Cloud storage is something almost everyone has—even if we don’t know it. Both businesses and individuals use cloud storage for such a wide range of purposes that basic cloud storage is often included with free email accounts. But what is cloud storage, and how does it work? It’s great for businesses, but is it good for personal use too? What home uses does cloud storage have?
The capabilities of cloud storage in the home are often overlooked except by those who already have the latest gadgets. However, you don’t need to be on the cutting edge of the latest technology to get use out of your cloud. Chances are you’re already using it!
A cloud is digital storage space that is located on a computer server in a data center. It is similar to the hard drive on your computer, except it is online. This means it can be accessed from an Internet connection and is limited only by how much data customers are willing to pay for. Cloud-based storage services are measured by the amount of data storage capacity customers purchase for themselves.
Personal cloud storage solutions are available through many venues. Public cloud services come with most free email accounts, such as Outlook or Gmail, but are usually limited to a small amount of storage space. Both Android and iPhone cell phones also connect to free storage so you can save pictures, videos, sounds, and messages from your phone.
Learning how to get more personal cloud storage is a matter of research. Your email or cell phone service are good avenues to explore when expanding your storage with a subscription. Your Internet service provider may also provide cloud storage service as well as a variety of data-security options. Some companies even specialize in cloud servers, the best known being Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, iCloud, and Google Cloud.
There are a lot of terms associated with cloud storage that can make it seem confusing at first glance. It’s not necessary to be an expert in cloud architecture to make the most out of your personal cloud, but knowing the basics can help you decide what type of storage fits your needs.
Public vs. Private Storage
Storage is based on how the service is structured: – public, private, or a hybrid of both. Public cloud servers rent space just like a physical storage unit at a brick-and-mortar storage facility. A private cloud server is dedicated to an entire organization, and some businesses have their servers in-house. A hybrid cloud sets aside private space for sensitive data and public space for shareable data, offering the best features of each.
File vs. Block Storage
The structures offer different options when it comes to the data you store. The most familiar type is file storage, which stores individual files, organized by directories—, similar to the structure of your home computer files. Most free storage is organized this way. Block storage is organized in partitioned segments, with each block similar to a virtual hard drive. Both of these types are organized around structured data.
A growing amount of data is unstructured, such as videos and collaborative projects. Object-based storage differs from the other two types by being more flexible about how data is offered. Instead of fitting your data within a specified amount of space, object storage offers you space that fits around your data.
Anyone with a cell phone knows that pictures, messages, and other mobile data is backed up on the cloud. Well, a personal computer can have hundreds of times more data on it than a cell phone, and much of it can be very sensitive or sentimental. With more services moving online every day, many users store their finances, medical records, tax information, and identification information on their hard drives.
Some people use their computers as repositories for all types of digital media. Computers can store home movies, pictures, and other memories of loved ones, and many people do this to preserve the originals. Digital movies, books and music are a major industry online. So are video games, some of which can be very large.
All of this data can disappear in an instant if your hard drive fails and you haven’t backed it up. It can be lost if you only have it backed up on-site and disaster strikes. Hackers attempting a data breach can compromise it even if they fail to access it. Cloud services include around-the-clock professional oversight and maintenance to ensure your data remains secure and uncompromised—even if you lose access to your hardware.
Another benefit of using digital storage is remote access. No matter where you are, as long as you can get online, you can usually access your cloud from a web browser or mobile app. One of the main selling points of cloud services is that using them is flexible, remote, and simple.
Your cloud will often be accessed through another service, such as free email or a utility like cable or cellular service. Usually, this includes a password that you should keep in a secure place. A few companies make it notoriously difficult to retrieve a lost password because your security is such a priority.
You can back up your files by adding them directly, but it is often easier to go into your cloud settings and have it sync with your computer. You can also use the settings to specify which folders you want synced this way—especially if you have limited cloud space. More sophisticated programs and apps can also be synced this way but may require specialized storage types.
If you have a lot of cloud space and want to set up a private cloud, cloud services also provide remote management. Aside from backing up your personal servers, they can also keep them organized and secure, even if they are not hosting you on their own data banks. You can access them online through a portal that connects all of them in one place and organizes them so your data is easy to find.
Businesses have benefited from using cloud services because it protects their bottom line, their data, and the privacy of their customers and vendors. That kind of reliability and security is also available for your home. Digitalization has given us a way to preserve our records, memories, entertainment, and more, and cloud services give each of us our own corner of the Internet to store it all.