Let's start at the beginning: Cloud storage stores your files on the Internet, making them accessible from anywhere.

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is an online service that offers customers storage space to store, for example, photos, videos, text documents, or their music collection, thus saving hard drive space. All you have to do is log on to the right website, and you can download your files to cell phones, laptops, or even Internet café computers. Usually, the providers provide the user with software that automatically synchronizes the data in the background. Limited online storage capacity is usually available free of charge, and capacity expansions can be subscribed to monthly or annually.


Data stored in this way can be easily shared with third parties: For this purpose, links can often be generated that allows users without an account with the corresponding service to retrieve selected content. This is a practical alternative to the classic sending of e-mail attachments. The service performs two tasks at once:

Cloud storage allows users to access their stored files from anywhere in the world - the only requirement is an Internet connection. This can be useful on vacation when certain documents are needed, but also for business people who want to access company data on business trips or even collaboratively work on a document.


The data is stored on servers of external providers - even after local deletion on the user's end device or defect of an end device, data is not lost. The providers are subject to strict rules and guidelines when it comes to data security. Certifications provide information about guaranteed accessibility values and protection against power failures as well as data backups.


What other functions are there?

Some providers of such cloud storage solutions provide their services with additional services. These may include the ability to edit documents online in a browser, sometimes even in real-time with several parallel users. Other providers offer exciting photo management functions in online storage. In our tests, we look at these features and evaluate how well they have been implemented.

It makes perfect sense to use a cloud office service in addition to cloud storage. That way, you'll not only have photos and other files with you everywhere, but also important documents. These can be edited online and even collaborate with others.


Where are the files stored?

If you store your files abroad, your personal data is subject to the laws of that country. This is exactly why many potential users have security concerns before they step into the cloud. Popular services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Apple store the data on US-American servers.


If you want to avoid this, we make a clear recommendation for the Serverspace. Here your data is stored on certified servers in the USA. For a monthly surcharge, your data is also secured with 256-bit AES keys for upload and download. In terms of data protection, the provider is one of the best cloud storage providers.

Is a paid subscription worthwhile?

In most cases, more data in the cloud means more benefits: On the computer, for example, synchronizing all relevant data will eliminate the need for manual backups to USB sticks, hard drives and the like, and on smartphones and tablets, storage bottlenecks can be a thing of the past by allowing photos and videos to be moved to the cloud, leaving only a compressed copy on the mobile device. Besides, all synchronized content can always be easily accessed from any device.


Anyone using cloud services in the form described above will soon reach the capacity limit of free offers. With an investment of around two euros a month, you can rent between 100 gigabytes and 2 terabytes of storage, depending on the provider. Some providers also activate extended functions in the premium subscription. A corresponding investment can thus be worthwhile, depending on your requirements.

However, such a subscription is by no means mandatory. If you limit the synchronization to office documents, for example, the usual five gigabytes of free storage space will be sufficient - and you will also enjoy the convenient synchronization of text files, presentations, and more between work computers, home PC and the like.

Is data safe in the cloud?

Many providers encrypt your data both on the transmission path from end devices to the cloud, as well as during storage on servers. Often the so-called AES 256-bit encryption is used, which is considered extremely secure. Some providers choose less secure methods, we will discuss this separately in the individual test reports.

In general, it can be argued that data in the cloud is less secure than on the home hard drive - especially if the computer in question does not have an Internet connection. However, the risks can be assessed as low; hacker attacks and large-scale data theft are not known in the industry. Potentially more dangerous is the compromise of one's access data to the memory - here is two-factor authentication that provides a remedy. The risk of data loss due to hardware defects is also significantly reduced thanks to cloud storage due to numerous backups.

Author's Bio: 

Ikhraaf Qaiser is a blogger and renowned author on many websites. He loves to write about health, lifestyle, technology and travel.