Is Enough Ever Enough? How Much Online Storage Space Do You Need for a Computer Backup?

By: Carlie McKeon  |  March 24, 2014

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The Internet appears to be infinitely large and infinitely expansive, like some kind of magical bedroom closet. The truth is, people are continually running short on storage space when it comes to enabling a computer backup, preserving settings, contacts, and information on their tablets and smartphones. Because most of us are going to be conducting even more online activities and business for both work and play, there is an even greater need to have enough space available to backup your system and info.

Why Online Storage and Not the Alternative

Some computer users prefer to have a secondary hard drive to allow for ongoing copying of key files and data. The fact is, a hard drive is just like your computer’s hard driveā€”it is destined to die. It’s not a question of if, but when that drive will fail. In many circumstances, there is little to no warning that it is about to fail, leaving users with a constant feeling of uneasiness when it comes to ensuring their data is safe. Using online storage for a computer backup system is by far the best guarantee that your entire system can be retrieved in the event of a complete computer crash due to a power outage, hard drive failure, or virus infection. Of course, it’s always recommended to not only use an online site but also double your odds with a secondary drive, data DVD rip, or USB key for added computer backup protection.

How to Calculate Your Storage Needs

If you’re planning on storing and sharing things like movies and music with your friends, this can account for a huge amount of space. Before you run out and pay for storage, first use the free services that already exist online. Sites like Dropbox and Google Drive are free and offer up to 5GB of space for your use, so why not put the less important (and more importantly, huge) data files on those sites, in order to leave as much space as you can on the sites where you’ll most likely be paying a fee. 5GB represents approximately 1,250 songs or 5-10 movies (depending on the compression format). Tablets and smartphones can take up to 5GB when it comes to backing up the app data alone.

Storage and Security Concerns

Free online storage sites are very convenient for personal and even professional use if you’re not concerned about getting hacked or infected with a data-erasing virus. These sites aren’t necessarily the most secure form of storage, nor are they set up to protect your interests exclusively. If you have concerns about privacy and preserving sensitive information, such as a client database, or banking and tax info, then look for a site that offers decent encryption guarantees. When examining the fine print of the service provider, look to see if they offer file versioning, search facilities, and mobile access. They may be cheap, but you may eventually get a headache when it comes to accessing and retrieving individual files.

Once you’ve decided on exactly what type of data you plan to store, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on the service provider. Even if you miscalculate, you should be able to expand your storage space over time. In the end, the Internet really is an infinitely expansive space for all your stuff, just like you wish your bedroom closet could be.

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