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article imageOp-Ed: Demystifying the cloud

By Alyssa Sellors     Jul 31, 2014 in Internet
Have you been searching, eyes cast up at the heavens, wondering where all of these files you supposedly saved to the “cloud” might be? If this is you, you are not alone, but you may already know more about the “cloud” than you think.
This statement may cause eye rolls for some people who have been using cloud-based storage solutions for years, but it’s surprising at how much mystery and mystique surrounds the elusive cloud.
First, let’s start with the basics, since according to a report from nScreenMedia, while 90 percent of people are aware the cloud exists, 19 percent have only heard of it but know nothing about it, 43 percent know a little and only 29 percent say they are actually using cloud storage. Hollywood seemingly doesn't get it either, as the recent film Sex Tape proves with their glaring misunderstanding of how the “cloud” actually works. An article by ABC News defines the cloud as an application that’s hosted on or runs on internet servers. These servers, also called server farms for larger providers, are where your media is actually stored. The servers are accessed through the internet, so in order to access your files you must have internet connection. But the good news is these files can be accessed from any computer, anywhere, anytime. This visual explains the relationship between your files and how they are store.
Essentially, there are two major advantages to cloud storage: the ability to share your content and, perhaps the most important, the ability to back up files. The cloud replaces external hard drives, compact disks, and other physical places to save data. This makes some people nervous, having their beloved photos and files floating around in server land, but it really is a smart choice for individuals and especially larger companies. For newbies to the cloud, there’s no reason to have fear as using cloud storage is quite simple and easy and more innovative than ever. But, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing a provider to store your files.
First, not all providers are free or created equally, and even the free options have storage limits and paid data plans when that space runs out. So how do you get the best out of the cloud? You should start by searching for providers based on what files you are looking to store. Are you storing just photos? Videos? Files? Everything? Remember, different files take up various amounts of space so that should also be a major consideration. Some of the most popular providers for general files are Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive and Dropbox, but other providers are emerging as excellent storage options.
For the top personal cloud storage overall, Cloud Storage has recently named JustCloud as the “Top Cloud Storage for Personal Use,” ranked on visitor’s preference, features of storage plan, storage reliability and network speed, and value for the money. JustCloud does not have file restrictions, and offers the most comprehensive features in the industry with the ability to sync data across multiple devices and get both archived and synchronized storage in one account. It’s simple to use and inexpensive for unlimited storage. For top cloud storage for photos, The Verve has published a list of top performing choices with the top free option as Google+, top average user choice as Everpix, and the top power user choice as Picturelife. Picturelife was ranked for its most complete featured set of services, Everpix ranked for its design and ease to use and storage of photos, and of course Google+ for its free services. Everpix and Picturelife do have costs associated with their services, but Everpix offers a free two-year trial just for downloading the desktop app, uploading photos and linking back to a smartphone. For top cloud storage for video storage, Stream Nation trumps many others with its sleek timeline design and ability to store media from multiple libraries and services, automatically organizing this information for you. One feature unique to this provider is the private video sharing feature which allows users to share, borrow and lend media within private “inner circles.” If you already have media stored in Dropbox or Flickr, or other cloud providers, Stream Nation will compile all of these files for you, so it becomes one place for all of your media.
No matter the provider you choose, it’s a good idea to do your research and know your options. With cloud-based storage options gaining more and more popularity and dependence by larger companies on these services growing, maybe the elusive concept of the cloud will be grounded.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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