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Is your stuff in the cloud?

  Forum Editor 12:13 21 Oct 2012

Do you use Cloud storage for your files, or are you nervous about the security of your precious data?

This might go some way towards reassuring you or at least prove interesting. Data storage has come a very long way in quite a short time.

  Forum Editor 12:29 23 Oct 2012


"Also as all this data is stored magnetically- I can imagine that at some future date when historians are researching the 21st century- there will be a big hole in the data due to Solar activity or EMP that wiped everything."

That's the doubt that lurks in the back of everyone who deals with data storage. There's no answer to it, because of course our current methods of data storage are vulnerable in several ways. We make constant server backups to protect against hardware failures, and we protect our secure data storage facilities against all kinds of threats, but that's not the full story.

The real worry is that the data will degrade over time, and unless we repeatedly copy to new media we will, in the end, lose the data. We are therefore locked into the repeat copy cycle - important data will have to be rewritten at intervals if they are to survive beyond the life of the media on which they reside. As things stand, tests on CDs and DVDs give life expectancies for recorded data of between 50 and 100 years, but nobody really knows for sure, and storage conditions (humidity and temperature) play a large part in the process.

Nobody knows about solid-state storage devices, or whether the life of the device is the same for the data stored on it.

What we do know is that it's possible to store data in other ways for very long periods. Clay tablets with cuneiform writing that were made approximately 3000 years BC in what is now Iraq are currently being decoded.

Perhaps in some areas we haven't come as far as we think we have.

  Quickbeam 12:38 23 Oct 2012

I would imagine that the average person's hard drive contains more data than the data of an entire 3000BC city had recorded over a thousand year period.

  Forum Editor 13:19 23 Oct 2012


I read somewhere (don't ask) that if you travel to work in a big city your brain processes more data in a week than the brain of a stone age person processed in an entire lifetime.

I wonder what the limit is, both for computer data storage and for the human brain, and do we all really need the hundreds of gigabytes of stuff that fills up our personal hard drives?

  Forum Editor 09:37 24 Oct 2012

Algerian peter

Security is a concern with any server, and the Cloud is no different in that respect. We use the word 'Cloud', but of course the servers on which our data are stored are in server centres all over the world.

Cloud providers use various methods to safeguard data. Google, for instance, makes its own, special storage servers, none of which are connected directly to the internet. In addition it fragments your data files and stores the fragments (which are also encrypted) on different servers. Hack into one server and all you'll find is a mass of encrypted file fragments.

The old saying that 'any lock can be picked' may be true, but Cloud providers go to great lengths to ensure that the stuff they store is as safe as modern technology can make it.

  SparkyJack 10:50 24 Oct 2012

Cream wrote ' I put all my stuff on a stick.' FE responded- 'OK until you lose it.'

In response to my input FE discussed the aspects of solid sdite storage and its durability.

A freind decided some time ago to put all his images onto sticks. Some of these are now more than five years old - and yes these oldest ones are showing signs of failure.

So constant revision and checking is the way. But wait its not that simple - every time a JPEG file is moved[copied] it is re-compressed and loses a little of its content. Yup at some future date our future generations will be wondering- what exactly did our forebares do in the 21st c

Some future despot will not have to burn the books- they will fade of their own accord.

  anskyber 14:43 24 Oct 2012

Yes, well in part at least.

Things of value are backed up to an external hard drive. I use the cloud for diary and my contacts only at the moment. I would send all my documents, pictures and music to the cloud but I am reluctant to pay for the service if I use more than my free 5GB allowance.

The real advantage for me in the cloud is the opportunity to do single entry for say a new contact with the entry automatically updated on my three other devices.

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