Gone are the days of multiple USB sticks to store your data for your personal and business use. Now, every man and his dog seems to be taking advantage of the many offers of cheap or even free cloud storage. But, what is cloud storage? And how does it work?
Cloud storage is based on a virtual infrastructure where the client uses interfaces to access their data. Instead of data being stored on a hard drive or USB, data is instead stored in virtual pools across different servers (often all over the world!) or in data centres managed by 3rd party cloud providers.
Clients usually pay monthly for their cloud storage and whilst cloud security is a common concern amongst clients, providers have taken steps to address these concerns by including encryption and authentication of client data, further security measures. The most common uses for having cloud storage are for backup of data and disaster recovery: highly important for any business. There are hundreds of different cloud storage systems and while some have specific focuses such as storing emails and digital pictures, others have a more varied aim like storing all forms of digital data.
So now you have an understand of what cloud storage is, how does it work?
In simple terms: cloud storage works by sending copies of the clients data over the internet to a data server which then records the information. The data is stored here until the client wants to retrieve the data and then it is accessed through a web based interface. Basically, the server either sends the data back to the client for them to access or the client is given access to the data and the ability to manipulate the data on the server itself.
But, how is this any safer or more reliable than classic hard drives? Well, cloud storage works by involving a vast number of data servers to ensure the data is always available on at least one when it is requested by the client. So, data is saved on multiple servers and not just one, meaning if one does fail and loses the data, it has been replicated and can be retrieved from another. This is called redundancy and without this, clients would not be able to access their data immediately and/or at any time.
Clients don’t only use cloud storage to prevent running out of space, some simply use cloud storage to create digital backups of all their data, to prevent losing everything if disaster struck. However, for those who are interested in using cloud storage to allow more space then there are several storage size options available. You should consider how much storage you need for your personal or company use and keep this in mind when you look for purchasing cloud storage.