When it comes to saving photos and videos, at the end of the day it all comes to down storage space. Media files especially take up a large amount of storage on your devices. Think of it as traditional storage space, like a closet. If you collect and save enough shoes, at some point you are going to have to get rid of some, or get a bigger closet. The same goes for your photos. This is where the cloud becomes important.
Suddenly it feels like everyone is talking about the cloud. The cloud appears to be the answer to everything, but what is it? Where do you find it? How does it work? And what does it mean to us as owners and users of personal technology?
Let’s start with explaining what the cloud is. Essentially, the cloud is a group of computers (usually in a remote desert type area) that allow for your information to be stored and accessed from anywhere. It’s like a safe house for your information. This way, if fire or flood or thieves in the night compromise your devices, all that precious data is not lost because it is tucked away on the internet. The cloud makes the amount of information that you can store virtually limitless, and accessible from anywhere.
Access to everything: Documents, photos, contacts, and calendars can be shared to all your devices instantly. Make a change to one, and that change will update across your devices.
Backup and recovery: Your devices can be backed up no matter where you are. As long as you have internet access, you can be backing up. If you lose something, or break your device, your data is still safe and can accessed from another device.
Cost: Most Cloud providers offer some amount of storage to start for free. As you increase your usage, they will generally raise your rate, but for consumers it is usually not a very significant investment.
Sharing: If you have a Cloud account, any of your devices can access your files, so you can use whichever device (phone, tablet, or computer) is handy, to view and share files with anyone.
It’s not all roses however. There are two main things to consider when looking to jump onto any Cloud service:
Loss of Control: Since you’re uploading information to the cloud, you lose some control over it. That information is now stored on a physical computer somewhere in the world, owned by the company running that computer (Apple, Google, etc.) If the cloud goes down, you might not have access to the information when you need it the most. While these companies invest millions of dollars to prevent service outages, they can occur. And if they do happen, we as consumers have very little leverage and are reliant upon the company to restore service as quickly as possible.
Security: Since a lot of people’s information can be stored on a company’s cloud, it becomes a much bigger target for people to try and get the information for nefarious reasons. In 2014, Apple’s iCloud service was hacked, exposing pictures of celebrities that they would have preferred been kept secret. Basically, hackers are attracted by the biggest fish in the ocean and major cloud-based services are like a trophy fish to an angler. With that being said, these companies are now fully aware they must be vigilant, and they invest millions of dollars to keep their systems as secure as possible.
In terms of which Cloud to explore, there are many options as so many large technology companies are looking to carve out their position in this evolving space. Here is a look at some of the key players to consider using and their most notable benefits and features: