“Cloud” data is stored on hard drives (much the way data is usually stored). And yes, it’s probably more secure than conventionally stored data.
What makes cloud storage different? Instead of being stored directly on your own personal device (the hard drive on your laptop, for example, or your phone), cloud-based data is stored elsewhere — on servers owned by big companies, usually — and is made accessible to you via the internet.
When people think of cloud computing, they often think of internet-connected public clouds run by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google. (If you use Gmail, Dropbox or Microsoft’s Office 365, you are using a cloud service.) There are also consumer clouds that, for example, hold your pictures and social media posts (think of Facebook or Twitter), or store your music and email (think of Apple or Google).
Each of these companies has cloud computing systems — computer servers and storage devices, connected with computer networking equipment — that span the globe. (Facebook’s systems can allow more than one billion people to interact with them.) Your data is in their computers, usually stored in a regional data center close to where you live.
Individual companies can also have their own clouds, called private clouds, that employees and customers access, usually over the internet and on their own private networks.
Storage aside, computing clouds can also process information differently; they have special software that enables workloads to be shared among different machines. Your Facebook photos, for example, don’t have a permanent home on a specific chip, but may move among computers.
That is a big deal. When workloads are shared, computers can run closer to full capacity, with several programs going at the same time. It’s much more efficient than stand-alone computers running one job at a time.
For the people running the computers, it doesn’t really matter where the data or the programs are at any one moment: The stuff is running inside a “cloud” of computing capability. Ideally, if one machine fails, the operation moves over to another part of the system with little downtime.
Nowadays, computing clouds are everywhere — which is one reason people worry about their security. We hear more and more often about hackers coming over the internet and looting the data of thousands of people.
Most of those attacks hit traditional servers, though. None of the most catastrophic hacks have been on the big public clouds.
The same way that your money is probably safer mixed up with other people’s money in a bank vault than it is sitting alone in your dresser drawer, your data may actually be safer in the cloud: It’s got more protection from bad guys.
In the case of the big public clouds, the protection is the work of some of the world’s best computer scientists, hired out of places like the National Security Agency and Stanford University to think hard about security, data encryption and the latest online fraud.
I have recently used R3D to retrieve data from an external hard drive.
I called Andy at 11pm on a Saturday after my hard drive failed, he immediately ran through the symptoms and calmed my fears that all data was lost, but was honest that data recoveries are not always successful.
I required the data immediately as it was for a deadline the following Friday, the issue was I was based in London and the lab based in Sheffield.
After searching all data companies in and around London none would answer my call on a Saturday. In fact no one else would answer my call or say they could look at my case on the Sunday.
I took the drive myself to R3D and was very impressed with their facilities. Andy also explained the whole process and what they were doing at each stage.
Unfortunately the hard drive had a physical failure and needed to be rebuilt to have any chance of recovering the information.
After starting the rebuild at 4pm on the Sunday, Andy advised it would take him and his team until the morning to know if any information was recoverable - fantastic I thought. Andy and Mark got to work on my drive as soon as I left and by 10pm on Sunday they had retrieved almost the entirety of the information of my hard drive.
I cannot reccomend R3D highly enough, they are clearly experts in their field and have a passion for what they do. Through the whole process Andy kept me informed of progress and explained everything they were doing.
If you have a crisis or any data recovery needs these are the guys you need!
R3 Data Recovery is rated (4.6) by 294 customer reviews on Reviews.co.uk