Cloud Hosting Services: The Perfect Traveler’s Companion

Traveling with laptops and other portable computing devices is becoming more and more common. Not only are computers getting smaller, but we’re relying on them for more everyday functions. Yet any traveler knows the risk of bringing along expensive equipment. Computers rank among the most commonly stolen items when traveling. Leave it in the wrong place for just a second and it might not be there when you turn back. Replacements are not cheap, especially if needed immediately.

Yet the computer (or tablet or smartphone) itself might not be the most valuable item stolen. The files stored on the computer might be of great importance. While you can replace the physical computer, oftentimes you cannot replace the information stored on it. That’s why it’s important to keep a backup. But for the traveler there is another step to insure the security of files.

Cloud storage services

In the past few years many cloud storage services have popped up. These services, such as Dropbox, allow users to upload files to a remote server. These files are then stored by the service, and are accessible at any time, in any location, to the user. The benefits to the traveler should be immediately recognizable.

Cloud storages require no physical media beyond the computer accessing the files. There is no disk or even USB thumb drive involved. That is, even if your computer gets stolen your important files will still be there, immediately available to you. You just need to log in from a different computer and you’ll find them just as you left them.

Multiple device access

Perhaps the most convenient aspect of cloud storage services is the many ways users can access their files. While users typically upload files from their desktop or laptop computers, they can access those files from a number of devices, including smartphones and tablets. This makes cloud storage services far more valuable than USB thumb drives, since tablets and smartphones typically do not have USB ports.

The ability to access files from different devices also gives the traveler insurance in case of theft. If a traveler’s computer is stolen, she can log into the cloud service from a smartphone and change her password. That way the thief can’t gain access to those files stored in the cloud. It also allows her to access those files despite not having a computer. She can then transfer those files to other cloud accounts, or download them and attach them to emails.

The ability to retain and easily access stored files, even from a different device, make cloud services a must-have for travelers.

Possible pitfalls

Cloud services are still relatively new, and so aren’t 100 percent reliable. There are some issues surrounding security. Just this past summer Dropbox was hacked, leading to a number of customer accounts being exposed. They have since responded, but the story shows that security can be an issue.

There are also potential reliability issues. Cloud hosting services typically rent server space from multiple data centers, picking up bits and pieces of storage wherever available. That means your don’t know exactly where your files are stored, and therefore the conditions of the data center. Again, this is a relatively small concern, yet a real one nonetheless.

The price is right

Travelers wanting to try cloud hosting services will find a nice little perk: many offer free basic level accounts. Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free, and runs a number of promotions that let users expand that free storage. Google Drive offers 5GB of free storage to start, and has upgraded storage at roughly half the price of Dropbox. That is to say, the price is right for those wanting to try out cloud hosting services.

Those looking for a bit more reliability and security can look to higher level options. IBM cloud hosting is enterprise level and will provide security and reliability that other services cannot. Of course, with those extra assurances comes a higher price tag. Only serious business travelers likely need anything resembling this level of service.

We encounter so many hazards when traveling, especially with expensive equipment. Even if you do everything you can to avoid theft, the possibility still exists. By backing up files in the cloud, you can retain access to them even if your computer is stolen. This beats a normal backup, because the files are there wherever you have an internet connection. Considering the introductory price, free, there is little reason for any traveler, serious or causal, to not start using cloud hosting services to store important computer files.