Internet technology is a fast moving and developing environment with no end in sight. With this growing Internet technology you might have heard about a little thing called The Cloud. As genealogist researching in a digital age, Cloud storage can be used as another arsenal in your electronic bag of tricks to assist in data storage, sharing and organizing data and most importantly, keeping your research secure.

So what is Cloud Storage? Simply defined, Cloud storage is available space on a remote Host’s server for the purpose of file storage. Much like you create folders on your computer’s hardrive to save your digital files to, a Cloud server is used to backup your files to a remote “hardrive” via an Internet connection.

The question is; as a genealogist how can the Cloud best be used and what are the Pros and Cons? I thought you’d never ask.

The Pros: Backing up your data regularly is essential and I would strongly encourage you to backup to more than one resource. Using the Cloud as one of your backup resources is the most effective and available storage solution. Why?

  • Storage is offsite. No worries about losing data to computer crashes or harddrive failures.
  • Often times initial Cloud Storage is FREE. Google Drive offers initial storage of 14gb free. OneDrive offers 7gb free. EverNote in addition to free storage, also offers some organizational utilities?
  • Cloud storage is almost unlimited.
  • Cloud servers are routinely backed up and they have extensive recovery plans
  • Software integration is easy, automatic and effortless.
  • For the genealogist on the go…information can be accessed and shared across devices and with other people, no matter your location.

The Cons: Not every Cloud has a silver lining and using the Cloud comes with some storm warnings. Lets face it; surrendering data to a third party comes with some risk.

  • Security Issues. Nothing on the Internet is 100% secure all the time!
  • Outages and other technical issues could prevent you from access your data.
  • Data can be hard to manage, so be sure you have a good filing system for easy access.
  • A strong and reliable Internet connection is essential. Wi-Fi is needed for remote access.
  • Threats of hack attacks are real. Do not store sensitive on the Cloud!
  • Accessing Cloud data through mobile devices on unsecure connections can put your data at risk.

Weather clear skies or rain clouds, Cloud storage is a modern and effective way to backup your research data. Cloud storage also makes it easier to share and access that data from any device at any location. As long as you are diligent, organized and educated about the technology you are using, you can be confident about using Cloud storage for your genealogy needs.