It’s a fantastic idea, the cloud. Get your files anywhere, anytime, from any machine. Whoever thought this one up deserves a medal.

There is a problem though, well a couple of problems actually.

  1. It relies on the Internet being live and available at your location, wherever that might be..
  2. You have to pay for it.. TWICE

OK, so let’s look at issue #1.

Most of the time, connection is not a problem. ISPs rarely lose connection to the outside world. The same can’t always be said for servers and nodes beyond your ISP. You have to understand that they have problems just like you do, with hardware, running updates et al. Larger outfits face the same outages and they have the added bonus of being targets for those who seek to give everybody a hard time…  the hackers.

I have to pay?

Sure you do.The nice cloud storage people have had to set up a lot of hardware to make it all possible. They also have to set up monitoring and recovery services to ensure that the data stored is accessible on demand. This does not come cheap. So..

  1. Beyond an element of free space, you have to pay for your stuff to be stored
  2. You have to pay to get it up there and get it back. Your ISP and/or phone provider calls this ‘bandwidth’

If you add both monthly costs together, and then compare what you get against storing stuff on a local 2tb hard drive, you may be shocked. These days, a 2tb hard drive costs between $100 – 120, and will last for maybe 5 years. That works out to less than $25 per year, a figure that you might be paying per month for 2tb of cloud storage.

Who wins?

Cloud storage makes perfect sense for large and small companies. It allows for employee mobility and immediately gathers and takes ownership of all work related data produced on company machines in company time, and company profits pay for it.

For companies like Microsoft and IBM (not just these two, btw) who have experience by the bucket load of servers and security, the cloud is a great way to generate funds

For home users, it is not necessarily a good idea at all, and yet the type of machine being bought  will force use of cloud storage or find the home user having to decide what data to keep and what data to lose, bearing in mind that payment for the service is going to have to come out of life and family funds.

Google have slashed storage prices, but you should still do some maths on your own circumstances and the solution that you use. For more on the Google price change, see here..