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Finding enough storage can be challenging for many people. Some people invest in external storage devices like CDs or thumb drives, while others opt for larger hard drives. A desperate computer owner is prone to deleting multiple old folders with numerous files to make room for new data. Still others are opting for cloud storage, the latest trend.

Cloud-based storage refers to saving data to an off-site storage system that a third party maintains. You save information in a remote database instead of your computer’s hard drive. The connection between your computer and the data is provided by the Internet.

You’ll be able to access your data from any location with Internet access if you choose cloud storage. You wouldn’t need to use the same computer to save and retrieve your data or carry around a physical storage device. It’s even possible for other people to access the data with the right storage system.

Who owns the data?

Businesspeople, information experts, and computer scientists are leading an ongoing debate on who owns the data stored in the cloud. Does it belong to the company or client? That depends on the cloud storage system. Some systems have a very specific focus, such as holding digital images or storing Web e-mail messages. Others can store all digital data forms. Some cloud storage systems are huge, with so much equipment that you could fill a whole building. Other operations are smaller. Data centers house cloud storage systems.

The most basic cloud storage systems require just one data server with an Internet connection. A computer user sends copies of files to the data server, which then records the data. This user accesses the data server through a Web-based interface when they want to retrieve the data. The server then either allows the user to access and manipulate the files on the server or sends the files back to them.

Normally, cloud storage systems involve hundreds of data servers. It’s crucial to store the same data on multiple machines because computers occasionally require maintenance or repair. This is called redundancy. Without it, a user couldn’t be sure they could access their information at any given time.

Most systems store the same information on servers that use different power supplies. When one fails, users can still access their data.

Finally, not all cloud storage clients are concerned with running out of storage space. Cloud storage is also used as a way to create data backups. Data survives if something happens to the client’s computer system.