I am continually surprised at the amount of people I run into that still don't trust/know/understand/use/employ/accept.... cloud backup and storage. Some of the concerns that I hear "Is the cloud secure?" or "Will my files be lost?". My thoughts are that the people that created and run the cloud services are the leading and bleeding edge experts in their fields today and have created a very secure and robust product. Millions of people and companies use cloud service daily and other than the very public iCloud episode and celebrity photos, there are no reported security issues at any of the major providers. If you have any thoughts that your USB thumb drive or external backup hard drive is somehow in the same league as these secure and robust services then you should re-evaluate. If you have no backup plan in place then I'm not sure what you are waiting for because all hard drives fail some day.
- Cloud storage just appears as another folder on your computer/device and can have as many files and folders underneath that folder as you want.
- Any of your files can be stored and used directly from a cloud service.
- Any of your devices can access, edit, and share those files. They can all function without the Internet, but need the net to be able to backup and sync your files to multiple devices.
- You can create a "My Documents" folder in the cloud and make that the default directory in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- Any documents you create are immediately saved to the cloud and backed up by your cloud provider on industrial strength redundant hardware. They are also immediately available on all your devices (provided you have some type of Internet access).
- Cloud storage is also the only way to share large files (videos, picture collections, movies, etc.). Email simply cannot handle large attachments or multitudes of files.
- Remember - You are storing your files on someone else's servers. Everyone has a different comfort level with this and must decide what is best for them.
There are many cloud storage providers available. The big three are Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive (by Microsoft). Details are very similar for all. (Most offer some type of get-started free plan.)
I like to take a picture with my phone and drop it in my Google Drive. I can edit it from my office computer and show and tell on my laptop, tablet or our entertainment center. Cloud services make it easy and seamless.
There are also services that specialize in cloud backup (Carbonite, Mozy, etc.) only. Using the cloud for primary storage makes these services somewhat redundant. Using a "My Documents" folder with a cloud provider gives instant backup (with revision history) instead of a daily/weekly plan that most backup services rely on.
If you want help or have questions on cloud services feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call.