As home and business computer users have to cope with a rapidly increasing amount of information, data storage is becoming one of the most important aspects of computing. For storing hundreds of family photos or sprawling databases, the large capacity of modern hard drives makes life easy.
As we take storage space for granted, this creates a problem. If an external hard drive fails or your computer stops working, you risk losing huge chunks of information. Many computer users back files up onto CD-ROMs and multiple external drives for extra security, but even this might not help if you suffer fire, flooding, accidents or robbery. This may sound dramatic, but as any data Recovery Company will tell you, such things can and do happen.
Data Backup: Convenience and Security
Driven by the advent of cloud computing and mobile internet services, online data storage has become another tool for tackling the problem of backing up files safely. Simply upload your data to an online data backup service and your information is safe even if catastrophe strikes.
From uploading photos to social networks to paying for a secure business storage company, this process can save you time and a lot of money. Here are a few of the advantages of online data storage:
- You can easily access information from anywhere, a great advantage if you use mobile devices that have limited storage capacity
- With a high-speed internet connection, it is easy to upload and download files and you can let multiple users have access to information.
- It is easy to back up the information on your hard drives, giving you an extra layer of protection against physical damage and viruses
- Most online storage sites have excellent security, so your data will be safe
- If you want to share files, it is easy to email the files directly, use a file-sharing service, or assign a website address to the files
- Some of the big players, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are developing online storage solutions, so prices are falling, even for heavy users
- An increasing number of web-based software applications allow you to work online, saving hard drive space on your PDA or notebook
- Many businesses use continuous data protection as part of their disaster recovery strategy. Online file storage is a great way of doing, this, allowing you to update and synchronize information frequently.
Finding the Best Online Data Storage Companies
Online data storage sounds like the perfect solution. However, there are a number of things that you should bear in mind. Firstly, if you intend to store large amounts of data, especially high resolution photos, video and databases, you need a high-speed internet connection. Online options are still useful if you are stuck in the slow lane, because you can store documents and emails online.
Cost is also an issue: there are many providers offering excellent low cost options for home users, but they tend to give you only 1 – 2 GB of space. This will soon fill up so, if you want to store large amounts of data, you will have to pay a monthly subscription fee.
Remember that comparing costs isn’t always about looking at the cheapest option: it is about looking at who gives you value for money by supplying what you need at a competitive price. For example, many companies offering continuous data back up only save static files, so if your users have any files open when your system goes down, you will lose them. If your business relies extensively upon large databases and programs such as Outlook, it is worth paying extra money for the added continuous security.
Security is also an issue with online storage companies and you should always do a little research before signing up. If you have particularly sensitive information, such as company accounts or staff records, you will have to look for a provider with extra high security measures, which costs extra. Look for providers offering SSL encryption, password access, and authorization measures.
Whatever option you choose, online storage should be used as a backup for information, because viruses, natural disasters, or bankruptcy can affect even the best providers. Ideally, a storage company should store your data in multiple locations, and don’t be afraid to test their back up processes by conducting tests, known as ‘fire drills.’
Before subscribing, perform some due diligence and research, finding out everything you can about the company offering the service. If you find the right company, your online data backup service will be secure, reasonably priced and, most importantly effective. However, it is always a good idea to keep another redundant copy of your data.