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What is cloud storage?

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Whether you’ve invested in a new iPhone or the latest offering from Samsung, insurance for a mobile phone is a vital step to protect it from being lost, stolen or broken. But what about the data you’ll store on there?

Business contacts, family pictures and videos can be irreplaceable. For many people, online storage (or cloud storage) is replacing traditional storage hardware in your phone.

With that in mind companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Dropbox will probably be bombarding you with messages about the benefits of their cloud storage.

This guide will answer some of your basic questions about cloud storage and help you decide whether it’s for you.


What is cloud storage?

Essentially, cloud storage lets you store your digital data online by allowing you to upload it via your phone.

Although you’ll be able to access and share data at any time it won’t actually be stored on your device.

Instead it will be held in giant servers at another location owned and operated by a company such as Google or Microsoft.

Along with mobile phone insurance, this is a good way to protect yourself in the event your phone is lost, stolen or broken.

A graphic of a cloud with binary code falling from it above a city scape

How does cloud storage work?

Storing photos, videos and other media on your phone will eat up its storage capacity and stop it from working efficiently.

So, if you keep getting messages saying you’ve got ‘insufficient storage’ then it’s probably time to consider freeing up by space by using cloud storage.

Many phones come with a cloud storage app installed but if yours doesn’t then download and register one from your chosen provider (there’s no limit to how many different cloud storage providers you can use).

The app or software will then let you either backup your files manually as you go along or will let you backup certain folders (photos for example) on an automatic basis.

Once your files are backed up you can delete them from your phone and free up more space.

You can then access files through the app or online storage account. This also lets you share videos, photos or other documents with others without sending them a potentially large file. You can just send them a link to the file online.


Pros and cons of cloud storage


  • Easy to use – the big tech companies have put a lot of money into cloud storage and that’s reflected in usability. Even the most tech-averse person can use these services.
  • Makes sharing and collaboration easier – rather than sending large files, simply send a web link.
  • Accessibility – files can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Emergency recovery – if your phone is lost, damaged or stolen you can use your backup data to restore important files. Cloud storage could also keep your data safe from thieves; particularly important if you’re storing business files.
  • Virtually unlimited storage – if you need more space then you can keep adding more and more capacity (at a cost).


  • No offline access – if your internet goes down then you can’t access your files.
  • Data security – are your files kept safe and private when stored remotely? The possibility of your data being in someone else’s control makes some people nervous.

A diagram of a cloud linking to various devices

Is cloud storage safe?

The main concern about using cloud storage is security – will your data and files be safe? The main threat to your security is if your account is hacked and your files are stolen or sensitive data used for identity theft.

Cloud storage companies protect your data by using three levels of encryption to prevent anyone unauthorised from accessing your data.

In addition, companies use two-step verification to make sure you’re the only person who can access your account.

This usually takes the form of a text message sent to your phone to prove you’re the authorised account owner.


Steps to keep your cloud storage secure

When storing information in the cloud, make sure you take the following steps:

  • Keep your password secure – change it regularly and use a variety of passwords across websites.
  • Don’t use predictable passwords – pets’ names are out. Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use a password manager – these are handy if you have lots of different passwords to remember.
  • Turn off auto-upload if you’re worried about sensitive data being uploaded without your knowledge.
  • Keep anti-virus software up to date.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious phishing emails – someone could be trying to get access to your data.

A cloud graphic with a secure lock in it

How much cloud storage do you need?

This really is a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question. The amount you need entirely depends on what you’re using it for.

Backing up some Word documents and emails shouldn’t take up much space so 5GB is probably enough (most cloud storage providers include this in even basic accounts).

However, if you’re looking to store music, video or photo files then you’ll probably need a fair amount more. Exactly how much more will probably depend on the resolution and quality of your files.

The higher resolution or better sound quality they are the more space they’ll take up.

As a best estimate, 25GB will let you store around 8,000 smartphone photos, 150 smartphone videos (around 1 minute each) or 7,000 music files.


Mobile phone insurance with Gadget Cover

Carrying your phone with you all of the time clearly means your device and its contents are at risk. So, while your data might be protected by cloud storage, you’ll also need insurance to protect your phone.

Award-winning insurance policies for mobile phones arranged by Gadget Cover include protection for things like accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage.

For an additional premium, policies can also cover your phone against loss.

With over 25 years of experience, the team at Gadget Cover are specialists in finding the right cover to suit your individual requirements.

Cover can also be extended to your immediate family, any accessories (up to £150) if they’re lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone, and worldwide cover up to 180 days in any one year.

Get a quote from Gadget Cover today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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