What is Online Data Storage? Video

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  • 0:03 Online Data Storage
  • 1:15 Benefits
  • 3:10 Challenges
  • 4:39 Online Storage Providers
  • 4:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Martin Gibbs

Martin has 16 years experience in Human Resources Information Systems and has a PhD in Information Technology Management. He is an adjunct professor of computer science and computer programming.

This lesson covers online data storage, a useful tool for data backup. It can replace traditional backup methods, including on-site, off-site, and physical backups and is a cost-effective and secure method of storing data.

Online Data Storage

It can cost a company a lot of money to store data on-site, and every day someone loses their entire family photo album. Online data storage is a virtual storage model that lets users and businesses can upload their data across Internet channels to a remote data network. Data is stored in the cloud, or stored on servers that are not owned by the person using them. Other users can also access the same infrastructure. It's like a cloud in that we can all see the same cloud in the sky but no single individual owns it, yet we can each access it.

Unlike a USB drive, external hard drive, or flash drive, users do not need to carry around a physical device to store their data. They just have to remember a password and trust the security of the service provider.

Online storage is a viable option for data backup: it provides both security and convenience to the end user. Small businesses and individuals may not have the network bandwidth or the resources to maintain a strong on-site storage and retrieval system. Further, online storage may alleviate the need to have physical backups of the data: the storage solution provider may already do this at their data centers.


There are many benefits to online data storage, including cost, data integrity, automation, syncing, and security.


Backing up data is not cheap, given the cost of equipment and human resource needed to maintain servers, hard drives, or backup tapes. Online storage providers offer very large storage space for low monthly fees that lifts the burden from the small business or individual.

Data Integrity/Data Transfer

With online data storage, data is easy to move and transfer. If an organization moves offices, the data loss is minimal - as long as everyone has saved their information to the online service provider! Additionally, the onus of physical data protection falls to the storage provider. Organizations need not worry about natural disasters wiping out their physical location and the data stored there.

Automation and Syncing

For the individual user or the small business, backup procedures don't always get completed on a routine basis (if at all). Some individuals back up data to an external hard drive located in the same room as the main computer. In the event of a fire or other disaster, that data backup does no good.

Online storage providers can set up an automated solution that will back up data on any schedule. The business owner or individual no longer has the headache of remembering to run a task or scramble to find backup tapes. Everything is saved to the online storage site. For individuals on-the-go who have multiple devices, online storage can provide syncing, where data can be downloaded or updated across multiple devices, thus ensuring the latest version is in use.


Cyber-crime threatens everyone, from the sole user to the largest organization. Business and end users alike feel confidence in online data storage solutions, since there are whole teams of security experts working for these organizations ensuring data security. After all, if the organization experienced a breach, it is their organization that can suffer greatly.

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