You can hardly get through an article or news story about technology without hearing about the cloud. It's one of those buzzwords that's impossible to avoid.
But what the heck is the cloud? What can it do for you? What if the cloud "breaks"?
The Mysteries of the Cloud Revealed
The cloud is not a physical thing. It's simply online, virtual space that you can use to store your data.
Because we use our phones and tablets to take pictures, record videos and play our music library, our data storage needs have exploded. Cloud storage companies are responding to those needs by providing a bunch of servers, located all over the country, to store our data with an easy, safe way to retrieve it.
Cloud storage has been around for a long time. In fact, if you use the Internet, you're already using the cloud.
- Email providers like Google Mail, Microsoft Outlook.com and Yahoo store email messages in the cloud.
In recent years, it has become easier for you to choose what to store on the cloud. Many people use the virtual space to store things like:
What the Cloud Can Do for You
Securely back up data.
- Even if you back up your data to an external drive, CD or USB drive, having an extra copy on the cloud protects you in case your external drive is damaged, lost or stolen.
Share your data across all of your devices.
- The cloud helps you access your data whenever, wherever.
Save space on your devices.
- When you back up your photos and videos to the cloud, you can confidently delete them from your phone or tablet, freeing up valuable space.
What the Cloud Doesn't Do
The cloud won't get you organized!
- You still need to look at the stuff you're saving and decide what's important and what's not.
The cloud won't magically back up your data.
- Even though you can set up your data to be automatically backed up to the cloud, you are still responsible for making sure your data gets to the cloud.
The cloud doesn't provide unlimited free storage.
- There is no such thing as free, unlimited storage on the cloud.
Is the Cloud Safe?
Decide what types of data you plan to store on the cloud.
- Think about the type of data on your phone, tablet or computer that you worry most about losing if your device were lost or stolen.
Cloud storage companies take data security seriously.
- Companies that provide cloud storage depend on the safety and availability of your data, so the top cloud companies take safety very seriously.
Cloud companies are also vulnerable to hackers and financial ruin.
- Data breaches of large companies like Target and Home Depot make the news on a regular basis. It's hard to say when the next data breach will happen, and cloud storage companies are not immune to this threat.
Don't wait for this cloud to pass. If you love something, set it free! You have too much valuable stuff on your phone, tablet or computer to leave it perilously trapped on your device.
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