The Pros and Cons of Using Online Storage to Backup Your Data

With data cards capable of holding thousands of photos and more people turning to digital music, finding a way to store all those digital files in a convenient way is becoming more of a challenge. Servers capable of holding terabytes of information are available, but accessing what they contain requires being physically connected to them. Cloud storage is a possible solution, provided the proper precautions are taken.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

Many people have made the decision to turn to cloud storage, especially for data that is not sensitive, such as photos, documents and music. There are several reasons why this can be a good storage solution.

Inexpensive – Many cloud storage providers offer a small amount of space for free to those who sign up for their service. These initial offerings can range from two gigabytes to five, or even ten in the case of Copy. Customers can also earn additional storage through certain tasks or getting others to join the service,a great example of this is the 400GB (yes, 400!) of free storage that RefuGeeks owner Kev Quirk has managed to amass through referrals on Copy. There’s also the possibility of purchasing extra space of course.

Availability – When storing files on a device or external server, that data is only available when the device is handy or while connected to the backup. With cloud storage, files can easily be accessed or shared through various devices even from remote locations. As long as access to the Internet is possible, the files can be reached. In addition, very large files do not need to be downloaded to be viewed most of the time.

Sharing – Files stored in the cloud can easily be shared with others by providing them a link to the folders containing the photos, documents or music. This can be done without making them public, such as posting on Facebook or Twitter.

Another backup – Eventually, the hard drive on any computer is going to break down and stop working. This poses a risk to anything saved on it. Using cloud storage for certain files provides another level of security to protect them. In addition, the backup may be automatic, reducing the amount of time the user has to spend manually backing up files to an external hard drive.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

Despite the many advantages of cloud storage, there are also some issues to consider that may make it a less attractive option.

Privacy – One of the biggest drawbacks to cloud storage is that there is no guarantee that the files stored in the system will be kept private. Some services consider the files they store to be open to their use. We would strongly recommend reading the privacy policy of any cloud service you are thinking of signing up for.

Internet – Access to cloud storage is reliant on an Internet connection. While this helps enable the sharing of files, if something happens and there is no connection, those files are unreachable. This obviously isn’t the case for tools like Dropbox & Copy as they have a locally synced version of you files. So you can still access your data without an Internet connection. Then, when your connection is re-enabled, any changes will be synced to the cloud.

Loss of control – Though most providers take great pains to protect the servers they use to save files in the cloud, disaster could still strike. If those servers go down, your data may be lost.

Though there are a few disadvantages associated with cloud storage, there are several advantages. Cloud storage can provide an easy and inexpensive way to store digital information, and your files can be automatically backed up and accessed online from wherever you are.

Guest author Lucy Matthews writes for, a site that compares the services available from different cloud storage companies.

The Pros and Cons of Using Online Storage to Backup Your Data
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