Do You use Cloud Storage Like iCloud?

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Today, almost everyone uses one form of cloud storage or another. The most popular are DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud among others. But do you really understand what cloud storage is?

The article “A View to the Cloud” published in IEEE Spectrum gives a good technical overview. As we all generate more and more data we want to store, the capacity of our local drives and the desire to have the content with us where ever we travel and on any device is increasingly pushing us towards more extensive use of cloud storage.

Just to drive this point the article mentioned above quotes a report from Cisco:

Cisco estimates that 1.8 ZB [that is 1.8 Zettabytes or 1.8 x 1021bytes] was stored in 2016, a volume that will quadruple to 7.2 ZB in 2021.

Just to give you some perspective the article goes on to say:

Our brains can’t really comprehend something as large as a zettabyte, but maybe this mental image will help: If each megabyte occupied the space of the period at the end of this sentence, then 1.8 ZB would cover about 460 square kilometers, or an area about eight times the size of Manhattan.

I personally use Dropbox, Google Drive, and of course Apple’s iCloud. Of course using cloud storage comes with risks:

  1. Will the provider have an outage posing an interruption in service?
  2. Will the cloud provider suddenly go out of business?
  3. Who has access to your stored data?

Certainly two rules of thumb to using cloud storage would be to:

  1. Never store the only copy of something critical in the cloud
  2. Never store sensitive data in the cloud without first encrypting it

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