Tag: cloud storage

You’re probably had enough of hearing about big data and its relevance to your business. It’s 2017, if you’re not collecting AND analyzing big data, you’re getting left behind. No, the conversation is no longer about whether or not you should be investing in big data analysis, it’s how.

Let’s talk data storage. The biggest quandary with big data handling is storage. It’s possible that you could be dealing with petabytes of information over the next few years, and at that scale, investment in the right kind of storage is a must. The major battle being fought is between investing in your own servers (on-premise, private cloud,) or ‘renting’ cloud storage space (public cloud.)

Big data cloud

To make it crystal clear, here’s a brief for you: Cloud storage is data storage that’s still on servers. The difference is that it’s remote, meaning it’s accessed via the internet, not internally, and you don’t actually have a physical server to store your data. Other than that, it’s the same old storage you’re used to.

So just how is this simple difference an advantage? Here are the top five reasons to go cloud with your big data storage.

1. Storage Space

Imagine you invest in your own servers, you get a location, get a company in to fit it, hire people to maintain it – what happens when you’ve filled your servers? Easy, you have to get more. With the cloud you don’t get that because let’s just say that it’s someone’s else’s problem. You can reach your limit and simply upgrade to double your storage capacity.

That’s assuming you can afford to set up your own servers in the first place.

Enter cloud storage. The cloud offers an easily expandable storage space – at scale – and you only pay for the resources that you use. Meaning, you only pay more if your big data is getting, well, bigger.

2. Cost

The cost of setting up your own servers is phenomenal. It’s only a really viable option if you’re a large business that requires such a huge amount of storage that the set up cost of company servers is dwarfed by storage rental.

While renting out storage space via the cloud may seem like an exorbitant cost, when you look at how it compares to the alternative, could you afford that amount in one hit? Very doubtful. And set up is not the only cost…

3. Security

Did you know how easy it is to breach your business premise’s security? Things are no better for your cyber security, too.

How much do you pour into your cyber security right now? Imagine having to protect a thousand times more data that might be even more sensitive. There really is a never ending supply of costs that add up when running your own servers.

But again, if you use the cloud, you’re paying a company to take care of security for you. Of course you have to choose a plan that suits the level of protection needed for your data, but you’ll still be saving even if you have to pay a premium.

4. Backups

Imagine, if you will, that you are company working on the development of a new medicine, things are looking good and you’re already being clever about the way you record your findings using your biology ELN. You’ve invested in your technology and even have your own servers to store the data on. You go to look at your finding from the past few months to carry out analysis only to find your servers have crashed. Ouch.

If you’d maybe thought ahead, you’d have backed up your important data on the cloud as well as keeping it on your servers. Because even if you have the budget for your own storage, bad things can happen to good businesses.

When it comes to big data, the cloud is an invaluable asset to your business and the most realistic in terms of cost. So, look after your data and it’ll look after you.

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Of all the services currently available in the cloud, thereÕs no denying that Amazon S3 is truly a major competitor. However, as those reading this article know it’s not always the best option due to its narrow scope in effective developer and storage solutions. Fear not, as there are quite a few alternative choices to Amazon S3 available. Let’s take a look at four of the best that the Internet has to offer:
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SmartFile For Developers

Confronting Amazon S3’s inability to provide a system of file and user management is SmartFile For Developers. Going above and beyond normal file storage and management, this alternative offers many tools when it comes to creating and controlling files. This along with the same capabilities that Amazon S3 has, such as move, rename, copy, remove (delete), import, and compress, but in a more elaborate fashion.

With client SDKs hosted on GitHub, they create great room for others in the developer community to add upon
and build on. Giving access to a RESTFul API that also features SDKs on Python, Java, PHP, C#, with Ruby and Javascript to be released in the near future, SmartFile For Developers outshines Amazon S3 in many ways.

BackBlaze

Cost can be a huge factor when considering switching cloud backup products, but overall experience and quality cannot be sacrificed for this single feature. Enter BackBlaze, which boasts that it has unlimited capabilities, but is 25 times cheaper than Amazon S3, at only $5 per month.

Another exceptional aspect of BackBlaze is that it is fairly user friendly and automatically backs up all of your files upon its initial installation in the background. In the newest release of BackBlaze they have corrected the shortcomings of previous versions allowing you to now load large Vmware and 1080 home videos; along with a large selection of performance alte
rcations, which helps to decrease the strain on your system and network connection as the service runs.

When breaking down the numbers, BackBlaze undoubtedly beats Amazon S3 in cost per petabyte, so is a good option to consider if you’re running a business on a tight budget.

BitGravity

A premiere choice for over 1,000 major companies and organizations, it’s no surprise that BitGravity makes the list of alternatives. Delivering standard-based live streaming video solutions in both HD and SD all around the world, BitGravity is an excellent choice no matter where you are.

Along with an integrated CMS system that is called BG Video Director, users will experience top of the line delivery along with multiple options to make their workflow as simple as possible, custom players and playlists, help to make you money from content and a plethora of other tools at the ready. With BG Video delivery you are assured that there will be no cache misses that can
drive up the cost of overall operation. All of these factors are essential when trying to find a viable alternative to Amazon S3.

LeadPlayer

LeadPlayer is also another great alternative to Amazon S3 and allows you to put videos from video streaming websites directly onto your WordPress site. Just as most things on WordPress, it is as simple as installing a plug-in. LeadPlayer is also unique in that it optimizes the videos based on the Internet connectivity of your users or their device. Along with that great feature it is also regarded as one of best alternatives in terms of SEO and conversion.

You won’t leak traffic from often distracting buttons or links. Another huge plus is LeadPlayer’s ability to sync with Google Analytics, giving the service user a one of a kind look at their video statistics. It’s a premium choice when you want to be able to offer great content even if you aren’t exactly the most computer savvy person in the world.

Conclusion

Despite any claims that Amazon S3 makes to being the best, these alternatives come close to, and even beat Amazon on features and price. With so many options out there, you’d do well to do some homework. Some of the services we discussed focus on ease of use for the beginner, a desire to stream the best quality video no matter the location, cost without giving up quality, or even on providing features that many Amazon S3 users have been wanting.

For some, Amazon S3 may be the best thing since sliced bread. However, there are bound to be those who desperately seek the things lacking in Amazon S3 and these four options may very well be the answer.

About the Author: Simon Bareham lives and breathes the very latest technology, specifically focusing around the internet and ecommerce website development. Click here to read more of his articles.

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Business owners and managers need to make major decisions about how they will manage some of the data that is generated by their company. Many businesses out there are actually going to be collecting large quantities of data through their customer interactions soon. They may be thinking about storing the data on cloud networks, but might have reservations about how this could work. There are some considerations to keep in mind when you review some of these cloud network locations. But if you find the right service, you can put many of these concerns to rest.

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Find A Secure Cloud Network:

First, you should think about whether you can utilize a cloud storage network that puts a strong emphasis on data security. Look to set up an account that uses an encrypted network, which can prevent data loss or other security issues. This can help managers stay confident about the amount of data that they put in to their storage drives online. Think about w
hether you may want to work with an cloud network that will offer a way for all of your colleagues to access this data as well. This can promote collaboration within your business, which is likely essential to keeping things running smoothly.

You might also need to think about how you can organize the data that you upload. It can be difficult to learn to use a cloud network storage drive, but it will be worth the effort. This is because it streamlines the way that data is stored within a company and frees up space that may have been taken up by servers. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of this data once you learn to use these cloud networks. You can simply upload the data and access it again whenever you may need to. Think about the advantages that this could bring to your business in the future.

Compare The Risks And Benefits Of Cloud Storage:

Some managers might be feeling apprehensive about the different types of cloud networks out there. It can be difficult to know which ones you can trust, especially since the technology is relatively new. Think about checking out some review sites online that will discuss how these cloud networks are working for large businesses. This can give you the confidence that you need to choose a network that is right for your needs. You might want to also contact these networks and discuss their personal philosophy on how business data should be managed. They can work with you to get the best cloud storage network set up soon. This may be particularly appealing for companies that don’t have their own in house IT department, that would otherwise be able to direct this for office managers.

In all, a cloud network can offer valuable solutions for businesses that are starting to accumulate large quantities of data. New technology is always a challenge for many businesses out there, but it can be managed with the right preparation. Think about weighing the benefits that your company will get from using the cloud to store your data. You may just find that these outweigh any potential risks you may be facing.

About the Author: +Katrina uses her technical knowledge to help people. At Rack Solutions. her passion for technology and wealth of knowledge have helped many people find the right solution in their unique situation.

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storageWith large amounts of data and information being generated on a daily basis, it becomes quite a daunting task to manage these within the existing IT infrastructure. For many companies and corporation, the issue of data management is becoming a more and more pressing concern. The old method was to continuously invest in buying or installing new equipment on a regular basis. However, with the advancement of cloud computing, by companies such as Asigra, many businesses are turning to online backup as the future of data management. Asigra developed the cloud “backup, recovery and restore” options in their enterprise class software solutions with corporations and large companies in mind.

The need for such software

The need to create the sort of backup solution that Asigra developed, was primarily the need to have an integrated approach for protection of data and information. The Asigra software solution has a large range of tools and different capabilities which ensures that the data is protected securely with minimal network and storage resources, without the deployment of multiple point software solutions. This also reduces the total cost of ownership against procuring, installing and maintaining such a huge IT infrastructure for data and information backup.

Why Asigra?

The software developed by Asigra provides efficient performance and is loaded with capabilities like de-duplication, data compression, autonomic healing, validation-restore, data recover-ability and has the public, private and hybrid cloud architecture. The software works with Cisco ISR-G2 and UCS-E series and has NIST FIPS 140-2 certified security. The solution actually is integrated with the existing IT infrastructure, locates and prioritizes various files for backup. This is followed by securely transmitting the encrypted copies of such files to different off-site data centers. With this solution, the data are instantly restored whenever needed and from wherever located.

What does it do?

Asigra software, is agent-less, that is, all the machines or applications which need to be protected do not have any agents installed. Agents need an open port, posing a security risk for your firewall. It actually reaches the network for backing up the applications, file systems and operating systems with programming interfaces which are industry standards. Standard backups take time and can be arduous, particularly at the end of the day, however this is not the case with the Asigra solution. With the agent-less architecture, managing the backup is simple and easy. The solution has two components, the Clients and the System. The clients include DS-clients at customer premises for all machines, applications and systems in company LAN, separate clients for laptops desktops, Smartphones and tablets. The DS – System is an aggregator of the data being received from all the clients mentioned above and has modules which are actually integrated in the solution to include the company LAN, mobile clients and remote clients.

Other unique features

The software, asigra, is a single platform covering data loss, and offers flexibility is protecting your data and information, whether it is image based or file based on physical or virtual environment. It encompasses the servers, enterprise applications, databases, data in cloud based applications and endpoint devices like laptops, tablets, desktops, Smartphones and covering all the software and hardware platforms. As the data is transmitted only after it is encrypted at the source, that is, the company LAN, it travels over the public domain or network in a secured manner. The need for data protection is to retrieve them in case of a failure which this software provides with its autonomic healing and the validation – restore feature ensuring that the data you require is made available to you as per your requirement.

About the Author: Tech blogger Kate Parker is a huge fan of cloud computing and has taken a keen interest in the development of online backup software such as Asigra Securstore were awarded Asigra partner of the year in 2012

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The way in which we store and listen to music has changed a great deal over the years. The first advancement in modern music technology came in 1979 when the world was introduced to the Walkman. A whole generation will have no idea about the Walkman, what it did, or what it stood for. However, there was a time when the name “Walkman” was just as famous (if not more) than the name “iPod” is nowadays.

Music Storage

The way in which we store music and the capacity for storage has also changed a great deal. The audio cassettes used in Walkman’s could store up to 2-3 hours of music. CD’s then came into play and would typically store up to an hour and a half to two hours worth of music. Then as the digital age was upon us the introduction of MP3 and its digital file storage solution was the obvious next step.

iPod

The next chapter in music storage was the iPod, which over a period of 10 years saw storage levels increase from 5GB to 160GB. This invention allowed us to store enough music to play over a whole week on a tiny little device. In addition to this there were SD cards created, which allowed you to remove media data from your device. However, SD cards, like so many other music devices, can only store so much data and media as well.

Cloud Computing and Amazon Cloud Player

We are now finally in the next stage of the process – cloud computing. This works especially well in two ways, firstly, you can store your songs in the “clouds” or to put it in laymen’s terms, you can store your music to remote computers. This in turn allows you to have much more space available on your computer or your music listening device of choice.

Secondly, this type of storage gives you the ability to access your music files from the device of your choice. You can even instantly sync all your music files with all of your music devices, as this is exactly what Amazon Cloud Player allows you to do. You can immediately access and listen to songs that have been uploaded to your Amazon Cloud.

You will receive 5GB of storage completely free from Amazon, and should you wish to, you can increase the amount of storage you have by paying an additional fee. You have the option to purchase songs directly from Amazon, which will then be stored in your cloud automatically. Alternatively, simply upload songs and music files from your computer and then use your iPad or Android device’s cloud player app to listen to your songs.

Amazon Cloud Player offers you the best of both worlds – a fantastic way to stream audio and also the use of cloud computing to ensure that you have as much music as you will ever need on your favourite device. The number of features it offers has completely changed the way in which we view personal stereos and listening to music on the move.

About the Author: Today’s guest author, Philip Smith, is a sales executive at 3xL, a store for CD printing in Sydney, Australia. He enjoys cooking and listening to music in his spare time.

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The Growth of the Internet

Approximately twenty years have passed since the birth of what we now understand to be the internet. Once limited in scope and usability, it used to be simply something for the more technology savvy amongst us to shop online, check the sports results, read the news through a dedicated ISP such as CompuServe or America On Line (AOL) and not much else. AOL had a comprehensive chat room and instant messaging service that made it popular with the younger generation; it stood out as the exception rather than the rule in making the web a social platform. Soon afterward, there was a veritable explosion in internet providers that did not offer the sort of packages that those two offered; they merely gave an internet connection at a much more affordable price. Now it seems everybody is online with social media, blogs, vlogs, online shopping, sharing of homemade videos and photographs and online diaries; the applications are almost endless as we now live in an online world. It would have been unthinkable just a few short years before this boom but now, anybody can upload content to the internet, buy a domain and create personal websites.

Here’s Your Special Host

Conventionally, web hosting is done through a company that owns the server. People or businesses buy space (or are provided with some for free by their ISP) on that server and upload their website through FTP software (File Transfer Protocol) generally provided as part of the package. From here it is a relatively simple affair to build and upload your own website and it has become much easier in recent years to design a site. This is the norm and perfectly suitable for single personal websites but businesses usually require something a little extra. They might need platform support or development packages for Java or ASP.NET for example which allows the customer to upload their own scripts and customise their site. Generally, these will be stored on a single server much like the personal websites, but with much more interactivity. The drawback of a single server is quite clear – it will cause a business to lose money if a provider’s website goes down for any length of time. This also does not take into account accessibility of websites for other reasons as sometimes web pages are down for other problems when the server is otherwise functioning normally.

When a Storm Hits

Due to new technological advances, it is easier to compensate for the problems associated with a single server. We call this technology ‘Cloud’. It is a word we hear almost daily, especially for those with Smartphone’s. It seems to have arrived on the scene quickly without any great explanation for what it is or does. But it is simple in that it is about creating a server that is interconnected as it uses the web itself as a server rather than millions of nodes connecting to it. The benefit is that with Cloud connectivity, you can access your data anywhere that you have internet connection and with mobile internet on tablets or Smartphone’s, this is far easier than it used to be. It is no great surprise then that there is now a new concept in web hosting based around Cloud technology. It uses several clustered servers to provide you with access to your online content. This gives you greater security and with the redundancy of multiple systems, greater stability and options for when things go wrong. If you suddenly have a massive increase in web hits, there will be no slowdown or crash as the server is put under pressure. Cloud hosting is in its infancy admittedly but the benefits are immediate and apparent.

About the Author: Ian Appleton is a writer who believes that cloud storage is one of the best ways these days to store and access your material. He recommends researching website hosting services to understand what each offers to help you choose the one which offers you the best deal for what you need.

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cloud adoption tips

Cloud storage can be great for your business because it allows you to scale up whenever you need it and the network interface is often very flexible. At the same time, there are many things that you need to think about and prepare before your files can be moved to the cloud network.

You need to think about security and pruning your current files to ensure that you save money. You must also think about finding the right provider for your needs.

Finding the Right Provider

There are various cloud storage providers that have many different features, but you need to find the right one for your needs. Cost is obviously a major factor when choosing a provider, but there are many other things that you should consider. The first thing that you should think about is the provider’s storage capacity. If you have many files, then you will need a provider that can easily accommodate your data. You will probably have to call the provider to see how much data can be stored.

Security should be another consideration because you will be moving most or all of your files to the service provider. Make sure that all of the data is encrypted and that it’s difficult for hackers or disgruntled employees to break into your cloud server. Another thing to think about is the user interface. For example, if you aren’t very skilled at working with servers, then choosing a service provider with a complex interface would be a bad idea.

Every business has different needs. Make sure the cloud storage company caters to your business.

Prune the Network

Since you are charged for every file that you store, it’s a good idea to look through your network and remove all unnecessary files. For example, do you really need outdated order forms from 10 years ago? This is also beneficial because is will improve transfer speeds between your network and the cloud storage servers.

While it’s best to be cautious before deleting a file, the truth is that about 70 percent of businesses have a substantial number of files that they don’t need. You may not even need cloud storage if you are able to delete enough files.

Consider Security

You should obviously use a cloud service provider with adequate security, but you need to consider security again before transferring your files. For example, is it a good idea to send critical files to the service provider? If there is a problem and the files are lost or stolen, then this could seriously damage your business.

It might be best to keep a few files stored on your own network that aren’t transferred to the service provider. This ensures that you still have complete control of the files without worrying about somebody stealing the data.

Set Log Rotation Policies

A log file keeps track of everything that happens to your cloud storage space. For example, the file will record users that enter the storage space, what they add or remove and other information that is important for security purposes. You need this information to establish blame if something happens, but the problem is that log files can become very large.

If you want to quickly access your cloud storage space without any lagging, then it’s best to set a log rotation policy. This will rotate the log file so that it stays fairly small. A smaller log file ensures that the storage space loads quickly and that you don’t have to pay for storing additional data.

Create a Backup

The final thing that you should do before transferring your files to a service provider is to create a backup of all of your files. While the service provider will probably create backups, it’s still a good idea to have your own in case something happens. This ensures that you can easily recover your business’s data even if there is a catastrophic problem.

Conclusion

Moving your files to a cloud storage center will help your business function, but you need to prepare for this transition if you want things to be smooth and simple. It’s a good idea to review your data, prune unnecessary files and create a backup for yourself. These steps will ensure that transition is as easy as possible when you migrate your files to th

About the Author: Rosa Smith uses a Virtual hosting cloud servers from Profitbricks.com cloud computing solutions when working remotely on her personal blog and online for business!

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cloudlockCloud storage has to be the greatest invention since sliced bread. Well okay, perhaps not quite, but you get my drift. There are certainly a lot of useful things you can do with your cloud storage quota, and with a number of different providers all handing out cloud storage for free, it is a good idea to make the most of what’s on offer.

Popular Cloud Storage Options

  • DropBox is a good choice if you need LAN synchronisation for your files. You can set up DropBox on any computer you use. Each time you work on a file and save it to your DropBox, the file will be synced when you log in from a different computer. So work on files at work and then access the updated files from home. DropBox also works with a number of different apps, including Kindle.
  • Google Drive is great for working on collaborative documents, especially office files. Another great advantage of Google Drive is that it can open special files such as AutoCad and Photoshop files.
  • Amazon Cloud Drive is useful for storing MP3 music files. You can stream music stored in the cloud straight on to Apple and Android devices.

Great Uses for Cloud Storage

Cloud storage can be used in a multitude of different ways depending on your personal requirements. And it doesn’t always need to be personal. There are also plenty of ways cloud storage can be useful if you are running a small business.

  • Syncing content – Prior to cloud storage, the only way to transfer files between home and work was to email them to your account or drag them on to a CD or thumb drive. Both methods worked fine, although it could be pretty catastrophic if you lost the thumb drive, but cloud storage now offers a number of advantages. Instead of wondering which file is the most up to date, by working on files in the cloud, the content is synchronised automatically, so you always have the most up-to-date version of the file.
  • Sharing files – there are always occasions when you need to share files with other people. Perhaps you want to share photos with friends and family, or you need a relative to read your CV before you apply for a job. Cloud storage is the ideal venue for sharing files. Simply share a folder and drag and drop the file in there.
  • General backup – making regular backups of your computer hard drive, files and important documents is good practice. Unfortunately, not all of us remember to make regular backups, so when something goes wrong and a computer or hard drive fails, we face losing our precious photos and files. Backing up into the cloud is a much safer option. Your data is protected and even if you spill a bottle of red wine all over your laptop, your photos, music and videos are completely safe.
  • Collaborate on Office documents – working on collaborative documents is common in the work environment and uploading documents to the cloud makes it a lot easier. You can also share project files with those who might not have the software to view them elsewhere, which is helpful in any number of businesses, from property investment consultants to quantity surveyors.

About the Author: Bruce White is an online businessman and provides hospitality supplies online. A tech enthusiast, he feels that cloud computing has changed the scenario for small businesses in terms of storage costs and other aspects. An avid blogger, he expresses his views on the latest tech issues on his blog.
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wordpress cloudWordPress itself may be a lean and mean piece of software but sadly it’s memory requirements can quickly swell as you add themes and plugins not to mention blog posts, images and – worst of all – videos to your hosting account. As a result it’s not uncommon for you to find that your beloved WordPress site becomes sluggish over time – something that not only offers a poor experience for your valued visitors but can even be used as a ranking factor by Google.

This issue can be made more extreme by increasing traffic volumes as your database and hosting account struggle to serve all the files that are being requested. In extreme circumstances – such as a site that receives a sudden influx of traffic having been mentioned in the mainstream media or on popular social media sites – you can even find your site grinding to a halt altogether and crashing.

Clearly, whatever the level of severity this isn’t an ideal situation however thanks to wonders of cloud storage it’s possible to take the pressure off your own server and instead create a faster and far more scalable way for your visitors to access your website.

Using Cloud Storage Instead Of A CDN

So-called “content delivery networks” aim to host your WordPress website in multiple locations around the globe. The reason why this works so well is that each individual server is placed under less pressure and so is able to serve your website files faster.

Additionally as these files need to travel a shorter distance (so a visitor from London will access files from the UK rather than the US) they will load noticably faster and provide a better user experience. However, they’re not cheap and can require a fair amount of setup and maintenance.

Smaller sites however can leverage cloud storage to achieve a similar result at a far lower cost. Two popular cloud storage alternatives for this purpose are Dropbox and Amazon’s own Simple Storage Solution (or S3 for short).

By placing large media files such as your WordPress theme, your images and even your video and podcast content onto a cloud storage account you’ll find that your own web hosting account needs to work less hard. Furthermore these dedicated cloud storage solutions are designed to rapidly serve these files – irrespective of the number of requests they may receive.

In short they’re specifically designed for these purposes where a low-cost web host like Hostgator or Bluehost may struggle to keep up with your visitors requests.

Another benefit of using a cloud storage account to serve your WordPress site’s media is that the set-up is now simpler than ever thanks to a number of free WordPress plugins currently on the market.

Two popular options that I have tested with good results include Amazon S3 For WordPress and Amazon S3 And Cloudfront.

Simply set up your cloud storage account, install one of these plugins and set it running so that your media files are hosted and served from elsewhere and your WordPress site runs significantly faster as a result.

Backing Up WordPress To The Cloud

One final factor worthy of consideration when it comes to integrating your WordPress site with a reliable online storage provider is that they can also be used to effortlessly back up your site incase of problems.

Personally speaking I have suffered a number of issues over the last few years – from web hosting accounts dying, to my sites getting hacked, to experimental WordPress plugins rendering my sites unreachable. In every case, having a secure backup of my sites has been worth it’s weight in gold and has enabled me to get back online in record time – and without any technical know-how on my part.

Many of the more popular options can be scheduled to make daily backups of your site so that no more effort is required on your part, freeing you up to focus on creating memorable content and promoting your site rather than protecting it from disaster.

Again, a range of plugins are available to assist you in backing up your site ranging from high-end, expensive solutions down to free solutions. I have always used a free plugin called Automatic WordPress Backup and having tested it in the field in real “make or break” situations it’s an option I would highly recommend to you.

About the Author: Peter Morrison is an author and educator living on the south coast on England. You can read more of his technology rants over at his new blog by clicking here.

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There are a lot of reasons people have turned to online storage. While the reasons vary, there are a handful of benefits which are consistently noted as the most popular. These benefits are a driving force behind why more people are turning to online storage than ever before.

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What are the benefits of cloud storage? Image by jscreationsz

Cost

Compared to traditional external data storage options, online storage is often the most cost effective. Even when free trials and free accounts are excluded, the monthly fees are often lower than the costs associated with purchasing an external hard drive, let alone replacing it when it fails. This is especially true when maintenance, advantage, and time are factored in to the equation.

Space Savings

Another benefit of online storage is space savings. Online storage helps save space in two ways. First, it reduces the amount of data which must be stored on the user’s primary device. This helps speed up PCs and mobile devices alike. Online storage also saves physical space because the data is stored outside the home. It eliminates the need to create additional space to store external hard drives or additional devices.

Security

Online storage also provides heightened security to protect sensitive data. External hard drives and backup systems are prone to damage and theft. On the other hand, online storage allows users to save information and data in highly secure and redundant data centers across the country.

Automation

Unlike traditional storage mechanisms, online storage provides a variety of automation techniques. Not only does this simplify the storage experience, but it makes backing up data easy and safe. A common complaint about using an external hard drive is people forget about it because they must manually copy data from one location to another.

Accessibility

Another benefit of online storage is accessibility. Online storage gives users the ability to access their stored data from any device with an Internet connection. When using traditional backup solutions, the user must have the external hard drive or USB on hand in order to access the stored data.

Syncing

Online storage is the only storage option which allows users to sync data across multiple devices. Other data backup solutions do not offer this functionality.

Secure Sharing

It is also the best technology for sharing secure data. If an external hard drive is used, the user must hand it to whoever they want to share it with. This significantly increases the odds the external hard drive becomes damaged or lost. With online storage, users simply need to send a link to anyone they want to share the data with.

Recovery

The final reason online storage is growing increasingly popular is because of the recovery process. Users simply need to login to their account and quickly transfer everything to their primary device. Plus, providers often include easy-to-use software which automates the recovery process.

While there is a variety of ways users can store or backup data online storage provides numerous benefits of the alternatives can’t match. Many of these benefits are tied to saving time, saving money, and convenience.

About the Author: Peter Moore writes article about useful online tools and services. He believes everyone should consider online storage for photos, files, and documents. His articles help educate readers about the benefits of secure cloud storage services.

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hybrid cloudCloud storage is among the most widely used data storage and management tool around. There’s no denying the flexibility and agility offered by today’s online storage providers. However, some challenges have arisen – to be clear, these have long been predicted by IT analysts for a few years now – that have prevented the full-scale adoption of cloud-based storage technology. In recent months, these concerns over security and stability have been rehashed again and again. The truth is that today’s companies need to be looking at multiple platforms and ways of managing storage and data in the cloud. Actually, the majority of today’s analysts agree that a hybrid approach to cloud storage is the best way to usher in this new era of data management.

More About Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions

So what is hybrid cloud storage, exactly? It’s very similar to hybrid cloud computing systems. In a nutshell, hybrid cloud storage is the process of using both cloud-based and local, on-site storage to manage complex data sets. Essentially, with hybrid cloud storage solutions, companies have the best of both worlds. They have the flexibility of cloud-based storage solutions and the security and stability of a closed, local storage environment housed on local dedicated servers.

Four Reasons to Use Hybrid Cloud Storage Systems

1. Security
When it comes to cloud storage, security is one of the most pressing concerns for businesses and analysts alike. In the world of hybrid cloud storage, security means having secure data transfer protocols in place. In the hybrid cloud environment, businesses are able to ensure increased security on data transfers to and from the cloud storage environment.

2. Reliability/Increased Stability
Another key asset of hybrid-based cloud storage systems is reliability. Users need to rest assured that when they snag files stored in the cloud that those files will be intact.

3. Flexibility
The beauty of the open cloud has a lot to do with flexibility. The great thing about implementing a hybrid cloud storage environment is that your business is not tied down to a single platform. Through hybrid storage platforms – some that are even powered by Rackspace and their RackConnect hosting platform – you can have the flexibility of the open cloud and the power of a dedicated local server.

4. Performance
One of the biggest problems with cloud storage is performance. This often comes in the form of latency with data transfers. For the uninitiated, latency refers to the amount of time it takes between the initial user’s request for data, and the time the data is actually transferred. This delay – depending on how long it is – can cause major lags in performance. With hybrid cloud storage systems, these latency issues can be all but eliminated within your storage environment. In fact, latency times can be reduced to 10 milliseconds or less.

It’s not a big revelation that cloud storage is here to stay. But cloud-based storage has a long way to go in the storage, performance and security department. This is why hybrid storage options are so important to companies that are looking to maintain data in the cloud over a long period of a time.

About the author: Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Midwest, and she enjoys following the business tech world. After furthering her education, she has spent some time researching her interests and blogging of her discoveries often. Follow her on Twitter! @DawnAltnam

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cloud storageCloud storage originally was reported as one of the greatest innovations of the computer age and great excitement ensued. Eventually, this enthusiasm simmered down and a few high profile cases of security breaches within “the cloud” for major corporations had many people thinking about whether or not the cloud was a safe option. The fears appeared to be calmed, for the most part, but recent comments by Steve “Woz” Wozniack, the co-founder of Apple, has brought up new questions about the security and safety of moving data onto the cloud.

So, what is the biggest concern most people have?

Well, “Woz”, summed it up best. The second you move your data off of a server and onto the cloud it appears gone forever. There is no way to ensure you will have that data tomorrow as you are relying entirely on a service provider to house, keep safe and protect it. The lack of “ownership” brings about a potential breach of security that we, as a computing world, have yet to see. The data being transferred into the cloud is valuable information to everyone from identity thieves to marketers. Frankly, the material being placed on the cloud, is a gold mine and people will stop at nothing to get it.

Terms of Service Agreements raise questions

The lengthy terms of service agreements electronically signed by individuals before the cloud can be accessed is another major concern that is proving hard to quell. Users essentially sign their information away the second they take up with a cloud. The user agreements and terms of services is a lengthy document, or series of documents, that strips the user of many of his or her rights and holds the cloud provider responsible for very little. This lack of protection is proving to be the most difficult to deal with as there is very little regulation surrounding the industry.

Consider utilizing multiple locations

While the concerns are very real there are ways to use the cloud safely. Those who are looking to lighten their servers might be best served by transporting some, not all, but some data to the cloud. While the most sensitive data is best kept on a server the cloud can be used for less sensitive information. This option is the best of both worlds, in theory however, not everyone enjoys the notion of having data stored in multiple locations. Sensitive data can, in fact, be stored safely in the cloud.

Encrypting data provides securest option

If the goal is to move everything onto the cloud it has long been suggested that users encrypt their data before uploading it into the ether that is the cloud. Encrypting the data will make it difficult for any rouge hacker to make any sense of the information that exists there. This is one of the best possible safeguards that can be taken. Additionally it is suggested that passwords not associated with any other information are used for cloud providers. This helps safeguard accounts from being accessed by hackers who have received data from other accounts belong to the user.

While cloud storage is still in its infancy there are massive strides being made each day to better the process. Although not everyone is yet on board with the power that is the cloud there are ways to keep things safe and protected while companies iron out the final details. All it takes is a bit of time, common sense, and the extra step of encrypting data. Happy storing!

About the Author: Georgina Clatworthy is a freelance writer who regularly posts about technology, business and communications. She contributes this post on behalf of ScaleMatrix, a private cloud provider who pride themselves on offering a secure, flexible and reliable cloud hosting solution.

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