Making sense of data in "the cloud" - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Making sense of data in "the cloud"

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It seems as if we have a scrapbook of our lives trapped on our phones, tablets and computers.  Messages from loved ones, important projects, pictures, and videos.  Those moments are irreplaceable.   So, how do you keep a copy of your precious digital files? 

It used to be that we had to remember to do a back up to an external drive or flash drive but what if you didn't remember to back up those wedding photos that your friends took?  Then your computer crashes.  Now you almost don't have to remember. 

WBTV's Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, demystifies storing your data on the cloud and offers you tips to keep your data safe and maintain your privacy: 

There are several services that start off free and then you pay when you go over a certain amount.  They hope to get you hooked so you'll use more. 

HOW THEY WORK:

1.  File types:  Check the terms for the service.  Make sure they can handle photos, videos, documents, songs, and other files that you might have

2.  Privacy settings:  Make sure you read the privacy agreement carefully to see if the reason why it is "free" or "low cost" is because they can scan the information you store so they can market to you

3.  Sharing:  Most allow you to log into your files just using a web browser.  Some of the services also let you password protect files, encrypt them, and share them with people based on the settings that you choose

CONSIDERATIONS:

1.  If some of these companies fold up or are bought, it is unclear what might happen to your data so make sure you read the user agreements carefully

2.  If you feel Google already follows you around too much, a product like Google Drive might not be a good choice for you.

3.  These services have had glitches in the past.  Dropbox, for example, had a software glitch last year that allowed people to log into any account without a password for roughly 4 hours before it was fixed

WEB RESOURCES:

PC Magazine did a survey of 12 products and you can read their review here

The good news is -- There are many services to choose from.  Here is just a short list to review so you can pick what is best for you based on storage options, privacy and security features, and budget. 

Apple Cloud

Google Drive

Dropbox

Microsoft SkyDrive

Jungle Disk 

Amazon Cloud Drive

Mozy

Carbonite

WORD OF THE WEEK:  BROGRAMMING 

A mashup of "bros" + "programming" it is used to describe high tech programmers.  Usually those in the mobile app or social media space creating cool and new technologies. 

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