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Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage
Alistair Bell

By Alistair Bell Membership Manager, Updated 17 May 2017

So what’s on your laptop? Photos you can’t possibly replace? The plans for that new project? Your degree dissertation? The accounts the tax man is after? Well, guess what, the hard disk just went.

It’s all backed up, isn't it? If it isn’t, and the idea gives you a passing tremor as you pick up your cappuccino, you need to look at a cloud storage service urgently.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage simply means storage on remote servers. You need to be aware of the location of these servers, though. Some companies back up your data in the US. EU Data Protection laws are more stringent than US laws, so if this is a particular concern, you need to use a company with EU-based servers.

It’s worth reading reviews from people who have used these services, because the speed at which they back up varies greatly. Some offer scheduled back-ups which run at pre-set times, and others do continuous back-up every time a file changes. The best packages allow you to choose between these two modes.

As with all software, you can get simple and easy to use, or you can get sophisticated and full of features. It’s much more difficult to get both. Some packages are very much aimed at novices, and some are focused on experienced users - the reviews are a good place to go to find out which is which.

Some of the more sophisticated packages don’t just back up your data or files. They can take an image of the entire hard drive of your PC, including the configuration, structure and so on. And for really heavy data users, you can mail in a hard drive to prevent the tedious process of uploading large quantities of data.

Before you sign up, you may want to think about how you’ll use the service. If you want to see your files on your mobile or via the web, make sure the service you’re considering provides this. Collaboration is another area where the offerings from different packages vary - if you want friends, family or colleagues to be able to access the files once they’re in the cloud, check this out before you sign up.

If you’re getting the service on behalf of your family or a small business, you also need to find out how many different devices are supported under the agreement. And integration with Windows File Explorer can be important so that you have tools for moving your files around if you need to.

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