Abstract – Storage is the core component of a computer. This article introduces the concept of cloud service storage, a storage service which allows individual users or organizations to access and modify their files through the network. However, the choice between advanced technology such as cloud storage and traditional local storage has become controversial. This article first introduces the definition of cloud storage and then supports the idea that cloud storage is a more suitable choice for personal computer users than local storage by explaining the advantages of cloud storage and local storage defects. Finally, this article makes a conclusion and provides predictions and suggestions for future research on cloud storage.
Why Personal Computer Users Should Choose Cloud Storage
Data storage plays an important role in our daily use of computers. But there is always the debate about which kind of storage method is the better choice. Some people support that traditional local storage is more reliable and some people disagree with that point. Local storage is defined as the hard drive that directly accesses and stores data on computers. In contrast, cloud service provides cloud data storage for ordinary personal users. Cloud service is the collection of shared resources that can be easily accessed through the network. As the infrastructure of cloud service, cloud storage is defined as a storage service which allows individual users or organizations to access and modify their files through the network .
The goal of the most previous research was to investigate the way people store and manage data in business or organizations. For example, some companies are planning to use cloud service storage to completely replace traditional storage . Researchers investigated how cloud storage was used to improve the management of knowledge . But research on the way personal users store data is not adequate.
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The objective of this study is to explore why cloud storage is better than local storage for personal computer users. The remainder of the article is organized three sections. The first section introduces multiple advantages of cloud storage over local storage. The second section discusses the drawbacks of local storage. The third section concludes and makes predictions and suggestions about the future research of cloud storage.
One of the advantages of cloud storage is accessibility. For most U.S. personal computer users, the cloud storage vendors they are familiar with are Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and iCloud. These cloud storage providers allow ordinary computer users to read and store files without any storage devices. In general, the maximum capacity of attachments in the e-mail is 25 MB. When users need to share larger files with other people, they only need to log in to their own cloud storage service account and create a new team drive. All members who have access to this team drive are free to view or modify the uploaded files. At the same time, personal users can also share the link of the cloud file by email, which can allow recipients to no longer download and open attachments . It is simple for users to access the files by clicking on the link.
Another advantage of using cloud storage is cost-effectiveness. The choice of cloud storage vendors and the estimated storage space are based on personal needs. For most U.S personal computer users, the 5 GB storage capacity is completely sufficient if they just store some documents, photos, and other files, but storing some video files or applications requires more storage space. A commonly used cloud storage service provider such as Google Drive provides approximately 15 GB of space for free . In contrast, external hard drives are expensive. Therefore, in addition to commercial companies which need to process or share data in large amounts, cloud storage services are cost-effective, especially for most personal computer users with the need of small storage capacity.
The security of data is also an advantage of cloud storage. The reason why cloud storage security is higher than local storage security can be summarized into two sections. First, in general, hard drives used for local storage may lose data due to the physical damage, but cloud storage will not be affected by physical damage . Because the mechanism of cloud storage is based on dynamic distributed data management, which means that the data in the cloud is usually automatically backed up and stored in multiple data centers, and the storage location of the data could change over time . When one of the data centers is subjected to external damage such as storms and earthquakes, the data could also be well preserved. The second reason why cloud storage is more secure is that cloud storage has stricter access control. Anyone who accesses cloud data will be recorded and tracked by cloud storage vendors. In local storage, the administrator can access any data. However, in cloud storage, the user’s data is not accessible to the administrator . Today, cloud service storage may not be secure enough to meet the needs of the healthcare industry and large corporations, but the security of cloud service storage is enough for most personal users .
Cloud synchronization is a derivative service of cloud storage that helps users automatically synchronize files on local computers to the cloud server. This service allows users to automatically back up important files without the need for manual settings. So, when the locally stored file is lost, the user can recover the files through cloud synchronization . Recently, Google Drive has developed a cloud synchronization feature that allows the latest modified files to automatically replace cloud backup files. This solves the problem of forgetting to back up important files for most U.S. personal users .
Although local storage has the advantage of fast data transmission, the lack of convenience has become the reason why users still do not choose it. Compared to cloud storage, the local storage capacity is fixed. When users want to increase the storage capacity, they need to invest more money to buy hard drives. At the same time, when users need to view and modify data on multiple computers, it is inconvenient to use hardware devices to obtain files . There is another situation where users sometimes forget to carry external storage hardware when they go out, which reflects the limitations of physical device accessibility . Users can also choose to purchase extra storage hardware, but this not only increases storage costs but also reduces portability.
3.2 Lack of Safety
The safety of data is also an important factor that affects the choice of storage for ordinary users. In general, the storage hardware chosen by personal computer users does not help users automatically back up important files. Users could only back up data manually. Local storage is inconvenient and may cause potential damage. When users back up data in storage hardware, they are more likely to lose important files because of the aging and hard disk failure . Therefore, cloud storage with dynamic data distribution features can automatically upload backed up files and is less likely to lose data. The hard drive chosen by personal computer users is usually vulnerable compared to the cloud storage with data encryption and tighter access restrictions. As long as the computer is connected to the network, hackers will have the opportunity to invade the hardware. Therefore, for users with higher security requirements, local storage is not an ideal choice.
In general, cloud service storage is a more appropriate choice for individual users than local storage. These advantages of cloud storage over local storage and drawbacks of local storage could clarify this claim. As technology improves in the future, traditional storage methods will be gradually replaced by cloud storage. However, cloud storage is not perfect at this time. There are still some problems that cannot be ignored. For example, the limitation of U.S. home network bandwidth may affect the development of cloud service storage. And data is controlled by third-party vendors whose security regulations are sometimes not as perfect as ideal. So, more research should be focused on how to solve these flaws. Even though cloud storage still has some flaws, it still has the potential to become the mainstream storage method for future users.
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