By storing your backup in a different location, you’re helping to minimize the risks of data loss. In theory, you could simply store a backup drive somewhere other than your primary location. The problem with this approach is that you need to have your backup drive on location part of the time, at least for purposes of updating the backup, and there’s also a risk that you’ll neglect to move the backup drive to another location despite your best intentions.
Another benefit of cloud storage is the ability to access your images from anywhere on the planet provided you have a connection to the Internet. At a very basic level, this ability makes it easy to share a portfolio of images with others as you travel around the world. But perhaps more significantly, you actually can get real work done if you have access to your images from virtually anywhere.
Imagine, for example, finding yourself halfway across the world from your studio when you receive a request for images intended for the cover of a well-respected magazine. By having your images stored in the cloud, you can potentially gain access to your full image library, making it possible to select and send high-resolution files for publication.
Online storage also has become highly reliable, with most service providers offering automatic redundant storage and extremely high reliability and accessibility levels. That means you can feel reasonably confident that the files you store online will be stored safely, and also that you’ll be able to access them at virtually anytime.
Naturally, cloud storage isn’t without some potential disadvantages. These mostly relate to limitations you’ll want to keep in mind as you consider cloud storage as part of your overall workflow.
The most important thing to remember is that cloud storage shouldn’t be used as your sole storage solution. Generally, the services provided for cloud storage are very reliable, but any responsible digital photography workflow requires redundant storage. Just as you should never depend upon a single copy of your digital photos on your local computer, cloud storage shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for local storage.
As dependable as cloud storage solutions have proven to be, they aren’t infallible. There’s a risk, though small, that files will be lost, or that files safely stored won’t be accessible from time to time. As such, cloud storage should be treated as a storage option that’s reliable, but for which there’s the potential for problems.
There are a variety of options available for cloud storage, with varying costs and benefits. At a basic level, you’ll find options for simple online backup. In most cases, this approach involves an automatic backup of photos, documents and other files stored on a particular hard drive.
There’s also some reason to be concerned about the safety of your images, both in terms of dependable storage and resistance to unauthorized access. The chances of there being a problem are quite low, but the risk does exist. It’s important to take these risks into account as you evaluate whether cloud storage is a good fit for you, and as you make a decision about which service provider you’ll utilize for cloud storage.