The Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage

We’ve discussed cloud computing and Web-based applications in this post. What we haven’t really talked about yet is “cloud storage” or online storage.

Most of you probably had, at least at one time, to choose whether you’re going to put your data or files on the cloud or use local storage.

Nowadays there is a strong shift to using Web-based applications, and with those applications comes storage. Services like Gmail, Dropbox, Flickr and many more offer users an incredible amount of storage – usually for free or very cheaply (including upgrades). For example, I ran out of my 7GB free storage in Gmail. An upgrade of an additional 20GB cost me merely 5$. Cloud storage is very tempting, and it can solve many day-to-day problems we face. But cloud storage can also be risky. In this post I’ll point out some of the benefits that cloud storage has to offer, and the risks that come along with it.

Security is an issue in question. On one hand, services that offer cloud storage use the most high-end security measures. On the other hand, they are a challenge and target to hackers.

Capacity is usually not a problem when storing files and data on the internet. Good services provide good capacity, and you can always upgrade it with a relatively low cost.

Availability of your data is a definite plus. You can have access to your data as long as you have an internet connection. That means from anywhere and using any internet-enabled device. That means work, home, laptop and even mobile phone. The risk is not being able to access data when you can’t find a wireless network or when you have an internet outage. However, services like Gmail and Remember The Milk provide an “offline” feature, that lets you work offline on your data and when you find internet, it will sync with the live data on the cloud.

Get-away options are an important factor in choosing between hosting services. You must find out how easy it is to get your data out of the service if you ever need to. It could happen for a number of reasons – change of pricing plans, dissatisfaction with the service, migration, if the service should go out of business, and if you want to back your data up locally.

Collaboration is made possible in cloud storage. It helps to have one file available throughout an organization, and having multiple people working on it in stead of synchronizing between different versions of the same file. It also eliminates the fear of not obtaining the latest revision of a document or datum.

Pricing of cloud storage is almost always lower than setting up your own IT infrastructure and internet connectivity.

It’s clear to see that cloud storage can be an economic and powerful solution to a lot of businesses and purposes. However, when deciding on whether to take it to the cloud – you should always remember the risks that come along with the benefits, and find a solution that suits your needs.

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  1. Chris
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Being able to move your data from one cloud to the next is very important and a lot of these file storage/sharing sites are applications that sit on top of the cloud so you don’t have easy and direct access to all of your data. This is true with the photo sharing site I use. I wanted to download all of the photos to my desktop and I pretty much had to download them one at a time.

    Security is also important. People are still hesitant to put their data in the cloud. All we need is one incident where an employee of Amazon or hacker steals someone data and people will move away from the cloud and probably for good.

  2. ipse lute
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    I don’t believe security is the main issue. People don’t put their drawings in the cloud because there is no advantage in doing that.
    Just to backup data? I have like half a dozen of memory sticks, so i can do lots of backups.
    Maybe to colaborate? They could send any file via email.
    People tend to keep their files right there where they create, modify and organize the data of the design. Why put my data in the cloud if i can’t edit or modify any of that?
    Butterfly is the first step in the right direction.

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