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What is Online Data Storage?

By Dan Blacharski
Updated May 16, 2024
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Online data storage serves four main purposes. It serves as an additional flexible source of data storage, it provides a backup mechanism, and it functions as an easy way to share data with others.

Although physical, local storage is inexpensive, online data storage is easy to expand. When you reach capacity, simply purchase additional space. Without this convenience, it would be necessary to purchase and install additional storage hardware.

Data storage on the Internet is a convenient sharing mechanism for individuals and businesses alike. You may use it for something as simple as sharing electronic vacation photos with family members, or if you are a small business, you can provide password-protected access to business files to partners or customers.

Online data storage also allows the user to access data from any location that has internet access. With the availability of internet cafes worldwide, you can access your data from almost anywhere.

One of the greatest advantages however, is backup. Unfortunately, conducting regular backups is one of those things everybody recommends, but few people actually do. And when a backup is done, more often than not, the backup data is stored in the same place as the computer. In the event of a disaster, both the computer and the backup could easily be lost.

Internet data storage services should be secure, and password-protected. Some prefer to add an extra measure of security by providing users with a password token, which generates a password that is used only once and then discarded. It is typically very easy to use, and provides an easy, web-based interface from which to work. And of course, it can be accessed from any computer in the world, so long as you are able to authenticate into the system.

An online data storage vendor typically has a fully managed and secure solution with 24x7 support and monitoring. The facility itself should have its own redundant backup.

There are different levels of online data storage. For non-sensitive data, basic storage and access is adequate. If sensitive data is being stored, additional security may be required, such as encryption, or two-factor authentication. Even though data is being transmitted across the internet, strong encryption technologies will make sure the data stays private.

For organizations engaged in heavy data processing, live offsite data storage will provide real-time backup. In this strategy, transactions are posted simultaneously to your main computers, and to the backup site.

In the event of lost files, recovery is easy, usually requiring only a few mouse clicks. In the event a large number of files have been lost, the data storage operator will usually provide the option of shipping the data on a CD to the customer.

Disaster planning experts recognize the need for offsite backup as part of the disaster plan. Disasters such as fire and flood, or cyberattack, can be disastrous to a corporation of any size if there is no redundancy strategy in place.

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Discussion Comments
By JavaGhoul — On Dec 04, 2010

In this age of increased hacker threats, I find it dangerous to rely on Online Data Storage. Despite the relative security of https and other encrypted systems, aren't people learning to find a way around those more and more as time goes on? It seems to me that the internet has become a great big pool of sensitive data. In the future, I think it will be helpful to store data on a disk or an external hard drive and lock it away in a safe somewhere only I and a select few relations know about.

By BostonIrish — On Dec 01, 2010

Many people I know have purchased external hard drives to backup data on their computers in case of emergency. These are quite helpful for keeping personal data secure.

By Ubiquitous — On Nov 23, 2010

As a photographer I use online data storage as a means for safe and secure online backup of my most critical files. The biggest problem with this type of storage option is that unless you have an insanely fast upload connection to the service, it can take a very, very long time to actually upload all of your data. Luckily my business is not too crazy busy or I think I could actually back up the upload process so far that it would eventually not be able to get all the data up.

I know that there are options to be able to get your massive amounts of data to a storage facility. Some of these include the sending of CDs or DVDs of the data and some services even offer a hard drive that you can use and then send back to them full with your information that they will load into their system and make available to you online.

This is probably one of the better options as if you have a high level of photographic clients then you will need to explore this option. In the end, it is very much with the time, effort and cost to develop an online backup solution as it can make or break your business in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

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