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Should I Use Online Storage?

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With the advent of Cloud computing, more and more people are wondering if it's something they should take advantage of. If you've been faithfully using external hard drives to back up your data, you may have reached a point where you're considering something else a bit less … wired.

Online backup may be for you if:

You Travel a Lot

Rather than having to worry about carrying (and possibly losing) a hard drive with you, or being forced to copy things to a smaller USB flash drive for your trip, you can access all your files from any location and often across multiple types of devices. The downside to this is that a loss of Internet access means a loss of access to your data in a possibly crucial moment. There’s always something to be said for a hard copy.

You Want to Share Your Stuff.

Emailing photos can clog up inboxes, and many email clients have limits on the size of attachments you can send. Uploading all those cute pictures of Junior to share with Granny can be done using a photo site like Shutterfly or Kodak, and you’ll create a backup copy of your files to boot.

You Want to Back up Your Backups.

An external hard drive of your baby photos that sits next to your computer does you no good if your house is robbed and a burglar takes both. Likewise, you’ll be out of luck in the event of a house fire or a flood. (Although there are solutions for these last two problems.) Putting an extra copy of everything in the Cloud can be thought of as a kind of data insurance, although steps should be taken to ensure you are storing your stuff securely (see more on that below).

You Don’t Mind Paying a Fee for Storage.

While many sites offer a free set amount of online storage, you'll have to pay for any significant amount of space. This could become problematic if you're a collector of large files (such as full-length high-definition videos). Melanie Pinola of About.com's Mobile Office Technology site offers a helpful breakdown of possible storage sites, including pricing.

You’re Not Overly Paranoid

This should actually be “You Know How To Secure Your Stuff.” Regardless of the reasons you have for storing data online, you should always ensure you are storing it securely and with the proper protection. Depending on your needs, this could be as simple as using password protection, or you may require a separate encryption service. It should be noted that password protection is beginning to lose popularity as hackers find it extremely easy to breach them.
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