Week 20: Cloud Storage

I know I don't have to remind anyone that the school year is quickly coming to an end. The countdown has already begun and we're down to single digits in most schools!

The end of the year is a busy, busy time for everyone. One of the most important things in our district has always been to "back up your stuff!" before the computer gets re-imaged. This year, though, our teachers have laptops that they will be using throughout the summer. In many cases, the computers won't even need to be re-imaged. So even though the urgency to back everything up isn't as ... well, URGENT ... it's still a good time to think about creating backups of your files.

In years past, we have encouraged people to save a copy of all of your files to a flash drive, to a CD or DVD, or even to a portable hard drive. These are all still viable options, but flash drives get lost. CDs and DVDs get scratched or broken. Portable hard drives get dropped. Yes, all three of these things have happened to me. And guess what ... when these things happen, the files are gone. Forever.

Instead of saving your back-up files to removable media, I encourage you to save them "to the cloud." Cloud computing, in the simplest terms, is storing and accessing data over the internet instead of just on your computer's hard drive. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and DropBox provide server space for our files. We save and access those files through the internet.

Technically, you don't actually need a hot air balloon to store your files in the cloud, but the first 30 seconds of this Public Storage commercial makes me giggle.

Cloud Storage Options

Our school district is a Microsoft Office 365 district, which means that the most obvious choice for us is OneDrive for Business.

What Should I Save?

Generally speaking, you should create back-up copies of anything you might need again! Most people will have files saved into their Documents folder and on their desktops. Some will also have files saved into Pictures, Music, and Video. You may also want to consider creating back-ups of files that are saved on common drives (like the campus network drives.)

If you've installed fonts on your computer, you may want to make back-up copies of those as well.

Traditional Back Up Methods

Although this week's "Techy Tool" focus is all about Cloud Storage, some people still prefer to use more traditional methods to back up files. There's nothing WRONG about this choice, but if you lose the device or don't have a way to access it, your options for accessing the files may be limited.

Backing Up Files ... NOT just at the end of the year!

Even though I'm sharing this information with teachers near the end of the school year, storing files in the cloud is a good practice all year long! From time to time, technology equipment fails. If your files are only saved on that desktop computer, or laptop, or tablet, or phone, then you may be completely out of luck. It's always a good idea to have back-up copies of important files and documents, and saving them to the cloud is a great option!

What do you think?

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