There was a time when cloud storage was just some high-concept tech term used by industry insiders. That time is not now.
Simply put, you need to be using a cloud storage service. They’re designed to make your life easier by greatly expanding the size of your device through digital means. Actually, they do much more than that. They turn your data into something you can almost reach out and grab from anywhere in the world on any device. You know…almost like it’s on a cloud.
Even if you are using a cloud service, there’s a very good chance you’re not using it to its full potential. That’s because we’re really only starting to understand just how versatile the cloud really is.
With that said, here’s what you need to know about the cloud and how it can improve your mobile device experience.
What (Exactly) Is Cloud Storage?
While the name “cloud storage” invokes an image of data floating in the air, it actually has nothing to do with that.
When you store something on “the cloud,” you’re storing it on a remote server. This is opposed to storing it directly on your device. Those servers can then be remotely accessed by users who have elected to store data on them. Typically, these servers are owned and operated by a hosting company that maintains them.
So why is it called the “cloud?” The origins of the phrase are traced to the early days of the internet. In those days, drawings of a cloud were used to depict the phone company who provided internet access. The term has just carried over into the modern age.
Why Would I Want to Use Cloud Storage?
There are a few good reasons to use cloud storage.
Obviously, storage space itself is one of them. In case you haven’t noticed, Apple likes to charge a premium for mobile storage. The problem is that our devices keep eating up more and more storage space. Since Apple likely isn’t going to drop the cost of their 256 GB iPhone models, something has to give.
That’s where cloud storage comes in. Remote cloud servers can store a ton of photos, videos, and other data at a fair price. Even better, you rarely have to take extra steps to access them.
Cloud storage also lets you easily transfer data between multiple devices. Imagine the simple process of transferring a photo from your phone to a PC without cloud storage. You’d have to deal with wires or the cumbersome process of emailing files.
One of the most overlooked benefits of cloud storage, though, is the backup options it offers. In an ideal world, you would back-up every important file you have on a cloud server. That way, you rarely ever have to truly worry about losing a file.
However, the best reason to use cloud storage is actually a relatively simple one: it’s the future. We may one day live in an age where cloud storage is the dominant method of data storage. As such, it’s best to get familiar with it now.
How Hard Is It To Use Cloud Storage?
With the right service, cloud storage is incredibly easy to use.
Most modern devices give you the option to save to the cloud right away. From there, accessing your data is as easy as accessing data via built-in storage.
The biggest hurdle with cloud storage is data management. By that, we mean getting used to having data in multiple places. So far as that goes, we recommend labeling your cloud and regular data clearly in order to ensure you’re never chasing a file down.
Fortunately, most cloud services make it easy to automatically back up data and manage your files.
Isn’t Cloud Storage A Security Risk?
You’ve probably heard some stories about cloud storage servers being “hacked” in the past. These high-profile instances of security breaches may leave you wondering whether or not it’s safe to use cloud storage at all.
However, you have to consider some fact. First off, hackers like cloud storage because it contains so much data in a relatively close digital space. This makes the cloud a prime target for attacks.
That may sound scary, but the presence of hackers has just ensured that cloud storage companies have gotten better at defending against attacks. Last year, Microsoft revealed that their security programs blocked 1.5 million cloud hacking attempts a day. These storage systems are built to weather the storm.
The reason that massive cloud storage hacks get so much publicity is that they are a statistical rarity. They’re like a plane crash. Yes, they happen, but that shouldn’t deter you from utilizing the best of modern technology.
Are Clouds Only Used For Storage?
Storage is the most popular use of cloud technology, but it’s not the only one.
For instance, we’re seeing more and more companies utilize remote software accessible via the cloud. For instance, let’s say you don’t own a gaming computer. Thanks to new services, you’ll still be able to play the newest games by accessing high-powered computers via the cloud.
Of course, we’re only starting to discover the true potential of the cloud.
How Much Cloud Storage Do I Need?
That greatly depends on your needs.
If you’re a business owner, you’ll want as much as you can get. You’ll then want to learn to treat the cloud as your best backup. Based on your needs, that might mean signing up for a service that allows for terabytes of storage.
However, that much storage space might not be necessary for everyone. If you’re a mobile user that just wants to backup some photos and videos, then consider a service that allows you to store about half of the space that you have on your mobile device.
Alternatively, look at how much space your photos and videos take up and get a service that practically matches your needs. Just be aware that your needs might grow.
The great thing about cloud subscriptions, though, is their flexibility. If you decide you need more or less, you can adjust your plan as needed.
Do I Need a Premium Cloud Service?
If you’re just storing vacation photos and schoolwork on the cloud, then you’ll probably be able to get away with free options. However, if you’re storing sensitive data – or a lot of it – then you’ll really want to consider a premium option.
The very good news is that there are some very affordable premium options out there. Actually, it’s getting harder not to recommend one to all users based on the extra space and options they offer.
How Do I Install Cloud Storage on My iPhone/iPad?
There really isn’t an “installation” process with cloud services.
Instead, you’ll just need a free or premium service account. From there, you can access your saved files via a mobile or desktop app.
Cloud Storage Facts
Cloud Storage for Businesses Will Likely Become Standard by 2020
Technological research company Gartner predicted that cloud storage amongst businesses will become standard by 2020. They even stated that not having cloud storage at that time will be as strange as a business not using the internet now.
Global Cloud Storage Users Have Almost Doubled since 2014
From just over 1 billion users in 2014 to just under two billion users in 2018, the popularity of cloud storage continues to grow.
The Average Employee At Enterprises Uses Almost 40 Cloud Services at Work
The use of multiple cloud services amongst businesses continues to grow. This not only enhances security but expands the storage potential of cloud options.
Almost 20% of Data Stored in The Cloud is Considered to Be Sensitive
44% of that data is related to business finances, 3.9% contains personal information (like social security numbers), and 2.3% has personal finance information.
By 2020, Cloud-Based Services Will Experience 60% Fewer Security Incidents Than Traditional Data Centers
As cloud security options improve, we’re reaching a point when it will be safer to utilize the cloud over traditional data center options.
iCloud is Rapidly Approaching 1 Billion Users
With 782 million reported users in 2016, it’s becoming clear that Apple’s own cloud service is becoming an industry standard.
What are the best cloud storage services for my Apple device?
There are many great cloud service options out there, but these are the ones we recommend you check out.
There’s a good chance you’re already using iCloud. That’s because Apple has leaned more and more on their own cloud service in recent years.
The accessibility of iCloud makes it an attractive option for most Apple users. However, you’d be foolish to treat iCloud as the only cloud option out there. A host of third-party cloud companies in recent years have made compelling cases for the title of “best cloud service in the world.”
pCloud is quickly becoming a user favorite among cloud storage users. It’s not hard to see why that’s that case.
With pCloud’s free plan, you get a generous 10 GB of cloud service. You can bump that up to 20 GB with bonuses. If you’re looking for premium plans, pCloud’s storage space accommodates up to 2TB. You can even buy 2 TB of lifetime storage for a one-time fee of $250.
Whether you’re a premium or free user, you’ll find that pCloud is one of the most accessible cloud apps out there. Navigating, transferring, and managing your files with pCloud is a breeze. Better still, pCloud doesn’t impose file size, space, or speed limits. You can even favorite files to access offline.
pCloud is a hassle-free alternative to iCloud and other popular services that doesn’t skimp on the features. It’s hard not to recommend it.
The name “Dropbox” has almost become synonymous with the idea of cloud storage in recent years. It is by far one of the most popular cloud storage options in the world.
Dropbox’s popularity is one of its biggest selling points if you’re planning on sharing your storage with multiple people. Dropbox prides itself on its user interface and most people are able to utilize it with great ease.
Dropbox is also quite affordable – 1 TB of storage for $9.99 – and is accompanied by an excellent desktop client.
All of that makes Dropbox easy to recommend for small businesses, but it’s not the only option for mobile users.
If security is your main concern, consider a subscription to SpiderOak ONE.
SpiderOak’s encryption and security options are without peer. They never store your password, your data is encrypted every step of the way, and anyone trying to even see a file name on their servers is going to have a rough time of it. This is a service designed to be the absolute safest out there.
All that security does come at a price, though. In this case, that’s quite literal. SpiderOak’s base plan will set you back $60 a year for only 100GB of storage. You’ll also have to deal with its novice-unfriendly interface and inferior desktop client.
Still, SpiderOak is a nice option for pros with money to burn.
Want a lot of space for little money? Mega is for you.
Mega offers 50 GB of free cloud storage for free. Even with a free plan, Mega offers impressive levels of security. In fact, they can’t even reset your password because they don’t store it anywhere.
If you decide to go with a premium plan, Mega offers them starting as low as $4.99 a month for 200 GB of space and 1 TB of transfers. Even if that’s not for you, there’s really no reason not to take advantage of Mega’s free extra storage space.
At the end of the day, the cloud exists to make your life easier. Forget about storage limits and forget about your data being tied to a device. Cloud services allow us to live in a world where our data is at-the-ready and potentially limitless.
You need a cloud service because our world is starting to be built around the benefits they offer. If you’re not using one – or not using one to its full potential – now is the time to start.