Into the Cloud
In our last issue for 2012, we talked about
how you can back up precious holiday photos
or important warranty, medical or
career information. We
talked about external hard
drives that connect to your
computer by USB.
As we mentioned, external hard
drives are an excellent backup
solution. They usually contain all
the software to save and manage
files and can store everything like
documents, images, music and movies. The typical
external drive is relatively small, about the size of a
pocket book, and they are highly portable.
The typical household in Canada has multiple
devices now - gone are the days of a single desktop
computer. The average Canadian is also far
more mobile with computing than we have ever
been. This mobility can present a challenge for
backing up and sharing information if we're using
an external storage system.
The term 'cloud' comes from the cloud-shaped symbol used to visualize virtual services, like data storage and sharing, provided over the internet. The use of the cloud for storage and administration is very common among companies, organizations and institutions. Cloud computing has tremendous potential and application for even your own personal use.
How it Works
Big brand named companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google all offer affordable cloud based services for the everyday consumer - some are even free. Right from your phone or laptop you can upload files for storage and sharing, as long as you have an internet connection or data plan.
In fact, if you use Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox or Google Docs, you've already been using the cloud - it's that simple. Instead of emailing yourself that spreadsheet you've been working on, you can upload it to the cloud. You can use these cloud-based services to access and share your favourite Christmas photos with your extended family with just an Internet connection.
Safe & Accessible
The cloud offers a couple of really key benefits for the average consumer. The first is safety. When you're backing up important data, you shouldn't rely on only a single solution. A cloud service is another extremely reliable way to save and store that information. If the external drive is lost or damaged, you'll still have access to the information.
The second is accessibility. Imagine working on a
document or sharing a file from any device in the
world that has Internet access. That's the kind of
accessibility that cloud computing offers. For most of
us, the ability to share and safely store our precious
moments and important information is excellent reason to
consider using the cloud to back up our devices.
If you're using Apple products you can start by checking out iCloud, or if you're on a PC or Android device then you can start by Googling "cloud for your device". If you're not already, then the next time you have a few minutes do a bit of research and learn how you can benefit from using the cloud.