You’ve probably heard about something called ‘cloud storage’. But what is it? And why is it such a big deal these days? Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about cloud storage systems.
Cloud storage systems hold your files in a remote server called a ‘cloud’. This cloud can be accessed by any device with an internet connection, like your smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer. If you edit, change, or delete a file on the cloud, this change is reflected across all your devices.
One of the major advantages of cloud storage is the fact that you can access your files when offline. Then, once your device reconnects to the internet, the changed files are automatically synced to the cloud. This makes cloud storage systems ideal for students who may have a netbook for typing up lecture notes and a larger desktop computer at home, or for anybody who likes to bring work home from the office.
As of now, there are three major cloud storage system providers: Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Dropbox. Google Drive offers 5GB of storage space for free, SkyDrive has 7GB, and Dropbox has 2GB. However, each service gives users the ability to upgrade their storage limits for a small price (Google Drive charges $2.50 per month for 25GB of storage space, and the other services have similar pricing plans).
It’s important to note that Dropbox gives users the opportunity to expand their storage space for free. All you have to do is refer other users to the service. For each person you refer, Dropbox grants you an additional 500MB of storage space.
There are also other cloud services available. Apple users can use the iCloud, and online services like YouSendIt, SpiderOak, SugarSync, and Amazon’s Cloud Drive are all available. With so many different services competing for your business, consumers are clearly on the winning end of this bargain.
But what do they have to gain from offering free storage space? Cloud storage companies make their money by offering upgrade packages to their users. Even if only a small fraction of their free users make the jump to paid service, that is still enough to cover the shrinking costs of server and storage space.
We wouldn’t be teaching you all this information about cloud storage systems if they didn’t have a large benefit on your computer’s performance. Aside from the obvious convenience benefits (not having to carry around USB sticks or portable hard drives), cloud storage systems free up space on your hard drive. This means your hard drive doesn’t have to work as hard to access the files it needs, and you can fill this space with useful things like music, games, or movies.
Whether you’re using cloud storage on your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or all of these devices at the same time, there’s no doubt that cloud storage is a convenient new way to share files across multiple systems. Use it to speed up your computer, or simply for the added convenience. With free cloud storage space growing larger every day, there has never been a better time to open up your own account.