Cloud storage is getting more and more popular, both as a solution for business and private use. Still, there’s plenty of people out there asking how cloud storage works. So, let’s look at this subcategory of what Cloud Computing is. First of all, it’s worth noting these are both very different.
In the offline world we spend many years and lots of money acquiring stuff. Stuff we store in basements, garages and attics. But now we’re in the era where all new things we’re collecting comes in the form of data. Anyone with a computer is acquiring data – images, PDFs and other files, you name it. With all that data, we also need a place to store it – and it’s not exactly possible to store digital things in your garage.
For a very long time, people have used hard drives to store all this data.
The issue is, people don’t want their hard drives full to the brim before considering what to do with everything. Sometimes it can be too late by then as their computer can begin failing.
For some computer owners, having adequate storage is a big problem in itself – often this means various external USB drives or a computer hard drive upgrade.
Both can be expensive options if you want to ensure your data is safe. In some instances, people are known to just delete entire applications, files and folders just to make room.
How cloud storage works
For many, cloud storage is the ultimate solution that saves them when they run out of space on their hard drives. But don’t get confused, it has nothing to do with the weather. It’s a technology that enables the safe storage of data to an off-site storage which is then maintained by a third party.
It gets stored on a remote database rather than on your computer’s own hard drive. This may appear like you’re suddenly losing control, but in fact it’s safer, more reliable and quick to access. All you need is a computer with an internet connection.
With cloud storage the data is in what we call ‘the cloud’. This basically means it has the potential to be shared with anyone you want. This now can turn a solo task into a collaborative project. Neat, right? It’s especially useful for business, but also for personal projects like image sharing, managing home finances, renovation projects, a family business…you name it.
Well, that’s the hard facts of how cloud storage works. The benefits are plenty, like easier collaboration and accessibility. But to really understand how cloud storage works, we need to look at the different types of cloud storage.
Types of Cloud Storage
There are many types of cloud storage – hundreds in fact. Some store all different forms of digital data, some email messages, other digital images.
It’s at what are known as data centres, which house these cloud storage systems. We could say that storage systems consist of a data server connected to the internet. From here, a user will send data and copies of files over an internet connection to this data server, which then stores the information.
For the client to access this data they simply log into the web-based interface we all know as a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and so on. Now the client has unlimited access to the file(s) to manipulate, change and do whatever she pleases. All the changes are made on the server itself.
An excellent example of this would be Google Drive or Microsoft’s Office 365, especially given that these have integrated applications such as word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Each provide the user with the peace of mind that every change is automatically saved remotely every second or two.
So, if you’re computer suddenly dies, catches fire, get knocked out a high window or lands under a bus, fear not – your data is safe, just where you left it.
In actual fact, cloud systems rely on several hundred data servers. The information in the cloud is often stored on multiple servers known as data redundancy, because sometimes these sophisticated machines require some maintenance and repair. So if a server is down or ‘offline’ you’re still able to access your data.
Data centres will also often use different power supplies, should one fail at any given point.
Many clients use cloud storage as online safety backup to their computers as opposed to using external USB drives. That way if a computer breaks, at least most of your files are easily accessible because they’re in the cloud!
So now that you know a little bit more about cloud storage, let’s learn more about how you can convince your boss to move on to using cloud storage.