We often have written about cloud storage of computer files. Recent changes in some cloud systems have greatly increased their usefulness. Cloud storage is a figurative reference to storing your computer files on some company’s large computer system reached over the Internet. The object is to protect the files from loss and to allow access by multiple devices or users. There are many available cloud storage systems.
Some companies provide storage for governments and large corporations. Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example, has a worldwide network of online storage servers with thousands of commercial and government customers. AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon.com where people buy clothing, books, or electronics online. IBM, Microsoft, Google, and others also serve big companies. There are elaborate features that control who in a company can access specific kinds of information.
Individuals and small businesses will find cloud storage worthwhile, too. Collectors, dealers, auctioneers, appraisers, conservators, authors, and other antiquers can improve computer safety and convenience with suitable cloud storage systems. Though they differ in features and price, they are often free for small amounts of data but have charges for large amounts. Some are even installed as part of a computer’s operating system or office suite.
Cloud systems for small users differ in the nature of their services. Some are aimed at saving your data in the event of a computer crash, ransomware attack, or theft of the computer. In the worst case, the software may have to be reinstalled or repurchased, but the data files will be sitting on the cloud waiting to be used. Some cloud systems add the ability to store a complete hard drive image so the software can be automatically restored.
Some systems store only specific files chosen by the user. Others automatically store all files in specific categories such as documents or photos. Cloud systems associated with an office suite such as Microsoft Office 365 have tools for collaboration between computer users such as coauthors in different locations. The camera in a smartphone and many standalone cameras can be set to automatically upload pictures to a cloud server.
Cloud brands are competitively priced and frequently upgraded. If prices were quoted as this is written, they could easily change by publication time. Therefore, prices will be described as “above,” “about,” or “below” midrange. A midrange price for storing 1 terabyte (1 TB = 1000 gigabytes) of data is $60 to $90 per year. But check current prices on the links listed.
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