What is cloud storage, and how does it work?

explaining how cloud storage works on notepad

From personal paperwork to business documentation, you want to ensure your valuable documents are kept safe and secure. Thanks to digital technologies, you no longer have to deal with boxes and filing cabinets full of physical papers cluttering up your home or office.

There are many means of electronic file storage, from external hard drives to simple USB sticks. But in more recent years, cloud storage has become an increasingly popular data storage solution. Frontier cloud storage services offer unique advantages, including enhanced security and data protection—an increasingly critical concern in light of rising cybercrime rates.

This article will explain what cloud storage systems are, why they’re so popular and how cloud computing can provide such a secure online data storage solution.

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage services like Frontier’s Content Anywhere are electronic storage solutions that store data and files (including documents) on remote servers that are accessed via the internet. Instead of data or files being stored under your roof—as is the case with a hard drive or USB—it’s stored digitally at an off-site location.

A so-called “cloud provider” is responsible for the data transferred off-site, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining the infrastructure that houses your data and files. As a cloud storage provider, Frontier handles the data center’s hosting, security and maintenance.

This is all made possible thanks to cloud computing, which refers to the ability of computing services (including document storage services and networking, software, database, analytics, intelligence and server services) to be offered over the internet—the cloud.

Cloud-based services are advantageous because they can free you from the burden of maintaining in-house computing infrastructure. This improves efficiency, streamlines operations and cuts costs.

Types of cloud storage solutions

There are different types of cloud storage options available to suit different needs. Here are the main categories of cloud storage.

  • Public cloud storage is used and shared by multiple organizations across the internet. The benefits of public storage include low maintenance costs, minimal complexity and flexible pricing. Public clouds are also very agile and scalable, but they don’t offer a high degree of control and can be less secure than a private cloud.
  • Private cloud storage is a type of proprietary storage solution used by only one organization, and companies often pay to have their own cloud storage solution created. Private cloud benefits include customizability, high degree of scalability and compliance with regulations. They’re also more secure since they’re dedicated to just one company. While it has the benefit of keeping all operations within the organization, it can add significant operational burdens and costs. Learn more about private cloud service.
  • Hybrid cloud solutions use both public and private cloud storage. Hybrid cloud solutions support diverse workload needs and are highly reliable and secure. They aren’t as compatible and easy to integrate as fully proprietary solutions, however, and they can be extremely complex.

Why use cloud storage

Aside from Frontier’s Content Anywhere, other examples of cloud-based storage solutions include iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox and others. Finding the right provider will depend on your personal or business needs—such as how many people need access to your chosen cloud storage solution.

  • Easy to implement: Cloud storage is fast and easy to implement. This is because it doesn’t require any hardware or in-house infrastructure installation (the exception being personal cloud storage). Depending on the complexity of the solution you select, you can start using it within days or even hours.
  • High level of security: Cloud storage providers invest significant resources in enhanced security measures, like multi-factor authentication and data encryption. Physical cloud security of the actual storage servers is also stringent to better ensure your sensitive data is kept safe.
  • Simplified collaboration: Cloud storage solutions allow you to easily carry out file sharing and real-time data transfers off-site. This can be a big boon if you need to collaborate with others remotely or handle cloud storage syncing from afar.
  • Minimal risk of data loss: Cloud storage is also notable for its resilience. In a natural disaster, you don’t have to worry about losing data or dealing with disaster recovery. This is quite different if you store data under your own roof.
  • Potential for cost savings: Cloud storage is overall cost-effective (unless you pay significantly for a proprietary in-house solution). Businesses can further treat cloud storage as an ongoing operating expense, which can be helpful in terms of tax deductions.
  • High level of scalability: The levels of storage capacity for cloud-based solutions vary widely, allowing you to tailor your storage space to your needs. Most cloud data solutions offer tiered pricing plans, allowing you to choose an option to accommodate your requirements.

How does cloud storage work?

There are three main ways that cloud storage works to store digital data. These include:

  • Block storage: This storage technology divides data volumes into digital blocks, which are stored in the cloud system’s storage drives. Each block has its own unique identifier, ensuring the information can be easily and quickly retrieved when needed by you.
  • File storage: In a file storage system, data is organized into files, which are then organized into folders (similar to how you might organize information on your personal computer). The folders and files are then further subdivided by directory and subdirectory.
  • Object storage: In an object storage system, the data is stored as digital objects. Each object consists of a file, metadata specific to that file and a unique identifier. Some object storage providers have added file system functions to their programs to encourage adoption.

Is cloud storage safe?

If you’re worried about the data security of cloud storage, you can rest easy. The servers are generally located in warehouses distinct from where the provider’s workers are located. Plus, cloud storage providers use a variety of tools and measures to keep you safe, like:

  • Files stored in the cloud are also usually encrypted
  • Artificial intelligence tools to identify potential vulnerabilities
  • Built-in firewalls
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Third-party security tests
  • Regular security updates
  • Ultra-backed-up data in case of power outages, hardware failures or similar issues (You may also see this referred to as redundancy.)

This adds up to secure and safe systems. That said, different cloud storage providers will have different security measures, so make sure to read the fine print before signing up with a provider. And if you’re having a proprietary product created, ask what measures will be put in place.

Get the fast & reliable internet you need with Frontier

Whatever cloud storage solution you opt for, you’ll need a fast and reliable internet connection to use it. Fast download and upload speeds will ensure that you can easily add and access files to your cloud storage server without latency and lag time frustration.

Frontier not only offers the trustworthy, high-quality internet you need, we also provide cloud services with 24/7 tech support for our internet customers. Learn more about our various internet packages to suit different price points, giving you the power to choose the right option for your household. You can check the availability of our internet packages in your neighborhood by entering your address into our availability checker.