If this sounds like you then you’re in the right place because in the next few minutes you’ll learn:
- What is a cloud backup and what can it do
- What’s the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup
- How much a cloud backup service typically costs
- And most of all how to quickly find out if you need a cloud backup service
Believe it or not, but there are certain people who are ideal users for cloud backups and there are those who are not, keep reading to find out which one you fit into because you might be shocked to find out where you fit in.
What The Heck is Cloud Backup?
In everyday user terms – a cloud backup is the act of storing your data on another hard drive or computer outside of your home network so that your data is not lost if something happens to your computer.
If it’s still a little fuzzy, think of it this way, a cloud backup is the equivalent of burning a CD of your entire music collection (I know its probably more than CD but bare with me) and leaving it at grandmas house. So now if anything happens to your computer your Justin Bieber collection is not lost forever.
With a cloud backup service this backup process is automatic so that as soon as you save, change or download a file on your computer it is automatically backed up to your service provider.
So lets say you you made a bone head move and deleted your favorite Justin Bieber song. With a cloud backup service instead of riding your bike to grandmas to retrieve that missing song, all you have to do is go to your cloud backup program and in a few clicks that song is back on your computer in the same folder it was before you deleted it.
What Can You Backup?
With a cloud backup service you can protect many different types of files other than just music or audio. You can backup:
- Movies and videos
- Documents (i.e. – Word, Excel and pdf’s)
… Basically any file or folder that is sitting on your hard drive right now can be backed up to a cloud backup service.
What A Cloud Backup is Not (Cloud Storage)
Now here’s where it gets a little tricky. There’s alot of misconceptions about what services are actually cloud backup services and which are not. And the price for not understanding this can cost you precious life moments (your photos), hours of work down the drain (your files), and priceless information getting lost in thin air (everything else you have on there).
What is Cloud “Storage” and how is it different from Cloud Backup?
Cloud Storage is similar to Cloud Backups because cloud storage is also the act of storing your files onto a hard drive or computer located physically outside of your home network.
The fundamental difference is that cloud storage is designed to be a place where you (usually manually at first) store important files that you want to safeguard but more importantly want to have access to wherever you go.
Cloud Backups are designed to be a more comprehensive solution that’s designed to monitor and backup all the critical data on your computer so that you can recover as little or as much of your data just in case something happens.
For Example – I’m going to take you back to school for a second. I want you to you think of your computer and all the files in it like a text book (I know, cringe!). In order to backup and protect that entire text book, you’d use a cloud backup service. But if you just wanted to backup a few important pages so you had access to them where ever you go then you’d use a cloud storage service.
Examples of what a cloud backup service is not (Cloud Storage Services)
- Google Drive
- Sugar Sync
- Microsoft One Drive
Another big difference is that if you don’t store your files to you cloud storage service and something happens to your computer then those files are pretty much gone.
For Example: If you didn’t place that final report into your special dropbox folder before your computer crashed then you’re S.O.L. (really jacked up)
Unlike with cloud backups that automatically backup your data any time you add, download, save or update a file on your computer.
I hear what you’re saying but do I REALLY need a cloud backup service?”
That’s really up to you to decide.
The goal of truly backing up (protecting) your files is to have your data in as many places as possible, so if anything happens to your computer (location 1) you’re still covered because you have a copy of your data in (location 2).
Theres 2 major things that I want you to be aware of (that most people don’t) when it comes to your computer and the data on it:
1. $#*& Happens
There are a gazillion things that can happen to your computer on any given day of the week and here are just a few:
- The floor breaks your computer’s fall
- Your computer decides to take a bath
- Someone borrows your computer… permanently
- You decide to give your computer a couple sips of your coffee accidentally
2. Computers and especially the hard drives Within Them Are TICKING TIME BOMBS!!!!
Sorry about that – I just had a flash back from when I lost a couple HUNDRED Gigabytes of data a few years back..
Please remember what I’m about to tell you… it could save a life.
Hard drives DO NOT last forever, in fact there have been studies done that show the failure rate of hard drives within a 6 year period and the results were quite eye opening.
It stated that you have about a 6% chance of your hard drive failing within the first 2 years of using it which means odds are that which means out of a pool of 100 people with brand new laptops you’re gonna get 6 unfortunate victims by the end of the second year.
Which for what it’s worth doesn’t seem tooo bad. But after the 3rd year your chances of that same hard drive crashing out of nowhere begins to skyrocket.
Check it out here: http://lifehacker.com/how-long-your-hard-drive-is-likely-to-last-1462918832
And if you have an external hard drive those things are actually worse.
I have friends and colleagues who are light years ahead of me when it comes to techie stuff and they’ve all lost data (priceless family photos, HOURS of work lost FOREVER) because they put their blind faith in hard drives and unfortunately they learned their lesson the hard way.
I’m a big advocate in backing up data. Even if you backup your data to an external hard drives you’re way ahead of the game.
But the one thing that a cloud backup ensures is that if anything happens to your computer and your external hard drive (like a flood – which I’ve seen happen living here in New York) then you’re still protected because your data is safe and sound with your cloud backup provider.
Remember, any backup is better than no backup so with that being said…
Please don’t be another statistic like me and some of my friends and colleagues… losing data SUCKS! If you want to play it safe backup your data to as many places as you can, and the cloud is a great way to do that.
If the thought of placing your personal files on to a cloud backup service seems a lttle scary to you don’t worry because you’re not alone.
I’m somewhat of a privacy nut myself and I know there are some legitimate fears that people have when it comes to cloud backups that you may be experiences as well which include:
- Fear of someone being able to view your family / personal photos
- Fear of someone being able to access your private information without them knowing
- Fear of your data falling into the wrong hands (i.e. – a hacker)
So to help put your mind a little at ease there are some measures that most cloud backup services put in place that keep your data secure, your information private and safe from falling into the wrong hands.
Below are the top 3 ways cloud backup services protect your privacy and keep your data secure:
Custom Encryption Key – this is by far one the most secure ways to protect your privacy and information when using a cloud backup service.
Encryption is the process of scrambling your data so that even if someone can get their hands on it they don’t know what the information contains unless they have the encryption “key” to “unscramble” it.
Normally this key (think of this as a super LOOONGGG password) is created and managed by your cloud backup service but most of these services now give you the option to create your own. This feature is very secure because you are the only one who has the key that can unscramble your data. And since you are the only one who has this key, if you lose it your data is pretty much lost forever because your cloud backup service doesn’t know it and they can’t create a new one or reset your your old one for you as they would for a lost password.
What this means is that even though your files are stored on someone else’s computers (your cloud backup service provider) no but you can gain access to that data because you’re the only one who knows the key to decoding your information.
Client Side Encryption – This is the process of encrypting (scrambling) your data before it leaves your computer and ensures that your files are protected from prying eyes the second it leaves your computer.
SSL – without getting too technical think of SSL as a secure tunnel between two computers (you and your cloud backup service). And the only way to know what information is being passed within that tunnel is to be one of the computers on either end of that tunnel. This is the same technology that banks use to secure your online transactions. This prevents people from eavesdropping on you as you send and receive data between you and your cloud backup service.
How Much Does a Good Cloud Backup Cost?
With the cost of storage getting cheaper and cheaper, the cost for a quality cloud backup service can be very inexpensive “insurance policy” for your digital files even for the average computer user.
There are 2 primary ways to pay for a cloud backup service, month to month (pay as you go) and to prepay for your service upfront typically a year at a time.
Be expected to pay between $5 to about $15 each month for a month to month (pay as you go) subscription to a cloud backup service.
And be expected to pay anywhere between $50 to about $149 upfront for a 1 year subscription to a cloud backup service depending on which one you choose. You typically get 1 – 3 months free when you choose to prepay for your service.
Who is a Cloud Backup Really For And Who its NOT for?
Honestly, if you have any files, documents, movies, videos or music that you would deeply miss if something were to happen to your computer then I would highly recommend getting a cloud backup service
So if you:
- have a ALOT of important documents on your computer
- are big downloader
- have a huge collection of media files, movies, videos, music, and pictures
then I’d say a cloud backup service is a great way to protect those files while having access to them wherever you go.
On the flip side, if you’re some who:
- Does everything in Dropbox
- Stores very little if anything on your computer
- Use mostly web service like Google Drive, Gmail, Evernote
then a cloud backup service wouldn’t be that critical to you.
Picking the Right One
There’s a TON and I mean a TON of cloud backup services out there which makes the process of finding the right one a VERY difficult task.
If you’re starting to wise up and realize that you need to start protecting your files just in case the worst happens and you want to get a cloud backup service to do so then I created a Step By Step guide to help you choose the perfect cloud backup service for you and your computer(s).
I really hope you enjoyed this Cloud Backup 101 tutorial. If you still have any questions, need additional help you, felt there was something missing or want to give me any feedback then leave a comment below.
Also, can you do me a quick favor? If this helped you at all, please leave a comment and let me know (lets me know if I’m on the right track)