Storing data wirelessly on a remote server has come to be known as storing “in the cloud.” It is a popular trend, with more and more people embracing the digital paper trail and learning how to tailor it to their own needs. In fact, one of the latest inventions of 2013 was OwnCloud, which allows you to build your own cloud.
Still, there are a myriad of web-based host servers that utilize the concept to store files and data online, and many of them are also rolling out desktop and mobile client versions for complete ease of access. Whether you want to access your files on your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or work computer, storing them in the cloud means they will be available anywhere, anytime.
Here are some of the best perks of using cloud storage:
1. Sync Data and Settings Across Devices
The most obvious and standard reason for using the cloud is to have all of your files stored on a server that offers anywhere access. But other services, like Apple’s iCloud, utilizes wireless push features to sync more than just files across a range of devices. Sure, it makes your documents and photos available on your laptop, iPad, and iPhone, but it also saves settings, notifications, and updates. Any changes you make to iCal on your iPhone will show up on your iPad; if you fall asleep on page 37 of The Hobbit on your iPad’s Kindle app, your iPad Mini will launch that page the next time you want to read.
2. Eliminate Paper Trail
Say goodbye to cluttered piles, forgotten papers, and overflowing notebooks. Students and business employees can downsize their backpacks and briefcases, and they aren’t restricted to having the device on which they took notes with them. Travelers can travel more lightly by eliminating printed travel itineraries and other documents, and shoppers can stop wondering where they put their scribbled out paper list: now it’s on the cloud.
3. Establish Privacy
File hosting servers and cloud storage systems are encrypted, which means your data is safe and secure in the online connection. If someone steals your laptop or smartphone, you can remote wipe the device (provided you have the means to do so), and your files will still be accessible online. Granted, there is an ongoing debate about the true privacy and security of cloud storage, and as with anything regarding the Internet, nothing is 100% foolproof. Still, security measures are in place to provide safekeeping for your precious data.
4. Collaborate on Projects and Assignments
The days of meeting after class to work on a poster-board are quickly dwindling, as is the need for in-person project assignments. These days, students and employees can collaborate via a variety of hosts like Google Drive, where they can share documents and spreadsheets, and have equal access to modify them. The changes update live, so everyone who is signed in at the time sees it happen. Employers can leave directions and resources for employees to work remotely, eliminating the need for in-person interaction.
5. Help Safeguard against Poor Internet Connections
The one limiting factor to an otherwise extremely liberating concept is the exclusive reliance on an Internet connection. Indeed, without it, the cloud is obsolete. Fortunately, with cloud storage offered across web-based and mobile-based platforms, you have a built-in backup plan if your connection turns spotty. Say your Internet service provider launches a surprise maintenance window in the middle of your workday, throwing a wrench in your online plans. Cue your smartphone or data-enabled tablet, where you can access your cloud files via your mobile network.
6. Flexibility to Work Anywhere, Anytime
When you aren’t tied down to a desk, and when all the resources you need to work are available right at your fingertips, flexibility is your playground. You can even take off for a trip around the world and get your work done, as long as you have an Internet connection. The cloud is revolutionizing the workplace, and business models are changing to cater to it. There are pros and cons to this transition, but the bottom line is that ultimate mobility is key.
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