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One of the intriguing things about “cloud computing” is where all our files are stored.

Cloud Storage IconPeople talk about putting their files “up” in the cloud, but “the cloud” isn’t really “up there” at all. It’s a term that describes the many off-site storage options that an individual or business can use to store shared files or old data that we don’t use but don’t want to lose, or to back up the files a company can’t afford to lose in case of a natural or man-made disaster.

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Before the advent of cloud storage, some people used e-mail as a way to keep especially important files safe. They sent copies of their files to themselves and kept a permanent record of all their sent messages. Call it Cloud.0.

Your business website has probably been “in the cloud” since Day One, because most web hosts have servers located in several cities, even on several continents, and the websites they host are saved on each one of them so their clients’ websites never go down.

Modern “cloud storage” simply takes a page from those web hosts and offers small businesses the peace of mind that once their files have been transferred to remote (“cloud”) servers, they can be retrieved in an emergency.

This doesn’t mean cloud storage replaces the wisdom of having other redundant methods of back-up. You should still save to a USB, an external hard drive, tape, or a second computer. You may even want to back up some of your files the good, old-fashioned way: on paper.

Cloud Storage itself can take several forms. We found a good explanation of them on Webopedia. Enjoy!