Have you ever experienced one of the following scenarios?
- The file you want to email someone is too big to send as an attachment
- A file you want to work on is not saved on the computer you’re currently using
- You’re away from a computer and want to look at a file on your (smart)phone
If you’ve said yes to one of the scenarios above, cloud storage is something you might want to consider. Short of emailing yourself files constantly or carrying around a flash drive, cloud storage typically allows access from multiple types of devices as long as the devices are connected to the Internet and synced to your cloud storage account.
Example 1: I have an Excel workbook I use to keep track of my bills. While I really only need it around payday, I’ve found it useful when trying to budget for other expenses that might come up, like hair appointments and such. (Gotta look good, right?) I had always saved the workbook to my desktop computer, but I found it inconvenient when I was out of town around pay day or needed to check expenses when away from home. After being frustrated by not being able to check my expenses conveniently, I finally saved the file to my OneDrive account. I can now access and update the file from my personal computers, online, or even through my phone.
Example 2: I have a friend who lives a few hours away who asks for my tech assistance from time to time. Sometimes it’s advice, sometimes she wants me to create a media item for her. One time she asked if I could put together a short video clip for her and she would provide the video clips to edit together. If you know anything about video files, they can be large in size. Since she wouldn’t be able to send them as email attachments, she uploaded the clips to her Google Drive and then just emailed me the links so I can download the files on my end. To get the finished video to her, I did the same thing-uploaded the video to my Google Drive and sent her the link. It worked great!
Before you decide to jump on the cloud band wagon, be aware that there are vulnerabilities when it comes to using cloud storage. Think of the celebrity photo hack of 2014. Your files are being stored on a provider’s server that allows you to have access via the Internet on multiple devices.
If you’re interested in investigating cloud storage for yourself, I’ve provided a link comparing the top providers: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/onedrive-dropbox-google-drive-and-box-which-cloud-storage-service-is-right-for-you/
Depending on your needs, multiple providers may be appropriate. I have accounts with 4 providers listed in that link. I’ll let you ponder the other 2.
Bonus: If you’re technical enough, you can set up your own cloud storage system.