Owning cloud storage has never been easier. With the countless storage service providers available, it is important that everyone knows how to get the most out of their chosen cloud to become more productive, efficient, and safer in the web and in their lives.
Anyone who has electronic devices connected to the internet can use cloud storage. Cloud storage services allow web users to store their files online for free or at a minimal price. These are usually owned and operated by a hosting company that is responsible for keeping data available, accessible, and protected. They are also heavily secured with data encryption, two-step verification processes, firewalls, and antivirus.
Basically, cloud storage is the intangible backup drive of important files, pictures, and other digital media stored safely on the web. People do not need to lunge around a compact disk, flash drive, or hard drive anymore.
All cloud users can access their files through an app installed on their phones, a software downloaded on their computers, or the site of the cloud service provider.
Yes, it is recommended for everyone to have cloud storage, however, such service is a must for those who:
In the past, people would use drawers and vaults to store their well-kept and needed documents, however, today, everything is faster and easier. Anyone with an account to their chosen storage service provider can access their cloud and view files from any devices connected to the internet.
When a device connected to the internet, a file is automatically sent to the cloud, allowing users to edit on another device they wish to use without waiting for long hours.
There are instances when people accidentally delete files permanently or throw important papers carelessly, but with cloud storage, there will be little to no worrisome concerns on file recovery.
Employees can share files with co-workers, leave comments, edit documents, and delegate tasks without having to manually print then send or pass the document papers in the office.
They can choose who can access their files by inviting only a select few to view them or users can also publicize their documents. This is useful for company owners who would like to send documents to their clients and employees internationally without the risk of the files going into the wrong hands. Those with authorization — usually with a passcode or email link as an invitation — can go online to retrieve the data whenever and wherever.
Though extremely popular nowadays, cloud storage is still up for debate for its reliability and security.
Security can be a big issue for those storing sensitive data on the internet. When company owners or even self-employed businessmen send their data online to a third-party storage provider, it could potentially damage their reputation if important information was leaked or stolen.
Users must be in a location where there is a fast internet connection to upload and download content from the cloud. Some people may not have continuous access to the internet which can lead to pauses during upload/download time.
No standard terms and services for all cloud service providers. Others offer end-to-end encryption while some don’t.
The amount of storage a person needs depends on what they do on a daily basis and how much they are willing to pay for it.
There are plenty of free cloud services in the web, most offering at least 5GB of storage. With free cloud services, however, there is limited storage space and file size limit which may not be ideal for workers or business owners in offices who transfer large files. A good rule of thumb is: one gigabyte holds about 200 songs, 2,000 documents, and 70 to 300 photos all depending on the file type and size.
However, if the user syncs all of his data, which may include videos, photos, presentations, documents, mail, then, upgrading to a premium plan can be helpful. Some cloud services have 100GB to 30TB—even unlimited—storage with a fixed price every month or year. Fees can be charged monthly, quarterly, or annually. Pricing can vary, from $1 to $100 per month per user depending on the needs.
With priced cloud storage, a user can get more space and faster upload time at a reasonable price.
How safe files are stored online should be the number one priority of internet users looking for a cloud. In the first half of 2017 alone, 791 breached data were reported. Data needs to be safe while it is in a user’s device, during data transport, and when it is uploaded online in the cloud’s server.
Some cloud storage service providers provide Secured Socket Layers (SSL) certificates which are used to avoid data breach or hack between the web browser and server. SSL encryption helps in avoiding the sharing of private information to third parties through hacking or stealing.
In case of loss of a file or hacked cloud accounts, the service provider should be easy to reach 24/7 and can provide an in-depth and expert explanation on how to solve a user’s cloud dilemma. Check the cloud provider’s response time and how effective the given solutions are.
Nobody wants to download an app or software that is complicated to use and crashes after a few minutes of logging in.
Again, it is the choice of the user to go for free or premium cloud storage. There aren't many differences except for the subscription-based cloud service offers more storage which is needed by IT personnel, freelance writers and artists, entrepreneur, and other professions.
Cloud users never have to worry about uploading their files online as some storage service providers already do the job for them. For example, as soon as a person opens and edits a new document, it is already uploaded to the cloud and synced effortlessly through all his connected devices. This feature is important for those who wish to upload and sync files online but have little time to do so.
Users must check if their mobile phones or computers are compatible with the cloud storage. They may open their preferred cloud storage website and Play Store or App Store to check for the system compatibility. This ensures smooth usage of the cloud on the user’s synced devices.
Cloud service providers try continuously to improve their data and user security and protection. However, people should also know how to keep their cloud account and information safe from potential threats.
This one is a no-brainer but many internet users still incorporate their birthdays or names into their passwords. People also use the same password from one site to another, making it extremely easy for hackers to gain access to all your information. Also, changing passwords frequently can help users avoid hackers.
Users must see to it that their service provider has data encryption and if possible, users are highly encouraged to use encryption software and upload the encrypted file online, then download, and decrypt it again. It may seem like a hassle but it is an effective way of keeping your files safe.
Avoid storing the most critical and sensitive data online. It is recommended that users have electronic copies of some of their information stored in the cloud and manually input them in tangible devices.
Computers, desktops, and mobile phones where one creates and edits files that are uploaded to the cloud can be rigged with viruses if there is no security system in place. There is plenty of antivirus software online, some offering online web protection and auto-scan of flash drives. Cloud users must also keep the antivirus software up-to-date.
People tend to skip the terms and conditions for its length, however, reading it can help people understand what services are available and the legal actions to be taken in case of a massive privacy and security breach.
Oftentimes, viruses are disguised as spam mail or link attachments that could potentially steal a person’s data without him knowing it. Don’t open suspecting mail and report it immediately.
Cloud storage has become a part of everybody’s lives. Despite offering a multitude of cost-effective and safe features and services, cloud storage still poses risks that users must be aware of to fully maximize its benefits.