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Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup

Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup

Cloud storage & cloud backup

They may sound similar, and they are, but they have very different purposes.

Cloud storage or personal file storage services are aimed at private individuals, offering a sort of "network storage" for file access, or file distribution. Users can upload their files and share them publicly or keep them password protected. Document sharing services allow users to share and collaborate on document files. These services originally targeted files such as PDFs, word processor documents, and spreadsheets, however many now allow users to share and synchronize all types of files across all the devices they use including music, pictures and video. Its just about how much storage you need and how much you’re willing to pay.

The big movers and shakers in this business are DropBox, iCloud, LiveDrive, Google, Microsoft and Amazon to name but a few. All offer a limited free amount of storage, but you can pay a reasonable sum for more. You decide what data you want to store, and the provider makes it accessible across all of your devices (desktops, laptops, mobiles etc.). Changes you make on one device are replicated everywhere else and some offer a version history so you can go back if you need to.

The main point of note is that cloud storage is intended to be working files that you access, and update regularly; Cloud backup is where you might keep a copy of everything so that you can retrieve it in the event of computer loss or hardware failure.

The most important word in that last sentence was “copy”. How often do I come across people who have moved their life’s work onto a memory stick only for it to fail a few months later? It was the only copy they had! A backup implies at least two copies, so that if you lose one, you’ve still got another. Memory sticks and removeable hard disks are all very good but they can fail, and they are only as good as the most recent backup taken. Most people keep them next to their computer so in the event of fire or flood, they lose the backup as well as the original!

Cloud backup sits quietly in the background and continually manages a backup remotely on a cloud server, up to 30 days version history to go back to, and in the event of disaster you simply download all your precious data onto a new computer. Its not expensive at about £50 a year and it gives you genuine peace of mind. Most of the large players operate in this field as well, but there are a number of specialists as well like Carbonite and Acronis.

Whatever you do, don’t be without a backup! The choice as always, is yours, but if you need help making that decision, you know where to come.

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Added: 12th July 2019

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