Cloud Storage and Backup

Author: Robert W. Penry @ 2021


The Internet 

What is the internet.? It is the sum total of computers around the world that can connect to other computers. If you have the ability to send an e-mail message to someone else’s computer, then you have become part of the internet. The internet is just like telephones. The internet is simply a world-wide system for communication. However, you must have access rights to the various computers. For most, you need a username and password to obtain access. Some are open access.  When you turn on your computer, you often see a page such as Bing, or some other news page which is open access, usually with lots of advertisements. The internet is the technology that makes the connections possible – the system of lines, towers, microwaves, etc. 

Browsers and the World-Wide-Web

Once we make the connections, we need to be able to access the information.  We need a specialized program on our computer called a browser that is able to communicate.  Examples are Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.  Once the connection is made, we need to access the data via links to the data which is stored on files called websites on the computer. The vast amount of websites is called the World-Wide-Web. It is part of the internet. Websites are created by using specialized editing programs. This website ( was designed using a program called “WordPress”.  Websites use themes that control what they look like – colors, size of images, typeface, etc.  The theme for this website is “Astra”.  The editor used is called “Elementor”.  There are several programs that can be used to create a website, and dozens of themes and three major editor programs.

The Cloud

So what is the cloud?  Is it something different than the internet?  No!  It is part of the internet, but where most computers on the internet allow you access to see information, most do not allow you to store information.  Those that do are the cloud.  A cloud based computer allows you to upload information from your computer.  Some allow one-way only.  You can upload, but can’t delete or change information. There are two-way programs that allow you to upload, change and delete information on a cloud computer.  Some genealogy programs allow collaboration, with ability to add/change/delete. FamilySearch is a good example.
We know that the cloud exists. But if I upload a file, do I know exactly where that computer is on the cloud?  Is it in a building in New York?  Is it in a warehouse in Bangladesh?  I don’t know, and probably have no way of finding where the cloud computer is located.
Why does the cloud exist?  Because of money.  Most cloud storage is either paid for directly, or was included as part of a subscription service.  Microsoft gives you cloud storage, but you paid for it with your subscription for Microsoft Office. Do you use Microsoft One-Drive? If so, welcome to Microsoft “Cloud”.
Cloud storage is a business.  Suppose I am a large firm in Chicago.  I have over 50 terabytes of storage compacity, but I only use about 10 terabytes for my my business. I can then rent-out cloud storage of 40 terabytes for a fee!  The cloud is a mega-business with thousands of suppliers.  
Is the cloud secure?  Who knows?  It depends on the level of security of the supplier. If I had very sensitive financial data that could cause immense harm to my company if hacked, then I probably would not store it on the cloud. I doubt that top-secret military information would be cloud-based. At least, I hope not!  
Is data stored on one computer that is in the cloud? Probably not. Cloud data is normally stored in more than one location for security.  Any computer can crash. You can be assured that any data going to the cloud is probably saved and backed-up to more than one location.
Do I use the cloud?  Yes. I use a program for my personal finances and I backup to the cloud as part of the program’s features.  I have to trust that the program company is protecting my data. Could it be hacked? Maybe. Could it be viewed with a subpoena? Of course! Is the FBI and CIA watching my data? I doubt it.
Should you use the cloud?  Your choice, your data. But even if you use the cloud, consider additional backup.


 As you gather and enter information into any program, it is imperative that you back up your data.  There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours entering data and suddenly having a power failure and losing those hours of work.  Even worse is the possibility of a fire, flood, theft, or some other disaster that destroys precious data and documents.  A computer crash can destroy your program and its associated files. Because of these possibilities, there are ways to protect yourself.
You can backup by subscribing to a backup site.  Many of these sites install software on your computer that detects when you update your system, either by adding a new file or updating an existing file.  There are several of these available and the cost varies.  My backup site stores my information automatically on servers in multiple U.S. states.
Today many operating systems and programs offer cloud storage.
There are also backup devices that you can use:
     External Hard Drive     Another Computer (laptop, Tablet) 
                Thumb Drive   CD or DVD
                    SD Cards   
Scroll to Top