The Cloud is something we’ve been hearing about for quite some time now. With internet speeds increasing and consumer offerings maturing, there’s no reason not to utilize its power and features anymore at this point. Prices have been dropping dramatically over the last couple of years, and user-friendliness and security is better than ever.
This is a short overview of what the cloud is, and why it’s also for you.
What is the cloud?
Like many buzz-words, the Cloud sounds a lot more mysterious than it actually is. Cloud-computing is basically many servers (rack-mounted computers) connected to each other and the internet, distributing storage and computing power across them. Storage is usually redundant between several servers and data-centers, which means no data is lost even if servers die or entire data-centers burn down.
There’s a good chance some of your data is already in the cloud. If you use a web-based email client like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, or Outlook.com, you technically have your emails stored in the cloud. You can also do this with your files, photos and music. Most providers offer a free plan of several gigabytes, which is more than enough for most people’s documents.
Photos and especially videos take up a lot more space. Once you start adding those to your cloud-drive, you’ll run out of free space pretty quickly. To get more, you will have to pay a monthly fee. It doesn’t really matter what kind of phone or computer you have. All platforms are supported by the cloud services listed below.
Four reasons why you should use it
1. A safe place for your data
Many important, irreplaceable things are digital now, such as photos, documents, and home videos. Yet, many people store these things on one computer without making backups. Thing is, hard disks crash without warning, laptops get stolen, and a spike in the power grid can fry your computer in a second. These are just a few of many things that can (and often will) go wrong and cause you to lose all your data.
If you have a cloud storage provider, you have one folder on your system that gets synchronized to a server where it’s safe and secure. Even if your computer breaks down, gets stolen, or destroyed, your data is still stored somewhere else in a place that’s much safer than your own house.
Thanks to my cloud-drive, I was able to recover everything after a hard disk crash. I would had lost over 10 years worth of photos, all my documents/projects, my music collection, and my financial administration.
2. An easy way to access your data
It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as I have internet, I can pull up any photo or file on my phone. This is very convenient when I need to quickly look something up for work, or when I want to show someone a photo or file.
3. An easy way to store your data
With the same phone-app or web-app, files can also be added to your cloud-drive. When I’m at family, a friend or a client who has files I want to have, all I have to do is log into my account and upload it from their computer into my cloud drive. The next time I boot up PC, everything gets synchronized. My phone also automatically puts all the photos I take on there. No more hassle with cables to transfer them. Very convenient.
My laptop doesn’t have as much storage-space as my desktop. When I’m traveling, I take a lot of photos that clock in at 25~35MB each. It adds up pretty quickly. It’s handy to be able to upload a batch to my cloud drive and clear up some space when needed.
4. A good way to work together
Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive allow you to work with others in the same document simultaneously. This is handy when working on projects with others. Every cloud provider has the option to share a folder with multiple people, which is quite a step up from emailing documents around.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to get on board.
Which one should you go with? I’ve listed four solid options for you. Read on.