How Does Cloud Storage Work? | Hacker Noon

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Francesca M. Nichols Hacker Noon profile picture

@kannyFrancesca M. Nichols

Best Tech Writer Award Winner

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is the technology that allows users and companies to store, maintain and access data on highly available servers via the internet. Generally, it’s presented as a service, with it any computer or mobile device can send or access information via the internet. Companies specializing in cloud services generally offer free plans, however limiting storage capacity and the number of concurrent users per account. These plans usually start to be charged if the user exceeds the space offered and/or is interested in more space than the free plan or some type of additional service. 

Companies that provide this type of service have data centers with several servers and storage systems to serve thousands of users simultaneously. Despite these apparent benefits, moving data to cloud services is not always the best solution for everyone as it generates new monthly costs, is not always the best technical solution to our problems, and raises important issues for discussion such as security and privacy. Thus, companies and users have increasingly implemented storage solutions such as NAS working as cloud storage, thus creating private storage clouds.

How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google have data centers with thousands of servers and storage that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year (24×7). These equipment are known for their high availability, that is, the ability to work uninterruptedly without presenting technical problems that cause data loss.

In addition, some data centers have sophisticated plans for data recovery, including keeping duplicate information at different physical addresses to prevent natural disasters or failures. Cloud also gives you Cloud Data Migration by which you can transfer data online from one cloud to other.

Thus, well-known services such as Google Drive, One Drive, iCloud, and Box are just some of the cloud storage service options that vie for the attention of consumers and businesses around the world. Depending on the plan and contracted company, when a user or company sends some file to a cloud.

How Does Private Cloud Storage Work?

Many companies and end-users have chosen to build their private clouds by purchasing NAS storage. Small storage can securely make their data available to their users through protections such as data encryption, firewall, anti-virus, and access through login and password authentication.

Another important point is that cloud solutions like enterprise backup can be problematic when required. Companies that need to access backed-up databases usually don’t have time for time-consuming downloads.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Cloud Storage

Using cloud storage technology brings a number of benefits, not only for personal use, but also in the professional field as well. After all, you can store your files, academic papers, photos, videos, and entire projects on a web server without having to worry about the space on your computer or mobile device. The problem is that less informed users are not aware of the difficulties that this system also presents. We list some advantages and disadvantages about the subject so that each user can draw their conclusions:

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Cloud gives you reduced costs and fewer devices. Storing files on external hard drives is not secure. In the cloud, everything is stored in a data center equipped with several servers and storage. For users who need their data around and access data via the internet, the new personal cloud storages are more reliable and do the job. For users who don’t want to spend money buying new electronics to store files, some cloud services are free. The result is less expense, fewer devices and more space received, often without paying anything for it.

Mobility: Using a cloud storage service to keep your data will give you more mobility for everyday tasks. In this mode, it is possible to access files from anywhere through an internet connection, including using a cell phone. The problem is that a stable internet connection in Brazil usually also means a high cost, even if this type of service is not always available for all regions of the country. Cloud has greater performance in collaborative projects. Keeping data in the cloud can also improve workgroup collaboration by enabling different users from different locations to access the same files. Cloud-based projects can be run by different users without the slightest need to leave home to work, as everything is done over the internet.

Scalability: The advantage of “pay as you go” is that supplier companies are always ready to charge more. Large cloud service providers often entice customers with offers to provide free upfront services and overtime charge them on a per-user basis. The good part is that basic hires can always be updated without any restriction on the amount of data that will be processed or the number of simultaneous users accessing the system.

Most of these data centers sell services that can be scalable (upgraded) for capacity, processing, security, and everything else the user can imagine.

Resource customization: While basic cloud storage services are free, custom plans for some types of users and businesses can be very expensive. More space, processing, and unforeseen features not foreseen in the project can make them unfeasible, so verifying whether the service package will support the demands is a basic need. In these cases, building a private cloud using the company’s infrastructure and proprietary equipment can provide more flexibility, ease of deployment, and still cost less.

Simplified installation: Some apps to manage storage services require some kind of installation on the user’s device to function. The good news is that newer devices are “born” ready for cloud storage, eliminating complicated configurations. Most computers and cell phones already have browsers that can access spreadsheets, text editors, calendars, image editors, and multimedia without an additional installation.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage doesn’t eliminate the need to keep corporate data on a local storage system. Whether migrating data from just a small business server or from a home computer, keeping our information in third-party environments can always be disruptive.

Apart from technical aspects such as time for data recovery in case of disaster, security, availability of services, transmission bands, several other points must be previously analyzed before the decision to migrate data or the backup system to the cloud, such as legal and of privacy.

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