If one day you run out of space to store your photos or videos on your computer or maybe you want to find a safe and easy-to-use place to store information, you should consider the cloud.
“The cloud” is the term used to describe a space on the internet that hosts information and enables you to access it through any device and from anywhere in the world. It is like a memory stick (USB, flash drive) or hard disk, but with the added bonus of not having to physically carry it around.
What can you save on the cloud? Any electronic file: documents, spreadsheets, pictures, contacts, medical records, music, movies. You can also share what you store with other people without having to send the information by email. This helps you avoid having to send large files over email and risk them not being delivered because they are too large.
It also allows you to create, edit and save texts, spreadsheets or presentations. This quality is advantageous if you have to use programs like Word, Excel or PowerPoint, because you will be able to enter, view and update your documents through any device without having to carry your computer wherever you go.
To use cloud services, you will need an internet connection and access to your preferred web browser. You will also have to decide whether you want a free or paid service, which will determine the amount of space you will have available to you to store your content. Once you connect to the internet, go to the website of one of the services that offer the cloud, mentioned below, and follow the steps indicated to start storing your information. When you register for one of these services for the first time, you will have to open an account (which will likely be free), for which you must enter your personal information, a password, and your email address.
To avoid compromising the security of your information, you must be careful with the passwords you use to access these services. Use a different password for each social network and cloud service. It is also advised that you change your passwords frequently and use passwords that are difficult for hackers to crack, with different number, letters, and characters.
Keeping a copy of your content that you store on the cloud on a hard drive at home is a good security measure to ensure you don’t lose any important or confidential data. It’s also best to avoid linking your accounts from social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, and to also not share your passwords to your cloud account with anyone. It’s also good practice to not rely on the cloud to store files with sensitive or confidential information, such as bank statements or extremely personal documents in case there is a data breach. Since the cloud is completely internet-based, there is a risk of your cloud account being hacked and your documents and information being accessed by someone other than yourself.
Some examples of cloud services:
If you are a loyal user of Apple, surely you will be interested in iCloud, whose main advantage is that it integrates with Apple devices. If you have an iPhone or iPad, and you link it to an iCloud account, all the contents of your phone or tablet will be saved automatically and can be accessed from any of these Apple devices.
One downside to iCloud is its high cost: the first 5GB are free (not including photos you take with your iPhone or iPad), but any additional space will cost you $1.29 per month for 50GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB, or $12.99 per month for 2TB. More information is available by clicking here.
Microsoft’s OneDrive also allows you to store and view files, photos, and videos through a computer or mobile device connected to the internet. OneDrive offers you 5 GB of free space. To increase the space available (if 5Gb is not enough), it will cost $2.00 a month for a 100GB. They also have other premium packages that give the user access to a wider range of features. More information on pricing is available at the Microsoft website.
One advantage of this service is that it integrates with Microsoft Office programs, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, better than any other service. In other words, you only have to connect to the internet through a computer or mobile device to be able to edit any of these files that are stored in OneDrive, and the changes are saved automatically.
Dropbox has become one of the most popular cloud services because it is so easy to use. When you install it on your computer, create a folder within Dropbox to deposit the files you want to store on the cloud. You will then be able to see and access them on many other devices that are connected to Dropbox: Windows, Mac, iPhone or iPad, Android or Windows Phone.
This service is very flexible since it allows you to automatically store the photos you take with your mobile device or store your documents to always have them on hand. Dropbox offers you 2 GB for free and if you need more space, it costs $12.99 a month for 2000 GB billed yearly. More information on pricing is available here.