There seems to a lot of talk about the cloud and online storage solutions these days. Certainly companies in the market of selling these services are going to tell you that everyone needs an online backup solution. Online backup may seem like a good idea for businesses with lots of data but is it truly a product that every computer user needs?
Simply put, the unbiased answer is yes. Everyone should consider using cloud storage for at least the most important data if not a full backup of everything on your machine. The costs are surprisingly low. Sometimes the cost of online backup is even lower than purchasing an external hard drive to store your data. Worst case scenario they are comparably priced. Either way, the benefits of using online backup are evident whether you are a casual home user or a busy professional accessing information on the go.
One of the most important reasons why everyone should be using online storage is data safety. Even if you are using an external storage drive or Network Area Storage (NAS), your information is not protected if a natural disaster destroys the equipment. Using redundancy techniques, online storage providers save copies of your information in multiple locations in case one of their servers fails or is damaged. Cloud storage is the only way to guarantee the security of your information.
You may think that cloud storage is not as secure as some onsite options. In fact, the opposite is true. Online backup services use complex encryption algorithms to ensure the integrity of your data during transmission while being stored remotely. An external hard drive is only as secure as the building where it is located. If someone were to steal the hardware, it becomes very easy to access all the sensitive information contained within.
Online backup also gives you access to your data anywhere in the world. If you are a home user that needs access to an important document while on vacation, you can log into your cloud storage account and download it to your local machine within minutes. A business professional can access the spreadsheet they were working on at home with a few mouse clicks. Cloud storage lets you bring your stored information everywhere without the need for unsecured USB flash drives or deprecated CDs and DVDs.
Ease of use is another aspect of online backup that often surprises less technically inclined individuals. Storing your personal information in the ambiguous “cloud” may seem like a tool reserved for the IT professionals and self-proclaimed computer gurus. However, online backup is usually easier to configure than external hard drives. An online backup subscription includes free software that automates the backup process. With just a few simple steps, your computer will begin backing up important documents, pictures, and videos to the cloud. You can even use the computer while this occurs. In fact, once set up properly there is very little required of you to maintain regular backups of your information. Conversely, an external hard drive often requires manually copying files from one drive to the other. Commercially available software products can automate onsite backups but this software is often expensive and does not address the other issues inherent to local storage such as hardware failure, theft, and natural disasters.
Lower costs, better reliability, more security, and access from anywhere in the world make online backup a better alternative to cumbersome and expensive external hard drives. It is a solution that everyone who uses a computer can and should use to guarantee the security of sensitive and irreplaceable information.