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How Does Cloud Storage Work?

18 Jul 2014 | Under General | Posted by | 0 Comments

Ever since the advance of civilization toward modern times, the human race has accumulated stuff. Some people collect more stuff than others, making it necessary to buy bigger houses or rent storage space. People spend their entire lives collecting trinkets, furniture, automobiles, you name it, items large, small and in between. As we have entered the digital age, it is no wonder that we have begun to amass files as well. Just like the knick knacks and other things we collect, that digital data also requires storage space.

Until recent years, the hard drive installed in our computer systems would be sufficient to store everything we need. As those needs expanded, hardware manufacturers introduced external backup drives, which made good sense before the widespread popularity of the Internet and portable smart devices, as hardware can fail and put you in jeopardy of losing all of your data. In the past few years, however, backup drives have proven to be insufficient, especially in a business setting where data espionage is all too common. As needs for security increased, as well as the need to have offsite data storage in the event of a catastrophe, cloud storage became the best, most practical solution all the way around.

But how does cloud storage work? How do providers fulfill those needs we have to store our data in a place that not only has a lot of room, but is convenient, easy to learn and use, secure and cost effective? We will walk you through how cloud storage works, from the creation of your file, to how it is uploaded to the cloud, to how it is stored, to how it is retrieved when needed.

Technically, cloud storage can be loosely defined as any method of storing data in a centralized location that can be accessed by multiple people in multiple places. This has existed for years, and still exists, in the form of servers. In the office setting, for example, files are stored on a shared drive that each employee can access with credentials stored on a file server. Those credentials allow users of that computer access to all authorized data. It is technically a remote location because it is on a drive outside of your computer and even outside of your office, but it is still in the same building.

The cloud storage that we are referring to today has a more narrow definition while maintaining a broader range and set of applications. Data is stored in an offsite data center that houses several petabytes of files. The method of storage and access is a lot more sophisticated than accessing a shared drive. There are high level security protocols in place, as well as encryption, a sophisticated API and software applications that are designed to internally handle all file, folder and account management functions.

First, when you create a cloud storage account with a provider, you are given a set of credentials that allows you to connect securely through their website and any applications they offer. When you begin uploading your items to the cloud, the data is transferred through a VPN tunnel and then encrypted and stored on a drive connected to a server bank at a data center. Records of those items are created in a database that allows you to see lists of what you have stored without having to download anything, saving time and bandwidth from being unnecessarily used. Without valid credentials that contain the necessary encryption keys, nobody else can access your files and folders. Even if they can physically obtain the drive, the data would be encrypted and unable to be viewed.

To retrieve files, the process is somewhat reversed. you connect to the server again through the website or application, then select your files from a list and tell the server to initiate a download of the data to the device you are using to access your account. Instead of downloading the actual file, you are downloading an unencrypted copy that is identical to the original, which is still safely backed up on the cloud storage server. The file remains there until you move or delete it, or your account is terminated.

Essentially, cloud storage is very easy to manage from the user’s perspective. All that is complicated is under the hood, as there is a lot of time, effort and resources that go into ensuring that your files are stored and transferred in a safe and secure way, while maintaining a user friendly experience that won’t break your bank. All you have to do is what you would do on your own computer system for the most part, just work with your files as you need to. The provider will take care of all the rest.

If you would like to learn more about the applications in place designed to make sure that your file and folder collections are well organized and stored in a way that allows plenty of space, simply click the link below.

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