One of the questions I get asked most often is: What is The Cloud?
The cloud is one of those tech buzzwords. But really it is as simple as this:
The Cloud = Remote Storage
That is really all it is.
See back before remote storage, or the cloud, became commonplace, you had to store your digital stuff. Digital stuff being all your photos, documents, spreadsheets, emails, videos, music, etc. that you wanted to keep.
Remember that sick feeling when you lost your digital stuff? Hard drives crash, so there was a need for a way to keep your digital stuff safe.
And when it came to making sure your digital stuff was safe, before cloud based storage, you had few options. You could store your digital stuff on a floppy disk, or a writable CD. Or you could backup your digital stuff on one of the many backup devices that came out over time, such as USB thumb drives and external hard drive (still an excellent choice for local backups.)
There was also the problem back in the day of getting your digital stuff from one computer to another computer or device. You had to take whatever you stored your digital stuff on and physically take it to another device and hope it worked!
This is an example how cloud based storage works in a nutshell:
- You save a file, and it could be any file like a photo, music, important documents…anything, on your desktop computer. It is synced to your cloud storage account.
- Then, using that same cloud storage program or app, you have access to that same file on your other devices. like your laptop, phone, tablet, any other device! Cool!
There are lots of companies out there are in the cloud business. The business of storing your digital stuff for you. Some offer free options that will more than take care of your photos and documents.
There are literally dozens of companies competing for the right to store your digital stuff. A simple search engine peek with the term “Cloud Storage” should get you started. And below are some of the top players in the cloud game:
Google Drive: – Hard to beat. And here is the great thing, if you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google Drive account with 15GB of storage. AND, along with your Google Drive space, you also get Google Photos that will let you store your photos, all of your photos, for free!
Dropbox – The grandaddy of all online storage gives you 2GB free, but you can get more space free by telling your friends about it.
Microsoft OneDrive – Microsoft’s hosted file service gives you 5GB free to store your digital files.
iCloud – Apple’s offering to the cloud based storage system. If you have an Apple device, you probably already have some version of iCloud. Free version nets you 5GB of storage.
There are many other players in the cloud storage game. A more exhaustive list can be found here: [Wikipedia Link]