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cloud storage

Cloud 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.

Types of Cloud Storage

There are four main types of cloud storage:

1. 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.

2. Public Cloud Storage

Public cloud storage is 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.

3. 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.

4. Hybrid Cloud Storage

Hybrid cloud storage is 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.

Recommended Reading: Webopedia's Cloud Computing Dictionary Resource and Cloud Computing Security Challenges.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

There are many benefits to using cloud storage, most notable is file accessibility. Files stored in the cloud can be accessed at any time from any place so long as you have Internet access. Another benefit is that cloud storage provides organizations with off-site (remote) backups of data which reduces costs associated with disaster recovery .

Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage to cloud storage is that users are limited by bandwidth. If your Internet connection is slow or unstable, you might have problems accessing or sharing your files. Organizations that require a large amount of storage may also find costs increase significantly after the first few gigabytes of data stored.

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