If you work in any capacity with computers in today’s day and age, you’ll likely have heard rumblings about “the cloud.” It’s where data today is usually stored, shared, and saved, but what is the cloud?
That’s the baseline question, however; clouds today have numerous functions, notably sync, storage, and backup. It can all get confusing, and quickly.
That’s why we’ve written this post to outline what exactly the cloud is. Then, we’ve outlined the differences between cloud sync, cloud storage, and cloud backup.
Once you’ve read through this information you should have a better understanding of the cloud, and can quit worrying about these intricacies!
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is a shortening of the phrase “cloud computing.” Cloud computing began life as the idea of using somebody else’s computer on the internet for things we’d usually do on our own computer.
So basically, the cloud concerns systems that are operated through the internet, and not through your local computer. This is why the majority of clouds are accessed through an internet browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.
The cloud has grown in popularity for both personal and business use thanks to this existence over the internet. Before the cloud, if you saved important documents you’d have to be using the same computer where you saved them to access them.
With the cloud, you can access these documents from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it easier to access these documents yourself as well as share them with others.
Though of course, using cloud software has come with a lot of security concerns from users. Efforts are made daily to keep clouds secure and safe from any form of a data breach.
There are now numerous examples of different cloud software on the market, but to understand which is right for you you’ll first need to know the differences between cloud purposes. The first of these is the most common and is known as cloud storage.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is the first main thing you think of when you think about using the cloud. It allows you to store documents, videos, photos, or other files on the cloud, rather than on your local computer.
Cloud servers are operated in separate locations and accessed through the internet, meaning you can always access your files through an internet connection.
This is beneficial for businesses, as the cloud can hold more data than a basic hard drive. It also means you can easily share files that have been stored on the cloud.
This is usually done through sharing a unique web link and can allow for editing onto cloud-saved documents using some software. This is part of the cloud sync process, which we will detail below.
To safely manage this, cloud storage is a data-encrypted process. Authentication processes like usernames and passwords will often need to be used to access and share documents. Cloud providers also create multiple copies of any documents stored on their servers.
This is to prevent the loss of any important document if anything unexpected happens to the physical server location.
But clouds can do much more than store files today. Another key aspect of using the cloud that you’ve likely heard mentioned is what’s known as cloud backup.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup is slightly similar to cloud storage, in that it concerns saving and accessing computer files. Where it differs is in the emphasis on saving, disaster recovery, and security. To understand cloud backup you need to know the basics of the backup concept itself first.
In IT, backup is a copy of data, be it in the form of documents, photos, or other files, that ensure you can still access this information should anything happen to the primary version.
In the past, this was handled by simply making copies of documents to save on your local computer. Or, people would use USB sticks that they’d carry around with copies of their documents.
But today, backup is usually handled via cloud backup services. This automates the process, making it both more reliable and cheaper to keep data backed up.
With cloud backup, a secure copy of data is sent directly to a designated cloud backup server. This can then be accessed from a variety of different access points should it be required.
Many cloud storage providers also have a cloud backup service. It’s essential to ensuring that any documents you save on the cloud are safe and can be accessed in their present form no matter the situation.
Some even offer more advanced backup features such as extended version history. This helps you to restore a previous version of a document if the significant changes made recently are incorrect.
They often work in tandem, as cloud storage holds the current version of your file, and any changes made will be replicated in the cloud backup version. This process of communication between cloud locations is what’s known as cloud sync.
What is Cloud Sync?
Cloud sync as mentioned above is the means through which cloud platforms synchronize information. To synchronize, or sync means to operate at the same time or the same rate. For example, all clocks in the world are synchronized to ensure everyone is seeing the right time.
If a clock stops working, it is desynced. With cloud sync, you’re able to create the same version of a file both saved locally and saved on the cloud, where the backup version is also communicated with.
Cloud sync is the process that allows users to edit cloud-saved documents, with the results being updated and saved as you go. This is a fundamental part of business collaboration and can allow for multiple users to edit a document in real-time.
This ensures that all employees can work together on a document from anywhere in the world. It also makes sure that everyone has local access, and that the final version has been backed up on the cloud through cloud backup.
It also allows your business to hold a whole server of documents that can be updated or changed at any time, provided you have access to an internet connection. This allows for entire workplaces to function remotely with the right staff setup.
What Are The Key Differences Between These Terms?
Now that you know the basics of these three terms, it’s helpful to know the main differences between them.
They all operate on the cloud, but the key difference lies in the overall purpose. Cloud storage is the baseline service people assume with using the cloud, keeping data in a remote location which can be accessed through any strong internet connection.
Storage is needed for the other two functions, but its main purpose differs from them. With backup, the emphasis is on the security of documents as well as the automation of the process. Backup should be handled fully automatically and can be set by the user.
Sync can then be seen as the main way in which the cloud creates a collaborative environment. It’s the main way in which you can make changes to documents on the cloud and share them with other users.
A quality cloud services provider should offer you access to cloud storage as well as cloud backup and cloud sync. That ensures you’re making the most of your access to the cloud and creates the best remote working environment for businesses.
What Can I Do if I Need Further Assistance With the Cloud?
Now you know the meaning of the terms cloud storage, cloud backup, and cloud sync. You also know the key differences between them and the fact that they all contribute differently to an optimized cloud service. But we know that with the cloud many individuals and businesses need further assistance.
That’s why here at Netdepot we make it our mission to help businesses transition to the cloud experience. Not only that, but we help them manage their cloud to ensure they’re making the most of the service at all times.
We offer both a public and a private cloud server option with trusted data centers throughout the U.S. Our cloud servers are fully isolated, fully secure and we operate a 24/7 support service should you have any questions about the cloud, whatever it might be.
We also work to optimize our cloud backup to allow for near-zero recovery times of backup files. This ensures you don’t waste any time recovering files and getting back to work. Our cloud services also fully embrace cloud sync and the ability for businesses to collaborate on files in real-time and share them across users.
For more information on how Netdepot can become your go-to cloud services solution, make sure you contact us directly. We’re contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and are always on hand to assist with your inquiry.