Cloud computing is taking the computer world by storm. Until recently, the only reliable backup solution was to hire or subscribe to an online backup solution that backed up your computer files offsite on the company’s own servers. In a manner of speaking this was the beginning of cloud backup, at least in terms of available technology at the time.
Online backup today, as it did years ago, simply backs up files to another hard drive at an offsite location. Access to the files is limited, if unavailable altogether unless a restore function is initiated. This kind of backup solution is OK if you need only your files backed up without having to update or add to them frequently. Performing a restore each time you need to view and/or update a file is cumbersome and time consuming.
Cloud computing on the other hand, offers more options than online backup. In fact, it’s rapidly becoming the backup choice for millions of people. This is due mainly to the ease of access to your files, the ability to view and update any file directly from your own computer and the added convenience that these updated files are immediately backed up to the cloud.
Cost comparison vs. storage capacity
Of course, added options and flexibility always comes with a price. That price however, is comparatively small compared to the amount of storage you’ll receive in either online or cloud storage.
Online storage solutions typically have limited capacity in one way or another. Some online backup services advertise unlimited backup space, so it should be unlimited in every way, right? For most users, this is true. But some companies substantially throttle down their backup speed when a certain, preset threshold of storage space is reached. In this case, the term unlimited might have its limitations after all. Once again, if all you need is a resting place for your backed up files an online backup solution will probably work great for you. The service is inexpensive, the capacity is very good and your files are secure. That’s what online services usually offer; nothing more, nothing less.
Cloud backup and storage is much more flexible with capacities reaching into several hundred gigabytes of storage, or more if needed. Yes, you will pay more for this convenience but it’s a matter of what your particular needs are. If you absolutely must have near real time access to your updated files, or those files shared with you, cloud computing is the only way to go. Another huge benefit of the cloud is the availability of apps for your smartphone giving you complete, unfettered access to your files while away from your computer.
So, to answer the question, “Is cloud computing just hype?” In my opinion, it’s an unequivocal “no”.