Living in “the cloud” – Should you bring an umbrella?

By Ayse Stenabaugh 

You might already know what “the cloud” is; this magical invisible space (online) that stores and syncs all of your digital data. There are many different cloud services that are available. Cloud services are most commonly found on mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets and are becoming increasingly popular on desktop devices for both data storage and data syncing!

Data & Photo Storage

You have probably heard of Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive and maybe even Amazon cloud drive. All of these services can be used to store data and pictures. Any of the cloud storage services mentioned above can be setup to automatically upload a copy of your photos from your mobile devices when configured properly.

Cloud Data Syncing

All of the above services can be configured on your personal computer to allow the storage of data both locally and the cloud. This means that anything you save on your desktop computer in your Dropbox folder (for example) will upload into the cloud making the data accessible from any other device that is syncing your Dropbox. You can also share and manage files from the Dropbox website from any internet enabled computer.

Different applications have the purpose of syncing specific data for example on iPhones or iPads the iCloud had the ability to sync contacts, calendars, passwords etc. ICloud specifically provides 5GB of free storage space, many users don’t realize how quickly their photos can use up this space leaving less than enough space to sync contacts etc.

Data Backup Services

For those concerned with data loss solutions like Carbonite and AVG cloud backup provide system backup services with file restoration with the touch of a button. Services such as these not only encrypt your backed up data but have the ability to keep multiple copies of data as well. Services can be purchased either per device or per the amount of data being used depending on the service provider.

What about security?

When people ask me about the security of their data I tell them this; don’t put anything out there you wouldn’t want anyone else to see. If you are planning on transmitting secure data online ensure you are using a service that is encrypting your data. Do the research on your storage company to find out what they do to keep your data safe. You can even take the time to learn how to encrypt your data before uploading it to the web if security is a big concern.

How do I know which cloud services are right for me?

Finding the best service for you will depend largely on your storage space needs, usage and the type of device you are using. Having someone with experience with the different services can be extremely helpful (Jester’s Computer Tutor can help with that!). Different cloud services have their own advantages and disadvantages and it is always recommended that you try out one of the services above before purchasing any plans to make sure it works well to meet your needs!

Do you really need the cloud?

Can you live without that picture you took yesterday if your phone took a dive in the river? Your vacation, graduation and holiday photos? How about that big project you worked on for weeks that you failed to save to save a backup of before your computer crashed? The bigger question isn’t whether or not you need the cloud, its whether or not your data and in some case your memories are replaceable. If your answer is no than my answer is yes you need the cloud!

For computer repair services contact Jester’s Computer Services (717) 642-6661 located at 5135 Fairfield Road Fairfield PA 17320 or visit us on the web at www.jesterscomputers.com for contact information, hours and directions!