CLOUD STORAGE EXPLAINED
WHAT IS CLOUD STORAGE?
Cloud storage is a concept and technological capability of saving data online in a secure way so that businesses and consumers can access it anytime from anywhere.
A prominent feature of cloud storage is the ability to share data with any user who was granted permission. Cloud storage is also used to back up data to enable efficient recovery off-site.
Among the most famous cloud storage services today we can call Google drive, Dropbox, and Box. Of course, they all come with upgraded paid subscription offering larger storage and additional cloud features.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLOUD STORAGE
It is suggested that cloud storage concept was articulated in the 1960s by computer scientist Dr. Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider.
1980s. A company called CompuServe first started to offer its customers small amounts of disk space to keep some of their files.
1990s. AT&T became the first provider of online storage for personal and business users.
Years passed and today we are witnessing a rapid growth of the cloud storage market. The top four cloud storage providers today are Apple (iCloud), Amazon (Amazon Web Services), Dropbox, and Google.
HOW CLOUD STORAGE WORKS
Cloud storage allows an owner of a computer, tablet, or smartphone to send and retrieve back files online. This feature is enabled by the recourses of a remote data servers.
The same data is simultaneously stored on several servers so it is protected even if one server is down. For example, a laptop owner might keep his photos both on his hard drive and in the cloud in case the laptop is stolen or lost.
There can be specialized cloud storage systems for a particular type of data (like photos or music only), or general ones for any type of data (images, audio files, text documents, spreadsheets, etc.).
CLOUD STORAGE VS CLOUD COMPUTING
People sometimes confuse cloud storage with cloud computing, but these are not the same.
Cloud computing allows you to access not only hard drive for storage but computing power or software of another system remotely.
The common use of cloud computing is SaaS (or Software-as-a-Service). SaaS gives you the opportunity, instead of using your hard drive resources and installing software on your own computer, to install and run applications remotely.
CLOUD STORAGE VS ONLINE BACKUP
These are quite similar concepts but still have some differences to consider.
Both are about keeping your files in the “cloud” on remote servers. However, while cloud storage can be described as a virtual hard drive for your data, online backup is intended to replicate the contents of your whole computer copying its file structure.
The main purpose of online backup obviously lies in providing you with the opportunity to recover your data in case it is crashed or stolen.
TYPES OF CLOUD STORAGE
Products like Western Digital My Cloud can get you a local server that only you have access to. Great for faster streaming music and movies without the need to depend on internet connection. And you don’t need to worry that your cloud storage provider will be snooping around and scanning your files for license.
It is basically cloud storage for businesses, enabling them to set up their own in-house servers like a corporate Dropbox.
There are a bunch of reasons for a company to create its own private cloud storage, but the most important one is that some businesses are legally obliged to store user data on site.
Google Drive and pCloud are the most common examples of public cloud storage. Their data centers boast rows of servers allowing users all over the world to store their files. While mostly focusing on the personal data storage market, these companies offer corporate business packages as well.
Hybrid cloud storage (think of Microsoft Azure) is the best of both worlds letting you combine your local storage server with a public cloud storage provider. So, you have the privilege to decide which data you want to keep locally and which you can store in the cloud remotely.
MAIN BENEFITS OF CLOUD STORAGE FOR BUSINESSES
- COST OPTIMIZATION
By eliminating the need for storage infrastructure, you save a great deal of physical space and money. Not to mention that the cloud storage provider has all the necessary hardware and software and maintains them at his own cost.
- EASY SCALING
Companies can almost instantly scale their cloud storage up or down depending on how their market situation changes.
- REMOTE WORK
The cloud enables your team to collaborate remotely and outside of regular business hours, allowing authorized employees easy access to the most updated version of a file.
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
Using the cloud to store files is a lower energy consumption technology and, because of its positive effect on the environment, can be called eco-friendly.
IN A NUTSHELL
Cloud storage is considered to be one of the biggest innovations of our time, becoming widely popular because of its ease of use, low cost and overall convenience. It allows you to access your files in the snap of a finger whenever you want, from wherever you want. Not to mention it also keeps your personal data secured and protected against loss.
In our everyday life, cloud storage enables mobile data and shapes digital life as we know it today. How do you think our smartphones are able to operate so much data on the go?