The cloud; if anyone's making nominations for the 21st century's top technology buzzword, let's just say I know where my vote is going. In a world where technology changes and evolves at the speed of light, somehow the cloud finds a way to stay top-of-mind and for that matter, tip-of-the-tongue.
And data integrity within cloud storage? It's perhaps the greatest concern most people have, both personally and professionally, when it comes to the cloud.
What is the Cloud?
Put simply, cloud computing is a combination of hosted applications, data storage and remote server access through the internet. "The cloud" is where all of those applications and data are stored. Many individuals and businesses use the cloud in some format, often without knowing. Social networks and email applications are two of the most common uses.
Here's an example:
On a daily basis, there are millions of people around the globe uploading data to the cloud. When you purchase your favorite artist’s new album on iTunes, it can be uploaded to the cloud by your iPhone and accessed from many other devices. The same can be done with photos, videos, apps and more that are downloaded on your device but stored in the cloud.
History of Cloud Storage
The origins of the cloud began when individuals and businesses started depicting the internet as a cloud in diagrams. When the cloud, as we know it and experience it today, was developed, its name came from these diagrams. No wonder it confuses so many people...
Nowadays, a common term is cloud computing, which refers to the ability for users to access data, applications and services remotely via the internet. And that's what it's all about, enabling remote access - and keeping everything safe and secure.
What happens when you store professional data within cloud storage? Though losing personal data is tragic, the stakes are even higher for business data. Business contact lists, customer information, subscriber lists and payment information represent just a few examples of corporate data stored in the cloud. What happens when this information goes missing?
Where Is My Cloud Data Stored?
With all this talk about the cloud, it might have you wondering, where is cloud data physically stored? Well, you're onto something. Data and applications housed in the cloud are not just whirling around in nothingness.
Cloud-stored data and applications are stored on individual servers of data centers that are located all over the world. Data center owners basically rent storage space for businesses and individuals to house their data. Within the centers, everyone's data is kept private and housed within its own dedicated space.
Is It Safe to Store Data in the Cloud?
Believe it or not, the cloud might be one of the safest places to store data. You see, cloud data is stored in multiple locations, making it exceptionally difficult to lose. If you ever experience difficulty retrieving your data from the cloud, it can always be retrieved from another data center. Since data center storage is decentralized in nature, it's actually much safer than on-site storage.
Data Lost in the Cloud
In the cloud, the risk of data loss exists – much in the same way it exists for hardware-based storage technology. For both situations, security solutions are available – back-ups, security software, redundancies and more. Before we look closer at those, let’s consider how data gets lost.
3 Ways Cloud Data Can Be Lost
Although it's structured for safety, there are a variety of ways to lose data in the cloud. Sometimes technology fails — computers freeze and backup copies are lost. Other times, servers crash and the information contained within is lost. These are all potential sources of data loss, and the cloud is not exempt from technology failure or human error.
Below, listed in no particular order, are three of the most common factors for data loss in the cloud:
1. Accidental Deletion/User ErrorPerhaps the most common source of data loss when using cloud storage is unintentional deletion.
2. Overwriting DataIt is also possible to have information mistakenly overwritten by users or by applications. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are a potential source of massive data loss. These apps hold and continuously update large data sets. New information has the potential to overwrite old information and can cause data sets to be partially overwritten in the process.
3. Malicious Actions
Most cloud storage providers go to great lengths to secure their networks and your data, but not all attacks can be prevented.
Avoid Data Loss with Service Providers
There are a variety of problems that can arise from lost data, such as damage to your image, reputation and litigation from customers whose private information is exposed and/or lost. However, there are ways to minimize the risk of data loss and ensure the security of your data stored in cloud storage.
Technology service providers offer robust cloud storage options that provide you with ample storage, affordable pricing and, most importantly, robust security. When you work with a cloud service provider on a cloud storage solution, you have access to the best software programs available (at a price you can afford) and a team of highly-skilled experts that can optimize your cloud storage and mitigate threats to your information.
Data storage may never be perfect, but there are solutions available to mitigate risks and provide security.
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