Cloud Storage is technology that allows you to save files in storage, and then access those files via the Cloud. Let’s break down this definition. First, storage is the computer’s ability to save files and other resources for later use. When you restart a computer, the files that are still available after the computer turns back on are saved and read from storage. Such storage commonly consists of a hard drive, a USB Flash drive, or another type of drive.
Because local data drives can be damaged or stolen, an idea was developed to use data drives over a network as storage. This allows the drives to be secured in a data center and backed up automatically. Initially, network storage required fast local networks (LAN), but today we have a ubiquitous network called the Internet.
The second part of Cloud Storage, the Cloud, represents the Internet. Any service, including storage, available over the Internet, is called Cloud service. If you use GMAIL it is email in the Cloud, if you use an Amazon MP3 player, that’s music in the Cloud.
The Cloud – Origins of The Name
Where does the expression ‘The Cloud’ come from? When designing computer networks, engineers often connect computers to each other with lines. Such lines represent cables and connections. Switches and servers are also often connected to each other in this way.
When networks are connected to one another, engineers often use an abbreviation or representation of a network – a drawing of a cloud. A cloud represents a network we don’t know much about, perhaps a network we don’t own, or a network that provides connectivity in its own way. From here, the external network of the Internet has always been drawn as a cloud.
What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?
The very best cloud storage solutions play nicely with other apps and services, making the experience of viewing or editing your files feel natural. Especially in business settings, you want your other software and apps to be able to retrieve or access your files, so making sure you use a service that easily authenticates with the other tools you use is a big deal. Box is particularly strong in this regard.
What Cloud-Based Storage Can Do
The range of capabilities of cloud-based storage services is incredible. Many of them specialize in a specific area. For example, Google drive, Dropbox and SugarSync focus on keeping a synced folder accessible everywhere. SpiderOak emphasizes security. Some cloud storage services, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, are generalists, offering not only folder and file syncing, but also media-playing and device syncing. These products even double as collaboration software, offering real-time document coediting. Distinct from but overlapping in some cases with cloud storage are online backup services. Some of these, such as Carbonite, are all about disaster recovery, while IDrive combines that goal with syncing and sharing capabilities. If you want to bypass the cloud for your backup, you can still go with local backup software, which saves you the time it takes to upload and download your data. In fact, most cloud services offer some level of backup, almost as a consequence of their intended function. It follows logically that any files uploaded to a cloud service are also protected from disk failures, since there are copies of them in the cloud.