What is Cloud StorageCloud storage means "the storage of data online in the cloud," wherein a company's data is stored in and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources that comprise a cloud.
Cloud storage can provide the benefits of greater accessibility and reliability; rapid deployment; strong protection for data backup, archival and disaster recovery purposes; and lower overall storage costs as a result of not having to purchase, manage and maintain expensive hardware. However, cloud storage does have the potential for security and compliance concerns.
There are four main types of cloud storage:
Personal Cloud Storage
Also known as mobile cloud storage, personal cloud storage is a subset of public cloud storage that applies to storing an individual's data in the cloud and providing the individual with access to the data from anywhere. It also provides data syncing and sharing capabilities across multiple devices. Apple's iCloud is an example of personal cloud storage.
Public Cloud Storage
Cloud storage where the enterprise and storage service provider are separate and there aren't any cloud resources stored in the enterprise's data center. The cloud storage provider fully manages the enterprise's public cloud storage.
Private Cloud Storage
A form of cloud storage where the enterprise and cloud storage provider are integrated in the enterprise's data center. In private cloud storage, the storage provider has infrastructure in the enterprise's data center that is typically managed by the storage provider. Private cloud storage helps resolve the potential for security and performance concerns while still offering the advantages of cloud storage.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
A combination of public and private cloud storage where some critical data resides in the enterprise's private cloud while other data is stored and accessible from a public cloud storage provider.
How Cloud Storage Works
Comedian George Carlin has a routine in which he talks about how humans seem to spend their lives accumulating "stuff." Once they've gathered enough stuff, they have to find places to store all of it. If Carlin were to update that routine today, he could make the same observation about computer information. It seems that everyone with a computer spends a lot of time acquiring data and then trying to find a way to store it.
For some computer owners, finding enough storage space to hold all the data they've acquired is a real challenge. Some people invest in larger hard drives. Others prefer external storage devices like thumb drives or compact discs. Desperate computer owners might delete entire folders worth of old files in order to make space for new information. But some are choosing to rely on a growing trend: cloud storage.
While cloud storage sounds like it has something to do with weather fronts and storm systems, it really refers to saving data to an off-site storage system maintained by a third party. Instead of storing information to your computer's hard drive or other local storage device, you save it to a remote database. The Internet provides the connection between your computer and the database.
On the surface, cloud storage has several advantages over traditional data storage. For example, if you store your data on a cloud storage system, you'll be able to get to that data from any location that has Internet access. You wouldn't need to carry around a physical storage device or use the same computer to save and retrieve your information. With the right storage system, you could even allow other people to access the data, turning a personal project into a collaborative effort.