A relatively new technology and evolution in data storage,
cloud storage actually has its roots in early file sharing over the internet.
Using email, sharing photos or files, searching on Wikipedia, or even looking
at websites for other business purposes are all loose terms of being in the
cloud. A cloud implies information storage not over your hard drive, CD, flash
disk or any other hardware device, but over a web space on the internet that
can be accessed by you anytime and from anywhere. You do not need to be
connected to your hard drive or have access to your hardware, but can use and
update your data freely.
How a cloud works is your data is hosted remotely, over
several servers. No single location is used to store your information. Instead
it is stored in bits and pieces and is retrieved from these servers simultaneously
when you need to access it. This needs a complex network of server matrices,
bandwidths, software and storage space. However, the advantage is that you have
increased mobility, to use your data over any platform, as long as you have an
But is this really safe? As a matter of fact, it is safer
than putting it all on a hard-drive. Your hard-drive can be stolen or damaged,
but chances of that occurring over a cloud are less. Although hackers exist, a
simple system of changing your passwords can keep you safe. And moreover, your security
is increased because your information is not in one place, it is stored in
little pieces in many thousand servers. Those websites, such as Dropbox, that
work as clouds to secure your content, whether they are documents, movies,
music, photos or videos, generally ensure safety of your content. But if you’re
extremely worried about its safety, you might want to encrypt the files
yourself before uploading them. This will ensure double encryption, one from
your end, the other from their end.
A lot of cloud services work for free, which begs the
question how do they make money? The answer is they generally provide clouds as
a by-service to search engines, music sales, selling devices etc, such as
Apple’s iCloud. Another way they make money is by first offering certain space,
say 2 GB, for free, and then asking you to pay for more storage and upgrade to
a better, more advanced system. It is possible of course that you may get
unlimited storage, but it is advisable to create another back-up to the cloud
in case such companies go out of business.
Remember, security for your content is your own
responsibility. Clouds are intended for storage, and although for home users
they are perfectly fine, for businesses, a security plan is a must.