What is cloud storage and do I need it?

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What is cloud storage and do I need it?

The cloud is all around us and powers most of our internet related services. One of the best tools the cloud has given us is cloud storage, and if you've always had questions about how it works and what you should use, read on for our guide.

Files to and from the Cloud

The basics

Think of cloud storage like a safety deposit box in a bank. It's secure, stored outside your home and can be used to store anything you’d like. The only difference with cloud storage is that you are storing virtual data instead of physical items and instead of only having access to it at your local bank branch, you can access the information wherever you are, whenever you want, as long as you have an Internet connection.

With cloud storage you can:

1. Share large files: You can send your entire vacation holiday video to family and friends with a simple link. Most times, you just need to drag and drop your file into your cloud storage and share a simple link.

2. Back up data: Companies that provide cloud storage solutions run hundreds and thousands of servers. That means the data you save in the cloud is backed up multiple times and will virtually never be lost. What's more, since these backups are "offsite" your data will never be lost even if your computer is stolen or your home becomes inaccessible.

3. Access your data anytime, anywhere: All major cloud storage providers have apps across the web, desktop operating systems (Windows, OSX, Linux) and smartphones (Android, iOS, Windows Phone). This means you can access your data whenever you want, on whichever device you like.

The providers

So how do you get set up? The most reputable and biggest cloud storage providers are brands you have already heard of: Microsoft, Google, Dropbox. Each of these providers offers a free tier and provides all the benefits that we highlighted above.

Microsoft's solution is called OneDrive and will give you 5GB of storage for free. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you already pay for OneDrive and will have 1TB of storage available to you.

Google's solution is called Google Drive. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage with options to upgrade to higher storage very economically. Somewhere between $2 - $10 a month.

Last but not least, Dropbox. Dropbox is the original cloud storage provider and over the years evolved into one of the best and most robust providers. You can get 2Gb of storage for free and pay $10 a month for 1TB of space.

Things to keep in mind

To move a file into one of these cloud storage services, you are uploading a file onto the Internet; which is the opposite of downloading files. In the same way that downloading counts towards your monthly usage cap, depending on your Internet service provider, uploading may also count towards usage. So if you plan on moving a lot of data onto your cloud storage, keep your usage in mind.

At Start.ca, we are always looking to provide our customers with the best, worry-free experience. That's why all of our service plans never count uploading against your usage, so you can use your cloud storage solution of choice as much as you like!

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