Cloud computing has pros and cons - mostly pros
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Saturday, June 16, 2012
6/16/12 at 4:31 AM
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a broad term that covers any type of computing or storage service that's delivered to users from remote servers. This type of service has technically been in place for years, with online email services being one common example.
As technology has advanced, more and more types of services can now be provided from the cloud, such as file storage and the ability to run entire programs without having them installed on your computer. This article is focusing on emerging cloud storage services. Some typical questions:
Why would I want to use cloud storage?
Convenience. Moving files to the cloud can allow you to easily transfer files between PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices, as well as share files with other people.
It's also a good way to have backup copies of your most important data - even the most reliable hard drives can unexpectedly crash and wipe out everything you have stored.
Is cloud storage safe?
So far, yes. Services typically encrypt the data, and you can choose which files to share and which you'd rather keep private. Additionally, modern hackers are more likely to try to find ways to steal money than to mess with photos of your children.
What are my choices for cloud storage?
There are a lot of different services out there, but here are four of the biggest ones. For all of these, getting your data online is typically as easy as creating login information and moving your files.
The newest of the cloud solutions, Google Drive is yet another of the Internet giant's online services.
Storage/price: 5GB free, each additional 20GB is $5 per year.
Pros: Can be accessed through a Web browser. Google Docs is now a part of Drive, allowing you or multiple simultaneous users to edit documents. Files can be shared via email or Web links. It can be linked to Microsoft Office through a plug-in.
Cons: So far, Android devices are the only smartphones and tablets that can access it. Documents have to be converted to the Docs format to be edited online.
Apple's offering comes automatically with Apple computers, tablets and phones, and can be accessed via the PC version of iTunes.
Storage/price: 5GB free, can add 10, 20 or 50GB for $20, $40 or $100 per year, respectively.
Pros: Automatically backs up everything associated with Apple services, from music and photos to messages, calendar items and phone data. Can be used to back up entire iOS devices. Some data purchased from Apple's stores don't count against the storage limit.
Cons: No file sharing with others. Only backs up data directly associated with Apple apps and services. Other than iTunes for the PC, data is not available for non-Apple devices, and ownership of an Apple product is required to use the service.
Microsoft actually unveiled this back in 2007, and has been quietly expanding it ever since.
Storage/price: 7GB free, can add 20, 50 or 100GB for $10, $25 or $50 per year, respectively.
Pros: Another service based on the Web for PCs. Documents can be edited via the browser, and linked files that are changed on a local version of Microsoft Office are automatically updated online. Files can be shared via email or Web links.
Cons: Though Skydrive can be accessed through an iOS app, there's no official Android app yet. However, various third parties have made their own Skydrive Android apps.
One of the oldest independent cloud services, Dropbox has a strong and dedicated following.
Storage/price: 2GB free, can add 50GB for $9.99 per month or $99 per year, or 100GB for $19.99 per month or $199 per year.
Pros: Available almost everywhere. Photos are uploaded automatically from desktop or Android devices, and Dropbox is giving an incentive of up to 3GB additional storage for free by doing so. Can also earn extra storage via referrals.
Cons: PC users must download a program to access it. No ability to edit files online. No mid-range pricing for additional storage.
Original Print Headline: What is cloud computing? Storage in the sky
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447