The whole ‘cloud’ term has long been a pie-in-the-sky target for business users as a method of storing and securing precious data and files.As the dominant service providers (Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Microsoft and Apple as examples) offer cheap cloud storage the shift to storing valuable data offsite has become more affordable.Equally; as data connection speeds and traffic costs reduce, uploading volumes of data to cloud storage via your internet connection becomes viable – especially smaller data files.Simply: it’s never been easier or cheaper to consider keeping a data backup in the ‘cloud’.What is cloud storage? It is an online storage location – a virtual form of that USB thumb drive.What makes it awesome is you can access your data from anywhere you have an internet connection. This really starts to become of value if your computer fails, or you’re somewhere without your computer and need access to important files. Also, you can have background software on your computer that incrementally backs up your data to your cloud storage while you are working – so you always have a backup.Now to the hooks and catches, on both sides of the physical versus non-physical storage forms:Physical: While it’s great you’ve got your data backed up on a thumb drive or remote storage consider its physical security. What would happen if you dropped that USB drive in a carpark while you were travelling to a meeting – and someone picked it up and looked at the contents? Plus too the chances, that being physical, it will fail. You’ve probably encountered one or the other as real-world scenarios.Cloud (non-physical): Of course there are risks with online storage, the first being what if someone pulled the plug. The first answer to that is using a service provider that guarantees storage. They provide this assurance through redundancy (multiple copies in multiple locations) – so they back up your backups.Same too if their connection to the internet were compromised. As a paid service they will have multiple options to ensure continuity of service.Secondly, there is always the risk of hacking. That’s where using a premium service provider who uses secure and authenticated login to your data space are bare minimum standards. Same too with the password you use – it’s only as good as the security you place on it (keeping it to yourself, as an example).Dropbox were early leaders in multi-site file collaborations and as they set standards others marched in with similar services. For those using Google services their Drive space is a very effective and an included add-on for storing backup data.When you consider the importance of your data, having a copy in online storage along with a tucked-away physical drive really does deliver the ultimate solution. Especially when the cost of each is minimal and readily available.We’ve had recent instances where both have saved clients from disaster – at the highest level.In the case of cloud storage it allowed one user whose computer became unusable the ability to continue working with valuable files from another computer – using their existing Google account.Is your method delivering the best bang for buck?