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Definition: cloud storage


A backup and storage service on the Internet. Cloud storage providers generally let users upload any size and type of computer file. Also called "online storage" and "public cloud storage," a customer's files are downloaded to anyone's computer with a Web browser and password. Many providers are freemium based, offering a limited amount of storage for free and higher capacities for a fee. Some are entirely fee based.

Backup or Storage
Although any remote storage can be used to upload a file for backup, providers dedicated to "backup as a service" (BaaS) perform automatic uploading and may keep multiple revisions of a file. IDrive, Acronis True Image and Carbonite are examples. Professional storage services designed for sharing such as Box and Dropbox make it easy to invite people to download files. See media sharing site.

Synchronization
Keeping the same files in sync on every device of an individual user is another feature of many storage providers. Major companies such as Apple (see iCloud), Google (see Google Drive) and Microsoft (see OneDrive) include cloud storage and synchronization as an incentive to keep users within the fold.

Content Management/Delivery
Cloud storage providers that keep data for automatic downloading to a user's application or Web page fall under the "content management" umbrella (see CDN). See cloud computing, cloud storage gateway, cloud music storage, S3 cloud storage, Amazon Glacier, Google Storage and external storage.