USING “cloud” to mean “internet” is just marketing, but don’t let that stop you using things marketed as “cloud backups”.

The next time someone says “cloud” to you, make sure you correct them.

“Cloud” is just another buzzword. It just means “internet”.

It’s become popular because it sounds much more interesting to sell something called “cloud backups” than it does to sell something called “internet backups”.

Backing up is, of course, essential.

If you don’t have your computer or your phone backed up, stop reading this right now and go and back it up.

Sooner or later, the tiny drive that stores all your data (including your work documents, your half-finished novel and your old wedding photos) will go kaput, and if you don’t have it backed up you’ll have lost the lot.

Online backups (whether you use the “cloud” word or not) are convenient for lots of reasons.

You can access them from anywhere, and any computer.

If you use them instead of backing up to an external hard drive, that’s one less gadget to have on your desk (although it’s better to have multiple backups if you can).

Backup software is better now, too. Mostly, it’s a case of set it up and forget about it. There are many services you can try, including OneDrive (, Backblaze ( and CrashPlan (, but my favourite is Dropbox (

It’s better because it works like a normal folder on your computer, even when you’re offline.

Anything you put in your Dropbox folder is automatically uploaded to the internet – or the cloud, if you insist – in the background.

It’s a brilliant backup because it doesn’t feel like a backup at all.

It just feels like you’re using your computer as normal.