a user inquires about the location of cloud storage. and how secure is it?

On hard drives, 'Cloud' data is saved (much the way data is usually stored). Yes, it is probably more secure than traditionally stored data.

What distinguishes cloud storage? Instead of being stored directly on your own device (the hard drive on your laptop, for example, or your phone), cloud-based data is stored elsewhere — typically on servers controlled by large corporations — and made available to you over the internet.

When most people consider cloud computing, they see internet-connected public clouds managed by companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. (If you use Gmail, Dropbox, or Office 365 from Microsoft, you use a cloud service.) However, there are also consumer clouds that, for instance, store your images and social media posts (think Facebook or Twitter) or your music and email (think of Apple or Google).

Each of these businesses has global cloud computing platforms, consisting of interconnected computer servers and storage devices. More than a billion people are able to connect with Facebook's technology. Your data is saved on their computers, which are typically located in a data center close to your residence.

Individual businesses can also have private clouds, to which employees and clients typically gain access via the internet and their private networks.

Aside from storage, computing clouds can also handle data differently; their specialized software permits the distribution of workloads across multiple machines. Consequently, your Facebook images, for instance, do not have a permanent home on a certain chip and may migrate between computers.

This is significant. Computers can operate closer to their maximum capacity when multiple programs are running concurrently and the workload is distributed. As a result, it is far more efficient than standalone computers performing a single task concurrently.

For the people operating the computers, it does not matter where the data or programs are located at any given time, because they are running within a 'cloud' of processing power. Therefore, in an ideal situation, if one machine breaks, the operation shifts to another portion of the system with minimal downtime.

Today, cloud computing is ubiquitous, which is one of the causes for people's security concerns. We hear more and more frequently about hackers using the internet to steal the personal information of thousands of individuals.

The majority of these attacks, however, target traditional servers. On the largest public clouds, none of the most catastrophic hacks have occurred.

Your data may be safer in the cloud, just as your cash is probably safer in a bank vault than in a dresser drawer. It provides enhanced security against criminals.

In the case of the largest public clouds, protection is provided by some of the world's top computer scientists, recruited from institutions such as the National Security Agency and Stanford University. These computer scientists are tasked with considering security, data encryption, and the most recent online fraud.

And they do a decent job of ensuring online security.

They have been so far, at least.

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