is because of the simplistic file sharing it offers. If you already have files you uploaded to the cloud, all you need to do is give a colleague access to them and they’ll have them within seconds.
Another benefit of cloud storage is that when you want to share files, you don’t have to give out your login info. You can simply send a link to the file you want to share.
Encrypting your files
If you only store your data on local devices, you leave it vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers can get into computers easily, and if you have sensitive data on your device, you can find yourself in a lot of trouble if that data is compromised.
But that isn’t a concern with cloud storage. Not only do cloud storage services have multiple layers of protection that stop hackers from getting into your data, but they also encrypt all of the data they store.
During encryption, all of the data that is stored is scrambled into a string of code that is unreadable unless you have a private encryption key. This means that only those who have the right to access the data can read it.
Updating and syncing your files remotely
Most modern cloud services come with a very useful feature, and that’s synchronization. When you have this feature on, if you make any type of edit or update to your files, it will automatically sync that file in real-time as long as it’s on the cloud. This will make any updates you make easier to keep track of.
Not only that, but it will also store different file versions so you can keep track of the changes you made.
Is Cloud Storage Safe?
There are millions of people around the world who put their trust in cloud storage. So far, 48% of companies opted to keep their classified, primary data in the cloud. However, some people still have some reservations when it comes to cloud storage, mostly because they don’t know enough about it.
If you’re one of those people wondering about cloud storage security and whether the cloud keeps their files safe, these are three main factors that keep data in the cloud secure:
- The use of multiple servers. As soon as you upload any file to the cloud, it’s immediately copied into multiple different servers, and this is a critical part of ensuring data is safe. Even if one of those servers fails, your data will still exist on another one.
- Non-stop monitoring. Cloud networks are under non-stop surveillance and all big cloud storage providers employ cybersecurity experts. When you entrust your data to a cloud network provider, you can be sure they’re taking care of the physical and internal safety of your data.
- Encryption. Even though we already mentioned this excellent security tactic, it’s worth repeating. All of the data you store in the cloud will be encrypted, and you’re the only person who will have the private encryption key. Not even your cloud storage provider will be able to decrypt the stored data.
How to Properly Use Cloud Storage
Even though cloud storage by itself is very safe and secure, there are a few things you can do to make that security even stronger and use your cloud storage like a pro:
- Use a strong password. This is common knowledge when it comes to cybersecurity, but it’s still important to repeat. Make sure the password you choose is strong, unique, and impossible to guess.
- Don’t forget about two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication, not only will you have to put in your password, but also a one-time verification code. This code will be sent either to your email inbox or your phone. So even if someone cracks your password, they won’t crack this code.
- Be careful about file sharing. Cloud storage services make it really easy to share files and folders, but you should be careful about how you do this. Manage the access of the shared files, add expiry dates to all the shares, and of course, be careful about what you share and who you share it with.
- Make sure to protect your devices. Just because the cloud is secure, that doesn’t mean your devices are. Keep all the devices where you’re logged into the cloud safe and add an extra layer of protection as well such as face recognition and a passcode.
Finally, if you opt for network-attached storage, you need to learn how to protect it and how to restore data after a disaster. NAS can be a great option for both professional and personal use. Let’s say for example you want to make sure your wedding photos are protected as much as they could be, you can save your wedding photos on the cloud with NAS storage and enjoy unlimited photo storage.
Businesses from all over the world have already decided to start using the cloud, and the same goes for everyday people as well. There has never been a better, safer, and more efficient way to store your data and personal files, which is why so many people are happily using the cloud.
No matter if it’s for personal or professional use, if you subscribe to a good and trustworthy cloud storage service, you’ll be more than happy with your decision. Just make sure you know what you’re looking for and start enjoying the wide range of benefits the cloud provides.