One of the major trends working its way down to the consumer level is cloud computing technology. One of the most significant types of cloud computing is online storage. Services such as Dropbox have grown dramatically in the past year, and they show no sign of stopping. Even Apple has (after two previous unsuccessful tries) made forays into this technology with iCloud.
A basic principle of online storage is this idea that your data can be accessed not only from any location that has an Internet connection, but also from any device. It’s one thing to be able to access your documents from your home PC and your work PC, but it’s quite another to be able to access them from those locations plus your smartphone or tablet.
Saying “goodbye” to the desktop
Online storage means we’re becoming less reliant on our desktops to keep track of our important data. For example, storing those precious family photos on your hard drive puts them at risk of loss, and requires you to have some sort of formal backup plan if you want them to survive a hard drive crash.
By storing files online, you trade the insecurity of local storage for all sorts of flexibility. Online storage and other cloud computing technologies decentralize your computing tasks, and free you from the desktop.
Online storage and the value add
Some providers are taking this idea to a whole new level. In addition to offering space on a cloud server somewhere for you to store your data, some providers are offering added functionality such as:
- Change management capabilities. This is especially useful in collaborative group environments. With the right service, a team member can review document changes as soon as they’re made, from wherever she might be. All she needs is an Internet connection and a device to use that connection.
- Project management functionality. Some providers are offering project management features. This is particularly useful in an environment when you have remote staff at a job site. Someone in the home office makes a change to a file, and the field staff simply refresh the document from their tablet and implement those changes.
- Advanced security. One of the biggest concerns for cloud computing in general and online storage in particular has been security. Some companies, for example, need to meet certain compliance requirements. This is one area in which the mobile device aspect could get sticky; data is secure on the online storage providers’ servers, but there needs to be a certain level of client-side security, as well.
Part of the bigger picture
Online storage is just the latest advancement in cloud computing to reach the consumer level. Arguably, web-based email and social media have helped to pave the way. As these technologies can also be accessed via mobile devices, there are becoming fewer and fewer areas in which a desktop is truly required.
How this all plays out over the next decade or so will be interesting. One thing is sure: online storage and cloud computing are here to stay, and they’re going to have a huge impact on how we create, access, and use our data.
Author Bio:- Eric Greenwood is a technophile who is interested in all things related to the cloud-computing movement from software as a service to online storage. Get more tips and advice on the blog Online Storage!