What is online storage?
Online storage systems, or “cloud” services as they’re also known, alllow you to store digital media online by uploading it through your computer or mobile device. Though transferred and accessible at any time via the web, the data is actually physically held on mammoth servers owned by whoever provides the partcular service you use (Google, Microsoft etc).
Are they safe?
The biggest issue with using cloud storage is data security, as you are relying on the service to keep your files and documents secure. If your account is hacked, your files are immediately available.
Cloud storage companies typically use encryption to keep your information safe and two-step verification to ensure the right person has access to the account.
Encryption scrambles your data so that anyone unauthorised is unable to use it. The strength of the encryption is at three levels, starting at 128-bit, rising to 192-bit and with 256-bit as the most secure. Two-step verification involves sending you a message and asking you to respond when you login or amend your account to check you have the authority to do so.
How much do you need?
The level of storage you’ll need depends on what you’ll be using it for. If you typically only back-up documents and emails, then 5GB will be plenty for most. If you want to back-up photos, music or videos then you’ll probably need more.
It’s impossible to estimate exactly how many files you can store in a set allowance, since it very much depends on the resolution of your photos/videos and quality of your music files.
As a general rule of thumb, 10GB should allow for about 4,000 photos, 12.5 hours of HD video OR 2,500 songs
There are a whole load of online storage services available, with many offering up to 15GB of free space. They’re largely similar in what they do, although a few have special functions. There’s no limit to the number you can use – sign up for them all and you can grab tens of GB for nowt.
Microsoft One Drive
Three Dropbox Competitors for Secure Storage
Uploading Files to Google Drive