Computer Advice: Storing Data In The Cloud

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Problems with data storage.
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Larry Meiller and his guest talk about legal and practical issues when storing data in the cloud for business or personal purposes.

Featured in this Show

  • Computer Expert Offers Tips To Demystify 'The Cloud'

    While cloud computing might seem like a nebulous buzzword to the less tech-savvy, Wisconsin Historical Society emerging technologies archivist Paul Hedges says the concept is actually quite simple: “The cloud is basically anything that’s available through the Internet itself.”

    For average users, Hedges said it means any type of service that is available outside their physical location as opposed to files and programs stored locally on their computer or another storage device.

    He said that a large part of what people and businesses use the cloud for on a day-to-day basis has to do with information storage, be it of individual emails, documents, photos or applications used by large companies.

    But, while saying something is “in the cloud,” might have a broad meaning, Hedges offered explanations of some common concepts that users may come across.


    According to Hedges, sync storage is a method for using the cloud that makes information available across multiple devices. It includes services like Dropbox or Google Drive that keep copies of files in the cloud. People can access and edit information from different locations.

    “If you have files at home that you want to make available to you at work, or work at home, you can have the software installed on those two computers and then they sync back and forth,” Hedges said.


    For situations where simple safekeeping of information is more important than access individual files, Hedges said that the cloud is widely used for backup storage.

    “Backup is different than sync because the software will take whatever files are on the computer, pack them all together and upload them to a backup site that’s off in the cloud,” Hedges said.

    If a device is damaged or information is lost, the files that were stored in the cloud can be recovered.


    To ensure the safety of files stored on the cloud, Hedges said it is good to check out the encryption that each cloud provider offers.

    Encryption essentially scrambles the files that are uploaded to the cloud and transfers them safely from the computer or device to the service so that only the service or user, and not other parties, can access it.

    “Not all services provide the same level of encryption, so it’s good to know what that is when you go in,” Hedges said.

    To reliably protect important information, Hedges advocates what he calls the 3-2-1 backup approach.

    There should always be three copies of each file, according to Hedges. Two of the copies are on-site, but on separate devices. The third copy is off-site in cloud storage.

    “That is the most reliable way to ensure that if you have a problem with your local computer storage, you have maybe an external hard drive where you have your second copy. And if your house burns down, heaven forbid, you have a copy on the cloud where you could fully recover,” Hedges said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Cheyenne Lentz Producer
  • Paul Hedges Guest