Online storage is becoming increasingly popular. It has long been around, but with services like Dropbox and SkyDrive it is now becoming a viable option for both home and enterprise users to store their files on.
Storing data online is also known as cloud storage. This is because everything you put on it is floating, accessible from wherever you are at any time. Just imagine if you were heading to a business meeting, only to realise once you get there that you forgot to bring your memory stick with that presentation on it. With cloud storage you would simply load up the software or login to their website and retrieve the file.
It is a great solution. The amount of storage you need is scalable, individual folders and files can be shared or kept private and it gives you a piece of mind. Good cloud backup systems will automatically sync any changes you make to a file into a cloud. A lot of them also offer mobile or tablet applications.
However, what a lot of people might not consider is that cloud storage is not a permanent solution. You can’t entrust the only copies of your data to a third party solution. These services could suffer outages at any point and leave you without access to your data when you may need it most. Even worse, they could go down completely. Although it is unlikely for someone like Microsoft’s cloud storage to suddenly disappear, a small company could potentially become bankrupt and close without warning.
Also, the nature of cloud storage means that you will always need an internet connection to be able to access your data. If you need something urgently and your internet connection is unreliable then this causes problems. Problems can also arise if you are on an internet connection that has a data cap. Depending on how much data you want to back up, if you can only transfer a set amount of data per month then you could also run into issues.
You should also be aware that no online storage system is ever going to be one hundred percent secure. Although companies like Dropbox do state that they use advanced security systems, even this is not fail safe. As such, if you are a company storing private information (like customer details, for example), then you may want to turn to a more secure backup system that isn’t connected to any online connection.
Finally, cloud storage services only offer a certain amount of storage for free, but if you want to use it as a full backup system then you are going to need to pay. Depending on how much data you have, this could cost a lot per year and savings could be made by choosing a more traditional data backup solution.
Although backing up your data online is understandably a popular solution, it should not be used solely, nor should it be considered permanent. Remember that you are handing your data over to another party and it could be removed at any moment. Always keep an offline backup of your data too.
Online Backup Isn't a Permanent Solution
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