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Gone are the days of printing reams of paper documents or keeping dog-eared photo albums. While some documents will inevitably need to be printed, you can save much time and effort – and protect the environment – by using online cloud storage.

Storing your documents online can be extremely beneficial as not only will it save you precious space, but it will also help you to save money on consumables such as paper and printer ink. Read on to find out what online cloud storage is, and which type of storage space online is best for you.




 

What is online cloud storage?

Cloud storage is a simple and efficient way of backing up personal or business files online without copying the data to a disc or USB drive. It’s also a convenient way for users to share and host data on the internet, all the while remaining assured that their important documents, photos and data are safe online.

By using online storage as opposed to local storage (e.g. a hard drive), you can access your files from anywhere in the world, and on any device – all you need is an internet connection.


What types of online storage are there?

There are three main types of online cloud storage; private, public and hybrid:


1. Private cloud storage

Private cloud storage is space which is dedicated for the use of only a single person or organisation. It can be tailored to your specific needs, and offers a high level of security whilst still providing the benefits of using the cloud, such as redundancy and scalability.


This type of online storage can be hosted either at your premises or externally in a colocation environment, and is usually suited to businesses where total administrative control is a must, or circumstances require that the system be tailored to suit your specific business needs.




 

2. Public Cloud Storage

Public cloud storage follows the standard software/application as a service model, with the storage infrastructure being totally remote from the point of use. The security of the solution depends heavily on the processes and policies of the provider, and there is a marginally higher risk that if the platform as a whole is compromised, that your data may also be compromised – this differs from private cloud, where the security of the platform is not necessarily linked to anyone outside your organisation. This level of service is usually offered on a pay as you use type of model, and can be even offered for free in some cases.


3. Hybrid Cloud Storage

Hybrid cloud storage is exactly as you would expect – a mixture of on and off-site storage. This setup allows users to maintain a local copy of their data and work with it in the same manner as other local files, whilst benefitting from the backup/redundancy/sharing features of other cloud storage solutions.




 

Choosing the right storage solution

There are many considerations to factor in when deciding upon a cloud storage solution for yourself or your organisation. Your requirements will help to guide you towards free or paid offerings, and to decide between a public, private or hybrid solution.


Think about what problems you expect a cloud storage solution to solve, or what features you hope to benefit from.

If your budget is limited, you’ll probably want to opt for one of the free solutions. A number are available on the market, but you should look into which provider offers the most storage with a free account, and whether there are any restrictions which might hinder your use, such as limiting the number of connected devices, or the types of device you can connect to your account.


However, many free providers offer a relatively limited amount of storage – this may be sufficient for personal use, but is likely to fill up quickly in a commercial environment, in which case a paid for solution will be more suited to your needs.

If the most important feature of online cloud storage for you is for other individuals to be able to access and edit your documents, solutions that offer comprehensive sharing and collaboration tools will be crucial.


Hopefully this post will help you to decide which online cloud storage is right for you, and which will help you to store and protect your data. Once your data is protected, if you’re looking for a way to safeguard your devices, take a look at our insurance pages to find a plan to suit your needs.


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