Cloud storage is the most commercially visible cloud computing technology, so it’s no surprise that it has become a major buzzword. Yet although cloud storage is associated with highly recognized name brands like Dropbox and Google Drive, it is still a mystery to the average user. As with cloud computing in general, you may actually already be using cloud storage services without being aware of doing so. Some office productivity software includes cloud storage as part of the package or an additional service.
Let’s learn some of the basic points about cloud storage so that you can see why this functionality is so important, and so you can tailor your decision-making around it:
Cloud storage defined. While the term “cloud computing” refers to all types of cloud-based services for which you rely on a network of Web-based hosts to run applications rather than using your local network or hard drive, cloud storage is a subcategory of cloud computing. In simple terms, cloud storage is indeed what it sounds like: the ability to store data in the cloud.
How does cloud storage work? As with cloud computing more generally, cloud storage relies on a large volume of data servers for storage and backup. This helps to create redundancy so that users can easily retrieve their information whenever—and from wherever—they want it. By storing copies of your files using servers with different power supplies, cloud storage systems allow you to access your data even in the event of power supply failure by one source. This provides users with added protection and security for their stored data.
What types of cloud storage exist? Depending on your needs, there are different options for cloud storage that serve both businesses and individual users. These include:
- Personal file hosting. As a personal user, you can use a basic form of cloud storage known as personal file hosting. This lets you upload files or folders from your device or computer to a central server on the Internet (in “the cloud”). It’s helpful for providing backups of your files should you lose originals, for downloading files to multiple devices, and for file sharing using remote access. (Remember WPS Office’s File Roaming feature?)
- Enterprise cloud storage. Businesses depend on cloud storage solutions as well via enterprise storage. This is particularly valuable to businesses since enterprise data can become obsolete very quickly, so backing it up indefinitely is not cost-effective. Through cloud solutions, businesses can use enterprise storage to duplicate large volumes of data between different locations, purge outdated information on a schedule, and securely store and transfer copies of files to cloud servers.