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How to Use Cloud Storage Safely


Be honest. When was the last time that you backed up your computer? Hard drives do not last forever, and important files can be lost in the blink of an eye. ExtremeTech notes that at one year, 5.1 percent of hard drives begin to fail; this number climbs to 11.8 percent at four years.

It's time to back up your files to the cloud. Here are a few things to consider:

It is Convenient

Switching to cloud storage is easier than you might think. Cloud storage services often allow you to set up your computer to automatically backup files by simply placing them in a designated “Sync” folder. When your daily cloud backup is performed, you'll find that you can access your files across any device that shares your cloud data storage software. However, many cloud storage services automatically back up a file any time it changes, so be sure to keep this in mind when editing.

If you plan to work with other people on a project, cloud storage often makes collaboration a breeze. Since most cloud services auto-save file changes in real-time, multiple users can access and make changes to the most up-to-date version of a document.

It is Secure

Cloud data storage is protected by encryption, utilizing complex algorithms to secure your data from hackers. In this way, cloud-stored data may be safer than the data stored locally, as cloud storage utilizes far more security protocols than the average user's computer.

Despite this, your data is now out in the open. If you plan on making backups of sensitive information, subscribe to an identity protection service like LifeLock. In the event your data is breached by cyber criminals, an identity protection service will notify you as soon as suspicious activity has been detected, and assist with recovery and resolution.

For the most part, cloud storage is a secure and reliable way to back up your files. If you need to back up sensitive information, however, you can never be too careful.

Getting Started

There are many cloud storage options available, many of which require little to no cost.

Dropbox offers 2GB of storage to registered users for free. For around $10 a month, your service can be upgraded to Dropbox Pro, with access to one terabyte of space. Through either option, Dropbox allows users to easily share files with others.

Google Drive is another popular cloud storage service, offering a whopping 15GB of data simply for signing up for a Google account. With one unified login, signing up for a Google account allows users access to the cloud storage capabilities, along with calendar and email services that can be synced across multiple devices. Google Drive is less automated than Dropbox, but it's also free and a great option for storing and sharing files with others.

Carbonite, Zip Cloud, Sugar Sync, and Backup Genie are just a few of the other cloud services available for a low cost. Each option comes with its own set of capabilities, so review your options before making a commitment.

Published Friday, June 12, 2015 6:25 AM by David Marshall
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