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The reasons for using an online backup service

The reasons for using an online backup service

Online storage (or online backup or cloud storage) has been around for years, but many users have been reluctant to spend money on a service that they don’t necessarily understand. So we’re going to give you a little primer about exactly what is an online storage service—and at the same time, help you understand if it’s something you want or need.

What is online storage

The idea of online storage is actually pretty simple. Files from your computer (or any other device, such as a phone) get uploaded to a online server and are stored there. You can then access those files when needed. No one else can retrieve or view these files unless you give them permission to do so.

Pretty simple so far. Let’s dig in some more.

What’s the appeal of such a service?

Originally people just wanted to back up photos and other personal files. Many of us have thousands of digital photos, videos, songs and other documents on our computer—and the idea of losing them if your computer died or was somehow destroyed is frightening. Also, all those photos and videos start hogging significant computer disk space which is finite.

Before online storage, people would purchase an external hard drive—essentially a box that offers a lot of storage space—and dump all of their precious digital files to this box. However, an external hard drive can fail. Or it could get ruined in a fire or accident. Or, because you have to remember to back up the files, the backup could be woefully out of date. Also, you can only get the files from the hard drive if you are connected to it.

Thus, enterprising individuals started using remote servers to store all these files. In time, online storage has become more than just a way to backup your digital files. It has also become a way to collaborate and share data, providing a new level of security and convenience.

Advantages

DevicesBelow is a list of some of the big advantages of using an online backup product.

Peace of mind
No one wants to lose the thousands of videos and photos and music files that they have accumulated over time. An online storage option gives you a backup should your computer ever fail or be destroyed.

Accessing files from different devices
In today’s world we often use multiple electronic devices —phones, computers, tablets, etc. With an online storage system, you can access your files from anywhere and from multiple devices.

File sharing and collaboration
Online storage applications offer a way to share and collaborate. This is common in today’s workplace, but also with home users. It is a simple way to share photos and home videos with family and friends.

Also, the limitations put on email service (specifically the size of files) is not really an issue when using an online storage system. Have a 500MB video to share with someone? Most email systems won’t let you send something that massive. Online storage and sharing is the answer.

Automation
Most of the services offer a way to automate your backups. Add a new photo? Boom, it automatically gets uploaded to the cloud. You can often determine what types of files get backed up—and when. Most products will have automation feature that makes the process easy, for example, TDS’s own online backup service is fully automatic so you never have to give it another thought.

Storage space on your device
No need to purchase a massive hard drive for your computer, phone or tablet. Your hard drive is in the cloud. It can save you money.

Disadvantages

Cost
Online storage solutions cost money. Typically you’re going to pay $50-100 a year for a decent service. There are some cheaper services—even free—but they usually have very limited storage space. Best to find something that is safe and secure and meets your needs.

It’s worth noting that some services offer discounts for buying the product for an extended time such as a year. And, often times you can find bargains on a service by bundling it with other products which—something true at TDS.

Learning curve and complexity
Let’s face it, no one likes to learn something new. Setting up a cloud storage service can take a little bit of time. And depending on the product, the level of complexity varies. The key is finding the service that fits your needs and budget.

Security
Most cloud storage systems offer robust security, but nothing is perfect. You have to trust your online backup product to provide you with top-notch security, which is why we recommend sticking with a known service that has a good track record protecting consumer data.

Next steps

ServersDoes an online backup option work for me?
Answer that question before going forward. If you’re someone who doesn’t really see the need for such a service – then don’t spend the money. But if you have files that you want to protect, such as photos and videos, then a back up service might be worth it.

Testing and research

Test out the different services. Many usually have a free or trial version. Next, read reviews and talk to friends about the subject. This is important so you pick the product that fits your needs. Many of the services are more complex than others, so understanding what product is best for you is all about a little research and testing.

Ultimately, an online backup product may work for you due to to circumstances or your familiarity with the company. For instance, Microsoft OneDrive is cheap and is ideal for Office users. GoogleDrive is great for collaboration. Apple users might want to stay in the Apple ecosystem and go with iCloud. At TDS, our online backup product has been crafted so that it is simple and easy-to-use.

There are many other quality cloud storage products, including Dropbox, Sync.com and pCloud, as well as TDS. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Again, test and research to find the product that works for you.

Conclusion

Is picking an online backup product simple? Not always, but don’t let the complexity of the situation stop you from protecting your data. In the end, no one wants to lose a lifetime of digital files, such as treasured family photos and videos. Those kinds of things can never be replaced. For a few bucks a month, that is worth the peace of mind a backup product can provide.

 

About Matthew Breen

Based in Colorado, but from Madison, Wisconsin, Matt likes to blog about travel, auto, gadgets, food and entrainment. Follow author Matt Breen on Google + or read his recent stories on Pursuitist.

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