Sunday, January 1, 2012

Backing Up Your Data in the Cloud

All of us know how important it is to backup the data that is on your computer.  I found that the hard way myself when a hard drive in one of my laptops crashed a few years ago.  I didn't have any personal data on that laptop, so it could have been a worse disaster.  Now I backup up the data on my laptop onto an external hard drive which is attached to my laptop.  However, that does not mean you are fully protected when you backup your data onto an external drive..  What if you lose your external hard drive?What if it is stolen?  What if your external hard drive fills up to capacity (buy a bigger hard drive)?  What if there is a fire or something that destroys your house along with your laptop and any external hard drives?

I was reminded of these concerns when I read an article about backing up your data, the article being called "How (and Why) to Backup Your Data" by Eddie Ringle (click here to read the article).  These days there is an alternate way to backing up your data.  You can backup your data to the "cloud".  The cloud really is referring to servers located who knows where, certainly not in your house, but servers that your data is stored on.  Several companies offer storing your data in their version of the cloud, three companies being Amazon, Google, and Apple.  For a few weeks now I have been storing my music in the cloud via Google Music.  Now I can access my music from my mobile phone wherever I go, and I don't have to worry about running out of storage space for my music on my phone. My music is in the cloud.

Google's version of the cloud is called Google Docs.  One part of that is called Google Cloud Connect.  With this, you can store all your Microsoft Office documents, those being Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the like, in Google Docs.  This takes a little time to do as I am storing them by syncing them one document at a time (I don't know if there is a faster way to do this).  For those documents that are now in the cloud, it takes a little longer to access them and a little longer to save them.  Perhaps if I had a faster WiFi connection, I would have faster access to my data in the cloud.  So far this cloud service is free.  The only real concern I see about storing data in the cloud is the case either my internet connection goes down or the cloud goes down.  I have not had such a problem in the short time I have had any of my data in the cloud, but there is a chance of such a problem occurring.  If companies that offer cloud services cannot provide reliable access to the data in the cloud,  storing data in the cloud will not be a good alternative for backing up your data.

Addendum - After I wrote this posting, I signed up to backup all my documents, pictures, financial data, and the like to Apple's iDrive.  It took over two days to upload my data to the iDrive, but the reason for that is largely due to my slower router (the slower g router versus the faster n router) and my DSL internet connection.  I have taken a big step to protect my data.  I hope the cloud does not let me down.

1 comment:

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Since my life's work and a lot of play are on the computer, I back up pretty fastidiously on my external hard drive. I also have a thumb drive for important documents in progress (right now, my novel in the works) and various places online where I've uploaded pictures. I've even copied pictures to CDs and placed them in a fireproof box. Now that you're reminding me, it's time to do that again with more recent photos. I might try the cloud since it's free. Thanks for the heads up, Brad!

Incidentally, I love this image: "data in the cloud." How very poetic!