Cloud storage: It's not just about the files

Cloud storage: It's not just about the files

Summary: Talk about the cloud and watch some folks' eyes glaze over. They don't want to think about where their files are stored. Ask them if their photos are safe and it's a different story.


Personal stuff is important, too

The need to keep information safe extends to personal stuff, too. I still run into folks who when asked, tell me the thousands of photos of the kids are just on their smartphone. They take the photos and videos on the phone and then forget about them.

When I press them about what they'd do if their smartphone was lost or stolen, they panic. It finally occurs to them that they'd lose all of those memories in a flash.

See related: The top 10 personal cloud-storage services

Just as in the business case, this personal stuff is not just files. It is photos, videos, music, music recitals — it is memories that cannot be replaced if catastrophe strikes. The cloud is the perfect solution to prevent that from happening, and everyone's phone and tablet should be backed up to the cloud.

Again, it's not enough to just back up to the cloud, it should be done in a way that makes it accessible in the future. When you need to find that video of Junior's first steps, you don't want to wade through thousands of files. You want to get right to that precious memory.

Most devices and the platforms they run on have a method for doing just that. Device owners should familarize themselves with that method and make sure they can take advantage of it should the need arise.

The cloud has your back

Having your important stuff, business and personal, safely stored in the cloud can give peace of mind. No worries of losing that photo and the memories it invokes. No catastrophe when that business document eludes you, throwing you in a panic. It's all in the cloud, which has your back.

Don't overlook mobile devices when it comes to backing up. The cloud is often the easiest and most automatic way to do that.

You can use a local hard drive to back your stuff up. That's a good piece of a good backup solution. But what if that big, honking drive that has all of your files, no, your information, dies? All of your stuff is gone in a flash. That won't happen if it's all in the cloud, too.

Topics: Mobility, Cloud, Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • I love hybrid.

    Dropbox is very much a hybrid: Your files are in the cloud, and on your local machine as well. So if you don't have an internet connection or have a lousy one, you'll still have your data.

    Hybrid is the pinnacle of data availability. Pure cloud is not, because everything gets bricked when you lose the connection or have a really lousy connection. So I'm gonna keep pushing hybrid.
    • One Drive works the same way

      But Dropbox is much easier to use. I keep my pictures up there.
      • OneDrive (aka Skydrive) does both

        You have the option of keeping it local and on the cloud or having it on the cloud only. It is fast and totally transparent on Windows.
        • I would never use "Skydrive"

          As "Skydrive" ("OneDrive",or "to the cloud"), is indexed by Microsoft, for warrantless NSA inspection. Remember they keep an "unencrypted copy of everything for "Law Enforcement". The issue is not today but in the near future, if suddenly speaking out against some Dictator become Illegal.
          I hate trolls also
          • If you want to stop that stuff, ask to have the laws changed.

            Humm, I don't think Microsoft indexes specifically for the NSA - but the NSA does have the authority to ask them (and any cloud provider) for information.

            If you want to stop that stuff, ask your senator to have the laws changed. Griping about Microsoft won't change it.
  • Clouds everywhere!

    As a basic PC consumer, I use all the above mentioned offerings, but it sometimes a hassle trying to remember which 'cloud' to look in. I've used Evernote for many years and it is my number ONE cloud service. My old company recently called me back out of retirement to help them out for a month. All my Evernote files were readily accessible for recall and helped me a bunch. Dropbox also came in very handy for pulling up old files.
  • Let's chuck the lessons of history out the window

    It is funny the way the wealthy mitigate risk, by diversifying their investments, and placing their money all over the place - including locally in safes. Security protocols since the beginning of time, have always counselled essentially the same - distributing your assets, and obfuscating them from the view of would be attackers. But public cloud advocates keep insisting that we disregard history, and the principles which govern our world which we learn from it, and put all our eggs in the public cloud. And this, after Snowden exposed the dangers of doing the same. As far as I'm concerned, the is all madness. This is people caught up with a 'cool' idea, who wantonly disregard the consequences WILL ensue because of it.
    P. Douglas
    • Yup.

      Yup. Agreed. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Which is why I advocate a hybrid approach.
    • In the words of Queen Amidala

      "So this is how democracy dies...with a thunderous applause."

      The Cloud sells convenience and the lack of a requirement for personal responsibility for keeping one's files safe. Clearly, there is a market for things that do this.

  • aws s3

    i run a cron job that backs up my important stuff to AWS s3. Its really good, I like it :)
    Radomir Wojcik
  • BitTorrent Sync - All the benefit, none of the liability

    Cloud storage starts to get expensive after the first few gigs. BitTorrent Sync is only limited by the size of the disk of the machine on which it is installed.

    BitTorrent Sync allows for distributed file synchronization; all machines linked together assist the others in ensuring that the newest copies of the files are available.

    BitTorrent Sync provides the same 'security blanket' of diverse locations for data's existence, assuming that there are multiple computers on which it can exist.

    BitTorrent Sync runs on Windows, OSX, Linux, and BSD. It runs on Synology, FreeNAS, and Western Digital Personal Cloud drives (albeit with a bit of command line fun on the last one). It runs on iOS and Android.

    The software is completely without cost, and your data never resides on a hard disk that isn't yours.

    Its caveats are as follows:
    --Hard drives aren't free.
    --No pretty browser-based UI for messing with your files via a web browser.
    --GPL die-hards would have an issue with it because it's not distributed under an open source license; I don't believe there is source code available for it.

    BT Sync provides every single one of the benefits and advantages you're advocating, and does so at the cost of "A Hard Drive".

    It's well worth not putting your data on a hard disk you don't own or control, but real-time, versioned data replication over the internet is no longer limited to people who trust Amazon/Microsoft/Google/Whoever...and feel like paying for it.