Remember as a child how excited you were when you got your first bike? It was the best thing to ever happen. Your first set of wheels! Now fast forward 15-20 years. Are you still riding that bike? Is it still your only, and main, source of personal transportation? I think it’s safe to say the answer to both of those questions is ‘no’. The same way we grew out of a mode of transportation, we are currently growing out of a mode of data storage.
With the birth of digital media came the need for data storage. All of our cameras have memory cards. We use thumb drives and external hard drives. Before those disks were the main means of mobile storage. So whether you store your data and information on your home computer or one of these more mobile methods, your data storage has been linked to some sort of physical hardware that you could touch and manipulate. With the introduction of cloud storage, there is now a new option. (Here’s a nice infographic comparing some of the services you may already be personally using.)
Improvements in security with cloud services make data storage more flexible than ever before. They allow for easy storage and retrieval of information. I know personally of online classes where the instructor uses a Dropbox account for assignment submissions. File and folder sharing help to make cloud storage very appealing.
Even though Dropbox is extremely popular with consumers, they have to build defenses for heightened security measures as well. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak voiced some very pointed concerns with cloud computing regarding the control of the information and data we as consumers put out there. When it comes to data storage, users do have a need to store personal media and information. Since cloud services are accessed via the internet, other people may be able to gain access to information that does not belong to them. Hackers gaining access to these things is not the desire of the user, or the service provider. These security issues are getting attention, and some solutions are coming about that can improve one’s trust in the cloud.
The increase in mobile technology has further pushed cloud storage. Users want to be able to have access to information when and where they want it, without the use of disks and drives. The physical makeups of the devices we carry promote cloud service usage. How much hard drive space do we really need if all it is going to do is run the applications that access all our data in the cloud?
Smartphone and tablet usage has increased rapidly, and the memory size on those usually cap out at 64GB. It’s also been noted that devices like the MacBook Air come with less space than their MacBook Pro predecessor. Google even has devices that have a key feature of the “cloud built-in” and functioning with their Google Drive services. The more devices shaped around cloud technology that become available will only make it easier for users to transition their storage to the cloud.
Bridging two worlds
Just as adults do still ride a bike from time to time, there will still be some usage of physical drives for data storage. As people get more comfortable with the concept of cloud storage and services, we will see an increase in the subscription to the various offers. Let’s not forget that outside of personal data, there exist companies that are entering the cloud as well. As our places of work go to the cloud, it will also affect the usage of physical hard drives for data storage. There are some predictions that cloud storage will greatly expand in the next 4 years.