At some point, most of us have had to face the caveat of low storage. What usually follows is a begrudging deletion of files from our devices in order to make more space. It’s a limitation in today’s world of big data.
Information is being generated at an increasingly fast pace and with that comes the risk of incurring data losses if there is nowhere to store it.
Cloud storage is a solution that offers third party storage to individuals or companies in exchange for a fee. In this article, we will discuss how cloud storage:
- Is a cheaper and more feasible alternative to local storage.
- Keeps data secure and less prone to getting lost.
- Makes sure data is accessible to its owner anywhere, anytime.
How Much Data is There?
According to a report released by DOMO Inc, called Data Never Sleeps, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are currently being generated each day. That is 25 followed by 17 zeros!
The report further states that data generation will only go up from here and around 1.7 MB of data will be generated per second for every person on Earth by 2020.
With massive amounts of data being produced, there is always the question of storage.
To give you an idea of how huge the number is, if we were to store the world’s daily data output on CDs, we would use 3.6 trillion CDs every day.
Issue of Storage
Even in today’s world, where storage has come a long way from CDs, it is unfeasible and costly for businesses to store their data locally.
Expensive hardware is required which needs proper maintenance and a lot of space. Then there is the issue of security. Not only should the hardware be immune to hackers and viruses, it should also be physically secure.
Even at an individual level, managing data can be difficult. Memory can run low really fast, devices, hard drives and SD cards can be corrupted or lost.
Enter Cloud Storage
Although the term might sound technical, a vast majority of people use cloud storage in some form or the other.
Gmail and Google Drive are examples of cloud computing. Such platforms own and maintain all the necessary hardware to store data in huge numbers and loan out this storage space for a fee.
In simple terms, cloud storage allows us to delegate all the work of data storage to a third party while retaining control on that data. In most cases, this is a charged service.
Some of the leading cloud storage providers include Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.
How Cloud Storage Delivers
There are usually two main concerns people have when employing cloud services:
1) Is the data completely safe?
When sensitive data is concerned, it is counter-intuitive to involve third parties. It makes the data more vulnerable to theft as well as attack. This is why, cloud storage providers need to guarantee protection against security breaches.
This is done though encryption. The data is encoded and can be reverted back to its original form with the help of a key known only to the provider.
This means that if someone tries to illegally tap into it, the data would make no sense to them without the key. Service providers also make sure the servers are safe from physical harm.
2) Is the data always accessible?
People do not want to upload their data to the cloud and then be blocked from it due to the service provider. This is why, cloud storage providers employ redundancy to prevent down time on their services.
Redundancy means storing the same data on multiple servers so in case one fails or is down for maintenance, data can be reached from another one.
They also take extra measures to keep their servers up and running. This means having back up power sources as well as efficient cooling systems to keep the servers from overheating.
Benefits of Cloud Storage
The way data generation numbers are rising, cloud storage appears to be the way of the future. To reiterate, the main perk of course, of storing things on the cloud is that you have all your data with you without having to carry it in some form or to worry about its safety.
Photos that are taking up too much space on your device can be a few clicks away without taking up any space at all. With that convenience also comes easier data sharing. It reduces big files to simple links. It makes collaborating with people easier.
Major cloud storage companies like dropbox and onedrive offers free space for each new referral user you sent their way. In particular dropbox give you upto 18 gb free space if you refer 32 free users. You can even scale this to get maximum GB space for lifetime.
A company that stores its files on the cloud can easily give remote employees access to it. Students working on projects together can all view the same information at all times and can exchange it more easily as well.
This infographic by Backblaze, a cloud storage company, presents a good look at the future of cloud storage. It predicts that by 2020, one third of the entire world’s data will pass through the cloud. By the same year, enterprises are expected to have spent nearly $191 billion on cloud services. It appears that the trend of opting for cloud storage over local storage is rapidly on the rise and for good reason; it is safe, it is convenient and in the longer run, it is less expensive.