Tech Magazine

What is Cloud Storage? And How Do I Use It?

Posted on the 26 September 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds

Cloud storage is all the benefits of hard drive and the convenience of portability

Everybody has heard of "the cloud". It's a place where, apparently, miracles happen and unicorn's prance. The cloud, sad as it is to say, is not either of those things. Think of your electricity grid; well, not yours but the nebulous "electric grid". You are on this grid and power is piped to your home without the average person knowing anything about how it gets there. You need not know anything about the infrastructure in place or the devices required. You don't physically have anything at your place of residence that creates power; yet you still get to enjoy having power. This is the same deal with "the cloud", more or less.

Now try to think about your computer in the same confines. It'd be like having all of your software and programs live online, not on your computer. Also imagine you saved everything to a place, you don't really need to know where, but just a place. Behold the wonder of the cloud. Say you've worked on an important presentation for the past few weeks. The big day comes to wow, whoever it is you need to wow, and you leave your file on the computer back at home. Were you using cloud based storage, this would be a moot point.

With cloud based storage, you save your files and document to the internet, not to your computer's hard drive. This allows you to retrieve your files from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. You can view your presentation on any computer, tablet or mobile phone, any time, any where. So as to avoid rambling on about how cool cloud storage is, and a new focus on keeping these things short and sweet, let's look at my favorite, free, cloud storage service. Dropbox is a cloud storage service that has both free and paid subscriptions. For the cool price of $0, you can get 2GB of online storage. If you need more storage, say up to 100Gb, you can buy more space from Dropbox.

If you download the Dropbox desktop application, you'll have the option to simply drag files to the icon and it will upload them to Dropbox's server. Want to extend your cloud storage to documents from your phone? Done. Just download the mobile app, available on iPhone, Android and blackberry, and you can have access to your files on your phones or tablets. So music, movies, text files, whatever you want to have access to, it's there.

And you wouldn't be the sharp minded folks I've come to love if you didn't ask about security. Dropbox operates on the Secure Socket Layer with 256 bit encryption. So your files are completely safe. Also, "Dropbox keeps a one-month history of your work." So should you accidentally delete a file, or make a change you aren't happy with, you have 30 days to rectify the situation.

With all of that said, I highly recommend downloading Dropbox. It is an excellent service and has a free version which makes it ideal for trial runs. It is easy to use and very intuitive. Thanks for reading and enjoy the freedom to takes documents anywhere you please.

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