Thoughts // On Storage

"Never have your data saved in one location. Always make sure you have a backup. Lost or damaged files will not be accepted as an excuse for late work."

These statements were repeated by and to me as a professional, student and as a professor. Responsibility for managing your data was as important as any lesson that was taught on a day-to-day basis. Whether setting up a local RAID to mirror one's main drive or periodically burn DVDs capturing finalized data, I constantly managed processes that would ensure that my data was "secure". However when these practices were commonplace, the cloud was in its infancy.

Dropbox was my first exposure to remote storage. As a professor, it was used as a method of collecting student work. It shifted the responsibility of turning in work to the students. They were required to format their assignment in the correct file type and upload it on time. Storage was limited, but expanded exponentially each time a student accepted my invitation to Dropbox. It worked, but was not nearly as accessible as was needed to replace the flexibility of local storage. 

Enter Google Drive. A natural progression from the many other services offered by Google it was seamlessly accessible through the provided desktop client*. My initial use was limited to backing up existing data. However as time passed, I found myself using it more as I would use a local server, opening and editing files remotely. Google Drive allows me to access my documents on the go, easily and quickly. Even though a similar experience can be achieved with the use of an external hard drive, I found myself trusting in the services of Google. 

Cost and ease of use is a major factor in my acceptance of Google Drive as a primary replacement to physical storage devices. Google Drive costs approximately $3/month per 100GB of storage; an amount that goes unrecognized in my month to month expenditures. As economically as this service is, Google has created an ecosystem that is extremely flexible and easy to use, unchanged on whatever device I choose to access my data. 

While the importance of developing processes of managing data remains unchanged, the options available to us have grown exponentially. Google Drive is my primary choice today, although with new services being constantly developed and the ever present importance of redundancies, the way I access data will most likely change. Staying abreast of the available technologies and how to use them is the only way to guarantee the security of your data.  

*It should be noted that Dropbox, too, had a desktop client, however I never found the experience as satisfying as I have Google Drive.