It is possible to hear terms being thrown around and assume that you know what they mean, but I have found that it is an overall dangerous assumption. So let us first be sure that we all know what is meant by cloud storage.
A cloud is essentially a bunch of computers connected over the Internet and used for data storage and sharing services by companies like PhotoShare and other cloud companies. The cloud provides an invisible back up for whatever document you want thereby saving you costs for increasing amounts of storage space, which can know no end. This is because files are stored in a server as opposed to your hard drive.
This offers many advantages…
You can access your filed from literally anywhere in the world with Internet connection. You save money on extra storage and you can save as many files as you want on the cloud without worrying about having enough room.
Cloud storage also allows you to share your photos and other files with others through various means. There is also a greater guarantee of the safety of your information regardless of what damage could be done to your hard disk and other storage devices.
But before you sign that contract
Do make sure to ask the following questions:
- How much data will you need?
You will need to know this in order to choose the right cloud service for you. Some charge extra for more storage while others claim to be unlimited in space but with limited time of storage.
- Is their security reputable?
Check out your company of choice conclusively. You will be entrusting them with pretty sensitive information after all. Find out about their security policies; be sure to read the fine print. Also, check out their reputation; it will show you what to expect as far as service delivery.
- Encryption of your data
Find out is your data is being encrypted as it is being uploaded and downloaded from your cloud. You need to ensure your browser requires a connection that is encrypted. This is indicated by a little padlock next to the URL.
And then there is encryption during cloud storage. Be sure to read the terms of your service provider because without the encryption, anyone with privileged access to their server (legal or otherwise) will have access to your sensitive information. Depending on the sensitivity of your information, encryption could be critical to you.
- How is access shared?
Can you share access of your folders with other people? And how exactly will this work? You must find out if they can change the contents or not, if you will know who made the last changes, if your files can be shared with a particular group, and if you know the members of this group.
This is important for the safety of your documents and photos. After all, you should have a say in who can access your files, when and what they can do with it.