Storing data online is now common practice for both individuals and businesses. It helps them to keep data records in the cloud and access it from anywhere. Using cloud storage is an alternative to keeping your files on a local hard drive, external hard drive, or mobile device/flash drive.
People even do not ask themselves what is cloud storage like and how it differs from a local data storage, although there are certain differences. We have cloud storage explained in the below paragraphs that will explain how cloud storage works and give examples of the types of cloud storage.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is any combination of hardware and software. It enables you to store information on a remote computing infrastructure that operates as an individual data storage location on the internet.
Unlike automated backup systems that store your essential files in the cloud, using cloud storage does not require to backup all your system or critical files. You can decide which files to copy, move, or create in the cloud.
What is cloud data, then? Cloud data is any file you store on the internet and to which you have access afterward. A cloud data storage usually allows uploading of any type of file: office documents, video, audio, database records, and others. Thus, a cloud computing storage is a remote data server you use to keep your file safe and accessible on the go.
How Cloud Storage Works?
Cloud data storage platforms resemble the structure of computing networks that you are using at your home or office.
There are three major models of cloud computing networks. These are the private cloud storage, public cloud storage, and hybrid cloud storage (see the diagram below). Each of them provides the same functionality to store data online or make computations in the cloud. However, each of them is built using different cybersecurity approaches and utilizes different means for access.
New edge computing models are now emerging. It is where you store data, not in a centralized data center but edge devices such as the Internet of Things hardware.
All of the abovementioned cloud models store your data on the Internet, behind a firewall and after encrypting your data while transferring and storing locally in a cloud data center. This makes cloud data storages even more secure than corporate networks. Cloud data centers implement the best cybersecurity practices and the latest technologies to protect data.
Features To Look For When Using Cloud Storage
There are numerous benefits of using cloud data storage instead of local hard drives or corporate servers. You have your data stored in a secure place and have access to it from anywhere and anytime. However, cloud storage is also scalable. You can have as much data storage space available to you. On the other hand, you can scale down your cloud storage volume when you need less storage space. That is why cloud storage services are booming. Moreover, investment in data centers is skyrocketing in recent years.
Nonetheless, not all cloud data storage providers are born equal. You need to take your time and perform some research before deciding which cloud service is reliable and secure.
Bearing in mind how cloud storage works, transmitting data from and to your local computer all the time, you need to have an encrypted and secure connection between your device(s) and the selected cloud storage at all times.
You also need a cloud data storage that works with different operating systems, file types, and device kinds. You will also want an easy to use platform that provides unified experience on desktop and mobile devices without sacrificing data security.
Another factor to consider is the available bandwidth of cloud data storage as well as their uptimes. Most reputable cloud computing services are offering up to 99.99% availability. However, some of them might put limits on incoming/outgoing amounts of data.
You already know what cloud storage is and what features to look for when selecting a cloud computing storage service. Now, let’s take a look at some examples of cloud storage services that have passed the test of time.
Examples Of Cloud Storage For You And Your Business
Some cloud services are intended for personal use only. However, most of the reliable cloud data storage platforms are suitable for both personal and business use. Many of them offer free tier service for individual users where they put some limits on the amount of data you can store with them. Furthermore, they offer business pricing plans that extend both the space available for storing data and offer additional data sharing, collaboration, scheduling, and other services.
Below is a shortlist, in alphabetical order, of the most popular cloud data storage services.
A cloud storage service available to all Apple users. It runs on a Mac PC, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch device. Apple offers 5 GB for free and more paid for space is available. The iCloud service offers automated backup of your phone’s images, emails, and more.
It offers 2 GB of free cloud data storage. The service runs in a browser, on your desktop, or a mobile device. Dropbox business plans enable users to purchase up to 3 TB of data storage. You can also buy as much space as you need.
A cloud storage service that comes with 15 GB of free online storage. If you want, you can upgrade for unlimited storage for $8 per month per user. You can also upgrade to Google One for more space and add from 100 GB to 30 TB of cloud storage.
It provides you with 5 GB of free space in the cloud. You can then upgrade to get from 6 GB to 6 TB of cloud data space or switch to a monthly business plan.
All these services are designed to store your data online for free, and then, onboard you as a paid customer once you need more cloud data space or your business expands.
Demands For Cloud Storage Are Getting High, Providers Should Not Fear
The cloud storage market is already a mature one. There are already many established service providers, yet it is still a fast-paced one where new players emerge regularly. Demand for cloud computing storage and computing power is high. And so, it drives the revenue growth of cloud infrastructure services in the past few years.
With global cloud infrastructure services reporting revenues of more than $50 billion in the first six years of 2019, we see a stable growth trend in this market. With both individuals and businesses getting accustomed to cloud storage services and the cloud data centers becoming more and more secure, cloud storage providers should not fear that their services will decline.