Jun 26, 2018 | posted by Conner Williams

What Is the Cloud and Why Do I Need It?

It might be time to think about backing up files to a Cloud service to ensure that you will never lose important information if you currently save everything to a local desktop or flash drive. Saving important documents to an external flash drive in addition to a local laptop or desktop computer is a good start, but it is better to have information saved to a Cloud service. If a computer malfunctions or its hard drive is damaged, or if the flash drive is lost, documents will all be safely stored in the Cloud.

“The Cloud,” as it is commonly referred, is basically just a hard drive that lives in the Internet where files, photos, and project documents can be stored. There are multiple Cloud services available depending on individual preferences and storage needs. You already have access to at least one of them if you have an email account. For example, a Gmail account gives access to Google Drive, an Outlook or Hotmail email comes with Microsoft OneDrive, and an Apple account is accompanied by the iCloud service.  All these services can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, meaning your files will be there wherever you go!

Gmail - To manage and view files, click the grid symbol in the top-right corner of the screen and choose “Drive.” It will open Google Drive and show all of your files already saved. To add files to Google Drive, drag and drop them onto the screen or click “New” in the top-left corner to upload single files or an entire folder. 

OneDrive from Outlook - Click the grid in the top-left corner. The interface will be similar to Google Drive, and you can drag and drop files onto the screen or click “Upload” to add files. OneDrive can also be accessed directly from a PC desktop or laptop computer in File Explorer on the left-hand side, allowing you to manage files directly from the computer instead of using the web. A green checkmark will appear next to files and folders when they have been successfully synced to OneDrive.

iPhone or Mac Equipment - iCloud can also be accessed online at www.iCloud.com as well as directly through a phone, desktop, or laptop computer. It features icons identical to those on an iPhone or Mac to make for easy navigation within the service.

Each of the Cloud storage services comes with a complimentary capacity amount that can be upgraded based on different pricing tiers. Consider upgrading the storage plan if you intend on storing large documents or an extensive number of files – most of them are reasonably priced at $1-3 per upgrade tier. 

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