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Cloud ComputingWe’ve all been there. Trying to get something very important done on a computer with a deadline fast approaching when something goes wrong and suddenly your data is lost. We panic, we mash buttons and we cry but the reality is none of that is going to bring back our valuable information. Once we gather ourselves and redo hours, days, weeks, months or years worth of work, we vow to never lose data again. So how can this be prevented?

Saving your data or backing up to the cloud is a great way to prevent data loss and much easier and cheaper than most people realize. In fact, if you’re currently using a Gmail or Microsoft email account you already have access to free online storage. Let’s examine the best and easiest ways to ensure that you don’t lose your data again.

As I mentioned, if you use an email with one of the major providers you already have access to a large amount of free online storage. While there are several other options I will focus on Google and Microsoft accounts as they are two of the largest providers. For Microsoft, you have what is called OneDrive. This is selectable from the app icon, in the upper left corner when logged into your email or can be accessed by going directly to Once you have opened your OneDrive all you need to do is upload the files you want backed up. Google works similar to this with what they call Google Drive. From inside your Gmail, simply select the Drive option from the app icon in the upper right corner or go to and upload whichever files you would like backed up.

Sound too complicated? Good news! There’s an even easier way. For OneDrive, with Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 you have the ability to automatically sync certain files with your OneDrive. Instead of saving the files to your Documents folder you would save them to your OneDrive folder. This means that while you work on them on your computer as normal, when you save the file a copy will automatically be stored to your OneDrive. Detailed instructions are available here.

For Google Drive to automatically sync, you need to download Google Drive for your PC, available here, and then from there you may use that like a regular folder on your computer. Instead of saving things to your Documents folder you would save them to your Google Drive folder.

Regardless of which platform you choose, there are several benefits to backing up your data to the cloud and avoid ever losing things again. The best part is, not only are your files safe but they are accessible from any computer, tablet or smartphone connected to the Internet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael Darmanin is the Chief Operating Officer with Sellstate Realty Systems Network, Inc.

For more information about Sellstate’s take on technology, visit