Posted by Jeff Werth
As journalists, our writing and information are vital to our existence, and we need a trusted system for file storage. Yet, we rarely think about where and how we store these files until something bad happens.
When I started graduate school, I stored my schoolwork on a single USB flash drive. It made it simple to transfer files among home, work and school. After a few scares about losing the drive, I decided I needed a plan if I lost it.
On a whim, I saved versions of my school project files on Google Docs – now Google Drive – to try out using a cloud-based storage system. This proved fortunate since I lost my all-important flash drive later that week. Taking a deep breath, I retrieved my files from the cloud and went back to work.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve discovered a few pros and cons to share about working with cloud-based storage.
Pros of Cloud-Based Storage
- It’s available everywhere you have an Internet connection including various computers, smart phones, and tablets. Just log on to your account, download the files and start to work again.
- It provides peace of mind. There are no worries about where you put your flash drive. Services have redundant systems to keep data safe.
- It provides opportunities for easy collaboration. Most cloud-based services have public dropboxes where people can leave you a file without passwords.
- It allows you to keep all your files in one spot. There’s no more wondering which flash drive a file is stored. Of course, you can still lose files if you forget the name.
- Many services have free options, which allow you to try them out. However, there are limits on the amount of storage.
Cons of Cloud-Based Storage
- Internet connection decides your ability to work. When you don’t have Internet service, you’re out of luck. Waiting for slow connections isn’t fun either.
- It doesn’t work for high quality photo or video work. The data requirements are too high, and you don’t want to spend that much time uploading and downloading enormous files.
- Since your data is on the Internet, you are susceptible to people hacking your account. Be careful about your passwords.
There are a variety of different services from venders such as Google, Dropbox, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. I suggest trying different ones until you get a workflow that works for you. I use Dropbox as my main cloud-based storage because I like its file synchronization, but I also use Goggle Drive because it works well for collaboration. Even though I use these services, I still keep a few flash drives and a 500 GB portable hard drive … just in case.
Have you ever thought about how you keep your computer files? Do you throw them on a flash drive and forget about them or do you have a file storage system? What is your “Plan B” if your system fails?
Photo Credit: Trashing a Flash Drive by Lisa Werth