If you’re interested sharing files with friends, family, co-workers, or the world at large, you need to learn about file hosting. File hosting services are known by many different names. They could be referred to as an online file storage provider, or a cyberlocker, or usually as cloud storage. All of these refer to Internet hosting services that allow their users to upload files onto their servers, and then access them in the future from a different computer or other device that can browse the Internet. While some people use file hosting services to back up their own data in order to retrieve it if they suffer a catastrophic loss, others use it to share large amounts of data with others.
When talking about file hosting using cloud storage, the most basic kind lets users upload files directly from a personal computer to a central computer server located elsewhere. This is a very common way to have a backup of your information in case something happens to the hard drive in your computer, or the building that it’s located in. It’s like a virtual safety deposit box where you keep copies of all your important information, photographs, home movies, and other items that would be difficult to replace.
File hosting services offer redundancy. Redundancy refers to safety based on multiple versions of systems. In the case of file sharing, it’s simply multiple versions of your data. Many computer users make backup copies of their information on their own network, which guards against data loss due to a hard drive failure. That’s better than nothing, but if your home is destroyed in a fire, or you computer is stolen, both sets of the information are lost at the same time. By using cloud storage techniques, if either set of data is lost, the other is in a secure, remote location where it can be recovered.
Cloud storage transfers are accessible using HTTP or FTP protocols. HTTP is another name for the application that powers web browsers, and FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which requires a separate program in order to transfer information. In general, FTP transfers are faster than HTTP, and more secure.
File hosting has other benefits besides simple backups. If more than one person has access to the files that are stored in the cloud, everyone can get a copy of the files, alter them, and upload them in turn. This is similar to a Lazy Susan turntable that spins to allow diners take what they want as the food passes. There are many software programs that allow documents in the cloud to be altered by any authorized user while the document is updated in real time so that everyone that views it is always looking at it in its most recent version.
Cloud storage networks are easy for users, but they present complex problems for the companies that host them because the information on the cloud servers is distributed among many users. While users need almost instant access to their information, all the information from other file hosting customers must be kept secure on the same servers.
Data sharing, as we have seen, has been made easy through products such as Dropbox, Google Cloud, or Google Drive which one can set up with an existing mail id or profile, or through a newly registered account. All you require is a valid email account through which you can be contacted and additional users can be added to form a group that can synchronously share files over the service.
File storage using personal cloud is something that is understood mostly in the context of individual users because it refers to the stack of files that they can upload to the cloud and then access it on any device, from any location as long as they have a live internet connection.
It is highly customizable because a user can send invites to any number of individuals or other groups and also remove their privileges of sharing certain files and folders according to the user’s discretion. This can be done with a very few simple keystrokes and it will also be possible to access these same files on various other devices such as tablets or smartphones, as long as the file format is supported by this new device. This latter concern should not pose a problem in the contemporary setting where most services such as Windows suite are available on a lot of devices and, if not, suitably compatible alternate file formats can be chosen with a click of the cursor.
The customizability extends to controlling whether other users in the group are allowed to the whole file or only part of it, whether they are allowed make changes to it, and whether they in turn are allowed to share with others. This means you keep absolute control of the span of information being disseminated, and in what manner.
With the amount of user customizability these modern file storage packages offer, it is possible to use various commands, platforms, and applications universally, thus making it highly user friendly and applicable in various industry and business environments.
With many of the privacy and piracy constraints and fears being allayed by use of encryption, password protection, and restriction of the sharing among users through an administrator, the use of personal cloud has revolutionized sharing and accessibility.
Individuals who work remotely while traveling from different business areas and sites, telecommuting employees, and those who need to keep connected to their offsite work teams find that cloud file storage has made working seamlessly a breeze, provided the security of the systems are in place.
We have seen how damaging it can be for a file to be downloaded by someone without the authority to do so. Either because this individual has not paid for the view, or because he or she does not have the permission to view it because it contains classified information it is essential to put a stop to it.
Most file sharing services offer both free and paid versions of their services, with a free trial period of the paid service so the customer can decide if this is what he will be comfortable using and paying for.
One definite sign of piracy is that there is profit to be made from file sharing outside the above-board, direct way it is supposed to be done by the deserving parties. This particularly refers to DVDs of movies, music clips, images and multimedia that are not sold out in the open market, or are sold for a premium price. When a counterfeit of such a file is being shared for a lower price or for free so that the original copyrighted owner is losing out on revenue, it can be concluded that piracy is on.
When it comes to the notice of the rightful owner, the availability of such files can and should be put to a stop. For example, torrents downloads of some movies have had to be taken down because of disputes. The owner can also sue for damages and demand that a fee be paid. According to the laws of the land, sometimes even secondary liability may be found.
Piracy is not an unprecedented crime, and there have been cases fought in the intellectual property domain for a long time in history, in one form or another. It has to be established whether the administrator or primary owner cares whether the files should only be shared in an authorized manner, or if they want to turn a blind eye to unauthorized sharing.
With online storage being as prevalent as it is, and users being constantly reminded the threats to privacy and intellectual property in this field, it is indeed important for them to keep abreast of the best practices to be followed to leverage the advantages it so readily provides.
Online storage is relevant both for individuals who only use the internet for private and personal use as well as for groups who carry out operations for their respective employers or business concerns. It is even relevant to organizations which span many geographical locations and cut across several time zones.
The first and most obvious precaution to ensure privacy is to follow the rules of password creation and upkeep so that data may not be readily compromised because of neglect. We have looked at this closely while studying privacy and threats to it.
The next is a step that can be taken only when one figures out the nature of their requirements and business. Data may have to be house locally in house or remotely depending on the nature of the business. For example, a multinational corporation which has facilities in various regions will have information systems stowed away in its headquarters with access being provided to its offsite locations. Servers housing the information remotely have to be secure, provide plenty of space and cache so that the facilities accessing and using this information do not suffer from delays in operations due to complications in handling queries and databases. By understanding the specific needs and day to day operations such as traffic, and maintenance and editing requirements that online storage systems will have to cater to, it is possible to choose the appropriate form of storage.
Disaster recovery is a crucial aspect of online storage, as it is highly likely that a system however robust to begin with will cost a lot in terms of direct costs as well as sunk costs such as labour for upkeep. In addition to this, there is the possibility of accidents and natural disasters which might cause irrecoverable damage to storage systems, if there is no provision made for disaster recovery. Although remote storage is one of the most obvious solutions to this predicament, there might be more logical solutions depending on each case.
Some of the most comprehensive and user friendly tools to leverage online storage are Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net etc. They are highly scalable to larger or smaller groups as the need may be, and offer addition control to the administrator of a database for a nominal fee.
Depending on how many queries of reading, writing, and editing a storage system has to handle, it will have to be optimized in size and capacity. One of the most crucial performance metrics that can help one choose one system over another is recovery time. Also to be considered are upload speeds and transfer time.
Finally, the cost of a system is to be evaluated before choosing a storage tool best suited to a set of requirements.
When you share online, it is possible to set up a cloud account or sign up with some file sharing service that lets you host files online and access them at will. It sounds simple enough, as all you require is a working email id and a reliable internet connection in a secure environment.
But there are some threats that a user, particularly an uninitiated one, might fail to take notice of. One of them is the risk of placing the files on the cloud storage or online storage system for longer than necessary.
Particularly as the size of storage and information systems increases and much is done for their upkeep, sometimes users forget to cut out the deadwood. They just go on uploading files and fail to keep track of the ones that have become obsolete. While they may not be useful in the day to day operational level, they still clue in hackers and lurking cons as to information that should not, under any circumstances, fall into the wrong hands.
Failing to follow the instructions of password and security upkeep is something that some users might be guilty of. To counter this, service providers are quite insistent that the password be changed frequently, that past passwords are not repeated, and that users are careful about using virtual keyboards to throw off keystroke loggers that lurk in public computers. ‘Remember password’ is an option that many people check and then forget to remove, which results in multiple users of a single computer being able to view all the information intended for a single user.
To counter some of these threats, it is possible to pay a premium price and gain further control so that measures such as ‘remote wipe’ and permissions can be set up as necessary.
Why is privacy such a threat once a file is placed online? Mainly, because of the nature of the Internet itself; once information is placed on a network of networks, which is what the Internet is, it can be hacked into by anyone who has the necessary skills and passcodes. The only thing to be done, then, is to protect the files you share online with a reasonably strong password.
Everyone who has ever created an e-mail id or registered for a service online has been given the basic tips as to how best a password is created. Do include a few alphanumeric characters, make sure the password is at least a certain number of characters long, and do not choose a simple word that anyone can guess for your password. The list goes on for these instructions, and they are often instituted so that you do not throw yourself away without putting up a good fight against someone who can log every one of your keystrokes without your being aware of it.
In fact, the poll for the worst passwords each year turns up some ludicrous facts as to how the process of hacking is evolving. It is, for example, understood that the worst password that you can come up with is ‘password’ itself. Making your password a mumbo-jumbo of upper and lower case letters, special characters and digits is sure to render the mnemonics of remembering your password that much more challenging. But it may be worth it if you are able to keep your online data safe from prying third parties.
The Internet encompasses networks of various countries, geographical locations and disciplines with students, professors, chefs, programmers, spammers, crooks and cons all taking up a few bytes here and there. In such a case, it only makes sense that you not only begin by making a strong password, but by also making a combination of passkeys before get your information out in the open.
Hence, banks and financial institutions which handle highly sensitive and private data protect it with encryption. An average individual operating an account from any location has to verify that the computer or mobile device that he is using is safe before checking that the website URL that he is using is indeed the right one. Then, he or she may be required to answer at least two security questions, after providing the password, to be finally ushered into the domain they seek to access.
What can be seen as being overly cautious is merely an additional step in ensuring that a potential hacker is thrown off the track for lack of not providing all the pieces in the puzzle before the access is granted. For example, a passkey or code may be provided to a genuine user for one-time use, and this code is sent to the registered user on his registered mobile number, so that the chances of it being accessed by an unauthorized party are far slimmer than if only a single password is asked for.
This is true of bank accounts, blog portals, job portals, and many other forms of service and daily use. We have seen the efforts of data encryption and safety mechanisms provided to users to safeguard their own privacy when they choose to operate data or share online any media or files of importance.
Storing files online is much more popular than it was during the times of the floppy drive. As the clumsy structures of removable storage made way for cloud storage, the advantages of backing up files are more obvious than ever before.
Not only is the cloud backed up method of file storage less clumsy in terms of handling, the availability and scalability of the system is much greater than removable storage. Cloud storage is as simple as it gets for the user who is experienced in using different forms of virtual storage, as well as the user venturing newly from the clutter of compact discs and hard copies to paperless office spaces.
There are free versions of file storage available to individuals, small groups, and communities who form a virtual group for easy sharing. Even these free services offer paid packages that a user can opt for at a nominal price. Most services even allow the user to understand the differences between the features of free and paid storage services.
A basic free version of file storage would give you a limited amount of space once you register and make your own profile. File storage and sharing is simple and easy to understand.
A paid version of storage almost always guarantees that you get access to more space than you have with a free version.
Once you register for a paid storage service, you can continue to have access to all that controls you already have from your free plan. In addition, you can also access specialized services such as additional controls for adding or removing access to other people, and to particular files. Visibility of each item or file in a group can be managed at your discretion, and you can also add new files without making them public. Removing your files by logging in from any location can be an additional benefit you enjoy.
Whichever form of storage you opt for, do check the salient features and make sure that you are only paying for the amount of storage used in a given period, for example, a month. Also, be informed of various sizes and options among the plans on offer so that you can switch to larger ones as your requirements increase. For ease of operation, you can even request for a custom quote. Customer relations teams can set up a discussion in which you negotiate your rental plans and incorporate your specific needs, when you become a customer paying a premium price. Such a proposition makes for a win-win situation for your business and your service provider for the long term.
Most people who use the internet are familiar with Google’s services. So here we start our list with Google:
Google Drive has products that help you develop documents, presentations, spreadsheets, photos, and more. You can manage your money, accounts, stock market portfolios and other investments with the help of Google Drive. This whole bouquet of services is available if you have just one google id, so if you already use a gmail id, you can use the same for signing into all these other services as well, including YouTube. Any changes that you make to a file can be updated and saved instantly, so sharing the most recent file, or rolling back to a previous version, can all be done easily.
iCloud is a service made popular by Apple devices. This is a place where you pay for the amount of space you use, and it can be synchronized with all your Apple devices which means that the pictures taken on your iPhone or iPad can be viewed on your Apple TV immediately as long as they all have the same Apple ID, or if you have set up family sync. Now that’s cool!
Dropbox has been consistent in retaining its advocates because its applicability is so widespread, and can be used across various OS, right from Blackberry, Linux and iOS to Android and Windows. A basic free version of this service is enough for most people who use documents and spreadsheets, while those wanting to share movies, pictures and music will be more comfortable with the paid package which offers more space.
Box is one service that paid members will enjoy the most. The business person who likes to make quick changes, add comments in Google Docs and MS Office, and have everything at the fingertips through a plugin will thoroughly enjoy the efficacy of Box.
File hosting services are very useful. If you’re in business they’re essential. Personal users of file hosting services want to keep a copy on the cloud in case of catastrophic loss of date. For a personal user, that’s likely to be items like digital family photographs and similar items that can’t readily be replaced. Using a file hosting service is smarter than backing up this information locally. If the information on a personal computer is backed up by a desktop hard drive that’s wired to the computer, the computer user is only insured against a hard drive failure. Any disaster that affected the main drive would also affect the satellite drive. If the computer was stolen, or destroyed in a fire, the backup would be destroyed with it.
In the past, people would often back up important personal data onto disks, and then place the disks in a remote, secure location like a bank safety deposit box. That method worked well when information flows were small, but it’s not practical for modern backup. The important information gathered by a person daily has increased greatly, and for a business, it has exploded. The large volume of data generated daily needs to be backed up in real time on a file hosting service. Here is a short list of best practices for effective file hosting:
Concentrate on Object Storage
File hosting services are mostly based on storing objects. The word object in this case refers to data that isn’t dynamic. When a digital object is finished being generated or altered, it need to be stored as an object on a cloud hosting service in order to guarantee the ability to retrieve a copy of it if the original is unavailable. Most cloud storage utilities are not designed to offer dynamic changes to the data in real time. Running a database out of a cloud service isn’t practical, as the service is designed to deal with the storage of static objects that require retrieval from time to time, not twenty times per second.
Understand Web Acceleration
Give Queries a Path Structure
Any service that tries to retrieve information from a file hosting service will not be able to find one object in a cloud account by a ranking system. Everything stored on the account will be of equal value, so the entire hosting file would have to be searched to find any particular object. That slows down response time. Use an application that produces a virtual path through the stored information to increase the speed of retrieval. The objects will appear to be nested as they would be if they were place in conventional folders.
File hosting services are great solutions for businesses today. By moving away from older technologies such as email and file transfer protocol (FTP) services, businesses better enable themselves for success. However, for many smaller and less experienced businesses or larger companies that have already been using an older file transfer system for a long time, making the jump to the new cloud-based file hosting systems can be frustrating as well as intimidating.
Read on to find out everything that you need to know about file hosting solutions. Learn how you can make your company better today and ready to work on a global level with file hosting services being used.
Understanding File Hosting Services
Many people do not understand what a file hosting service does. File hosting services are online hosting services that allow users to upload their files. Once user files are hosted, different users can continue access their files no matter where they are. Rather than having to trade files back and forth or use clunky external hard drives, many individuals and businesses today are able to boost their productivity levels after starting to use file hosting services.
Most file hosting services allow you to continue to access your files on-the-go through the use of various tablets, smartphones, or other networked devices. If you have to work on multiple devices at once, you still do not need to fret. This is because you can access the same exact files through any device that you are using, provided that it has Internet access. If you know that you will not have Internet access later, you can also store your files locally for most types of hosting services. This way you can continue to work even if you do not have great Internet access where you are traveling.
Several online file hosting services also allow you to work on your files online. For example, Google Drive provides a large selection of apps that allow you to work on your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms. As you work on your files, the changes are updated in real-time. This is often what makes file hosting services also great collaborative workplaces. You can easily talk with your team members as several of you work on the same file at once. Everyone that has access to the document will be able to see all of the chances as they happen. There is no longer any need to send files back and forth any longer. You can always relax knowing that you have the newest version available.
Because file hosting services are meant for holding and organizing files, most of these services also include a great solution that helps you organize your files. Spend less time organizing and more time working.
One of the problems that come with file hosting services is that not all of them are safe and secure. Some of the file hosting services have had major security breaches in the past. When it comes to businesses in particular, there are always sensitive data that cannot be lost or leaked. Make sure that you do extensive research before you set your heart on a certain organization today.
Most file hosting services do not require any software to be able to work. You can also choose to share entire folders with your peers when they time comes around. If you are serious about helping your company develop on a larger scale, you need to look seriously at hosting services today. Many services will also provide different business functions such as automated process plans. Some notable options to consider looking into for businesses are Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. All of these have business packages available for different companies.