Cloud Storage – What is it and is it Necessary?

| December 14, 2013 | 2 Comments

Cloud-StorageBefore I begin this post, I want to reiterate I’m a Feliciasauraus. In other words I’m a dinosaur when it comes to new technology. I don’t have a Smartphone and have just recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). That needed to be said so you’ll get a better understanding of my cloud storage writing angle.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a virtual storage drive. For the newbie (and dinosaur), computers have physical space where files, pictures, movies, etc. are stored. Over the years the storage capacity of computers increased. Back in the old days we walked around with floppy discs in order to store files that could not fit on the computer’s hard drive. Now a days even the cheapest computers come with storage in excess of 500 gigabytes (that’s a lot of space).

Beyond the physical storage capacity of your computer, there is the option to use cloud storage. This type of storage is not on the physical computer; it is stored on a virtual computer somewhere in the sky (well, not really in the sky but if you can’t see or touch it, it might as well be in the sky).

Companies like Google Drive, Dropbox , SkyDrive  and others offer free virtual storage ranging from 2 gigabytes and up.

Is Cloud Storage Necessary?

The answer to that question is, it all depends. If you’re a dinosaur and have not/will not join the mobile technology revolution and you do all of your computing on one computer, then cloud storage may not be for you. But, if you’re an adventurous dinosaur (like me) you may find many reasons for dabbling with cloud storage.

Joining the Cloud

In the old days (a few months ago), my method for transferring files from one computer to another was by thumb drive or SD card. You see, I used a netbook when I traveled because it was compact and I was able to leave my huge laptop at home. The SD card or thumb drive allowed me to transfer files to continue working on documents on either computer. Sometimes I’d even email files to myself.

That is all well and good but I often ran into the problem of not having the latest version of a particular document. Yes, I did have the document with me, but what use is it if it’s out of date. I wasn’t good at synchronizing my files.

Cloud storage put an end to that problem. With cloud storage I can drop a file into my virtual drive and have access to it from any computer at any time. No longer do I have to carry thumb drives, SD cards or email documents to myself. All I have to do is drag and drop my files into the cloud storage of choice and I’m all set.Cloud Storage Drive

As you can see from the screen clip to the right that I have both Google Drive and Dropbox. With my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 came 50 gigabytes of Dropbox storage. Prior to that I had been experimenting with Google Drive from which I’m allotted 15 gigabytes of free storage. I’ve got more available storage than I know what to do with. My relic of a laptop comes with 500 GB of which I’ve used a whopping 58 GB. It will take me forever to use the additional 65 GB I have allotted to me.

Sharing Files

Another attractive feature of cloud storage is the ability to share files. You get to control which files to share and with whom. For example, my brother had a video he wanted to share with me. In the old days we would attempt to email the clip to each other, hoping the file wouldn’t exceed the file size limit of our email provider. With cloud storage it’s a matter of uploading the file, setting the permissions and notifying the other party. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Potential Downside

As with any technology, there is always a security risk. Cloud storage providers realize this risk and implement the necessary steps to keep your information secure. However, it’s still a risk so this Feliciasauras is playing it safe by keeping her sensitive information out of the clouds for the time being.

Next: A cool cloud storage trick I learned

Tags: , , ,

Category: Mobile Technology

About the Author ()

Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low tech blogger.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Crystal says:

    While I can see the advantage of being able to access files in a single location from any device, my issue with cloud storage is availability (actually lack thereof). Due to my unique situation, I know I will lose internet periodically for varying lengths of time but in reality, everyone is potentially in the same boat. In addition, I also have a bandwidth limit to consider.

    I’d be hesitant to jump on board even if I had unlimited bandwidth and a totally reliable connection, however. Why? The same reason I always carry a little cash as insurance against card reader problems. Reliance on technology transfers power to a nameless, faceless ‘thing’ over which I have no control and I like to limit that whenever I can.

    • Point well taken and understood, Crystal. I’m tentatively using cloud storage at this point. Since most of my computing is done on one computer, I only use it when I know I’ll be traveling with my secondary device. Even then it’s just to transfer the file between computers. I’d rather not leave files out in the clouds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *