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Internet storage is storing files, folders and documents online. Internet storage service or online storage services let you upload important files to a web-based server and access them from any of your other computers and mobile devices; this is a brilliant resource for businesses.

They usually use a virtual drive that exists on your desktop in some manner, and it is linked directly to your online storage space. The contents of this virtual hard drive remain in sync across all of the desktops, notebooks and mobile devices on which you have installed the client software.

You designate which files or folders that you want to be part of the virtual drive; everything on that drive is then automatically uploaded to an online server. From there it is accessible (by logging on with a username and a password) from your other devices, either from another installed version of the application, or via a web interface. And you can grant other people access.

Five services that store, sync and share your files from many options are:

DriveHQ, Dropbox, OpenDrive, SpiderOak and ZumoDrive.

You can review them using their desktop front-end clients. Most of these also offer paid upgrades.

Incidentally, until recently Microsoft offered its own data synchronization service, called Live Mesh, but it's now defunct. Another Microsoft service, Windows Live Sync, doesn't have direct syncing access to an online storage space. However, features of Live Mesh have been incorporated into the upcoming version of Windows Live Sync as part of Windows Live Essentials.

The new Windows Live Sync will give you 2GB of online storage for syncing files. Unfortunately, the next version of Windows Live Essentials won't run on Windows XP.

A note about security: While all of these services employ some basic means of password protection for your files, and most offer assurances that your files travel over ‘secure connections', the fact of the matter is that you are still uploading your personal and business files to a remote server. So beware.

Disasters both natural and human-caused can fry your computer at any time; a fire, flood or power surge all threaten to destroy your most precious files – think digital photos, music libraries and text documents. Beyond natural calamities, there are numerous other threats to locally-stored data, including accidental erasures, hard drive failure and theft. Since there’s no way to predict if and when disaster might strike, storing copies of your files in the cloud through online storage services is the best way to protect them.

The benefit of using online storage services doesn’t end at file protection. In fact, a large appeal of such services steams from convenient accessibility. Cloud storage services give you access to your most frequently used and important files no matter where you are. Whether on your Smart-phone or work computer, you can access, view and edit your stored data.

As the online storage space continues to evolve, the industry becomes more saturated with competitors. Some of the most robust and flexible online storage services available include JustCloud, SugarSync and Egnyte HybridCloud.

Online storage services should provide practical features that make uploading and sharing your files easy and convenient. For instance, the service should provide folder sharing, offline syncing and file version in case you lose the most recent version of a stored file. Additionally, there should be backup options so files are automatically updated whenever you make changes, and you should have the ability to restore any file you delete from your account.

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