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Make full use of archiving services

Finding a place to safely store all of your digital and electronic data can be difficult, particularly if you use that data for your business. Whereas previously data archives had to be stored on flash drives, CDs, DVDs or in hard copy, online archives have created a unique, convenient method of storage and retrieval.

What are online archives?

Online archives are a service provided by a hosting company that allows consumers to store electronic files for a monthly fee. It is similar to renting a storage unit to keep spare furniture; the only difference is that storage space is calculated in megabytes rather than square feet.

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The major benefits of using online archives are convenience and security. By simply inputting your username and password at the archival service, you can enjoy immediate access to your files. Furthermore, you don't have to worry about losing CDs or crashing your hard drive, because your data is safely stored elsewhere.

What can I store in online archives?

Of course, you can store documents in online archives, but that's really just the beginning. Any digital media can be stored in an online archive – photos, videos, Web pages, MP3s. These items can clutter up your hard drive, causing your computer to run slower and slower and limiting workflow. Copying the files to flash drives or CDs simply transfers the storage and organization problem from your computer to your office. Keeping such media in an online archive allows you to store it without sacrificing space, time or efficiency.

Popular types of online archives are:

  • Photo Archives: With the popularity of digital cameras, everyone is a photographer these days. You might snap hundreds of pictures a week, but where can you store all those beloved snapshots? Photo archives allow you to store and categorize your photographs until you need them again. This saves you the trouble of printing off every picture you take or trusting your hard drive to manage all of that extra data. Many of these online archive services allow you to create folders for different types of photographs: one for family, another for friends, yet another for nature shots and so on.

  • Internet Archives: There are a number of reasons why you might want to use Internet archives. Perhaps you own a website and you want to back up all of your website data in one secure location. Or maybe you would like a place to store online articles, blog posts and other data for later research. You can use Internet archives just the same way as you would photo archives, though you might be saving different types of data. Most of these online archive services will allow you to save any type of file, from PDFs to GIFs to DOCs.
  • Music Archives: Music has also changed radically as consumers depend on their MP3 players and other musical devices to store music files. Music archives allow you to store songs in various categories and shift them between devices whenever you wish. If you are an artist, you can use music archives to store recordings and demos for future use, or to save experimental music you've created but aren't yet sure how to use. Music archives can also be beneficial to the typical consumer who enjoys listening to MP3s on the way to work or who likes to download ringtones.
  • Video Archives: You might also want to use online archives for video clips. Video archives might take more storage space, which means it can be more expensive to store this type of material. However, you can use video archives to store YouTube clips, home movies or any other video you might want to keep on hand to recall at a later date.

Written by Steve Thompson