Do I need to back up files that are already in cloud storage?

Do It Yourself Alternatives

If you're leery of cloud storage providers, or don't want to pay someone else for the service, you can make your own cloud storage system.

A personal cloud is centered on a network attached storage (NAS) device. You can buy a hard drive specialized for use as a NAS or adapt an extra computer. Essentially, you're setting up your own private, local data backup and connecting it to the Internet to share as much or as little as you choose.

The advantage to a personal cloud is that everything is under your control and in your possession. Your NAS is in your home or office. You have the one-time cost of the hardware, but no monthly storage fees. You use your own network to access your data anywhere you have an Internet connection.

The main disadvantages are what prompt many people to choose cloud storage in the first place: You have to remember to back up your data. You might make a mistake. And if disaster strikes your home or office, you've lost everything.

All storage solutions involving the cloud require a good Internet connection. People who have no Internet connection or weak broadband probably aren't going to find it possible, and certainly not convenient, to use cloud storage. Saving data into the cloud strains a weak Internet connection, and retrieving it would be too time-consuming.

These people must depend on the old-fashioned ways of backing up their data. They can copy it to an external hard drive, a USB (universal serial bus) flash drive or onto CDs, and store it in as safe a place as possible.

People who don't completely trust cloud storage can also resort to such old-fashioned backups.