Back then, the thought of watching movies on a phone was absurd — our connections were too slow, or they took up too much space. Today, binging movies and TV shows in bed is common, and if we still buy movies, many of us are choosing to eschew physical media for digital copies that can be watched anywhere effortlessly. But what do we do with all those DVDs gathering dust in our living rooms?
When it comes to getting your media into the clouds, your options are somewhat limited by the type of content you are hoping to digitize. Ripping CDs is a simple and largely unrestricted process, and there are some music services that will let you upload to their cloud and mix your library with their streaming library for the best of both worlds — though they are slowly disappearing.
Digitizing movies is a bit more complicated or a bit more expensive depending on the route you take. You can either pay to convert your movies to certain digital libraries, or you can use specialized software to rip your DVDs and Blu-rays to a digital file that can be stored in the cloud and streamed.
If you don’t want to hassle with uploading what you already have, you can still enjoy most of your movies on one streaming library or another.
Plex is hands-down the most comprehensive service for taking your personal, private media into the cloud. This service allows you to turn one computer into a personal media server for the rest of your devices. Plex can stream music and movies that you have owned and ripped yourself and will help you organize and stream them to all your other devices, for a monthly, yearly, or one-time lifetime subscription fee.
Google play music manager
Google currently has just about the best free streaming music locker service on the market right now. Regardless of whether you subscribe to Google play music’s paid catalog, Google play music allows all users to upload 50,000 songs to their play music library and stream them for free across most mobile and desktop platforms, as well as Google Home, Chromecast and Android TV.
You can upload songs through a Chrome extension, but this is rather tedious for large libraries. For moving over your whole music library from a local folder or iTunes, you’ll want to use Google play music manager, which will upload your music in the background on your Windows PC while you go about your day.
Uploading and downloading music in Google play music
Yes, Google has a shiny new music service called YouTube music that is allegedly taking over Google play music, but that’s not happening for years, and if it does, your music locker will migrate over to YouTube music, which is more than enough reason to upload to Google Play Music now, so you’re ready once the migration begins.
If you’d rather have your music in a cloud that you can access outside a dedicated app or already have your music organised just the way you like, there is another option you might want to consider: Google Drive. Granted, Google Drive only gives you 15 GB for free, but you can fit a lot of music in 15 GB, and you can use Google Drive for far more than just music, such as your documents and movies.
Once you upload your music to Google Drive, you can stream it using a number of Android music players that can stream your music directly from Google Drive, like CloudPlayer by doubleTwist. A number of third party file managers on Android can also use Drive as a media server to let you stream Drive movies on your Android phone, and of course, Google Drive is integrated directly into the Files app on Chromebooks.
Vudu Disc to Digital
Have an old blockbusters’ worth of DVDs you want to put into the cloud, but don’t want to hassle with ripping them all yourself? Well, Vudu will allow you to convert them into digital copies on its digital cloud for a fee — and movies from Movies Anywhere-eligible studios can then travel from your Vudu library to Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and more platforms for your viewing pleasure.
You can use Vudu’s Android app to scan the UPCs of DVDs you still have in the box, but you’ll have to be at the address associated with your credit card — can’t have you scanning boxes in the store, after all. If you have DVDs that were shifted to a multi-disc binder for easier storage or just lost the box somewhere, never fear! You can still convert your DVDs using a desktop computer with a DVD drive and the Vudu To Go application. The Android app is a bit more finicky than its desktop counterpart, but the desktop app is a bit slower since you have to insert every single disc you want to convert.
It costs $2 to upgrade a DVD to an SD copy or a Blu-ray to an HDX copy. To upgrade a DVD to an HDX copy is $5, which is still far cheaper than going out and buying a new Blu-ray. Not every DVD is eligible for the program, as studios have to agree to the service, but outside Disney, most mainstream movies are eligible.
For streaming your newly-digitised content, we have a plethora of options, but they can be broken down into two types: dongles and set-top boxes. Dongles aren’t as cumbersome to set up and can often hide behind your TV, but they don’t have as robust a UI, and often lack a dedicated remote. Set-top boxes are more expensive and take up more space, but they also can have greater capacity, greater cloud service support, they all come with dedicated remotes.
Many Blu-ray players and Smart TVs come with support for the major digital platforms these days, so check and see what services the tech you already own supports before you go out and buy something new.
Protecting cloud storage
As cloud adoption continues to grow rapidly at the enterprise level, IT and security departments must provide for secure use of cloud storage and services.
Definition of cloud storage security
While cloud storage is convenient and gives employees access to their data anywhere, at any time, on nearly any device, cloud storage security is a top concern for organisations’ IT and security departments.
The benefits brought by cloud storage – from scalability and accessibility to decreased IT overhead – are driving rapid adoption at enterprises around the world, and there are steps that companies should take to improve cloud storage security and keep sensitive data safe and secure in the cloud.
The need for cloud storage security
Businesses and enterprises use cloud services because they provide cost-effective and flexible alternatives to expensive, locally-implemented hardware. But conducting business in the cloud means that confidential files and sensitive data are exposed to new risks, as cloud-stored data resides outside of the limits of many safeguards used to protect sensitive data held on-premise. As such, enterprises must take additional measures to secure cloud storage beyond the sometimes basic protections offered by providers.
The rise of Internet of Things technology and the connected office has also made enterprises more reliant on cloud technology, albeit while driving security risks.
Even smart printers have been found vulnerable to data leakage, and as more corporate devices become internet-connected, the potential for compromise or unintended leakage increases.
Cloud storage security basics
As enterprises move further along the cloud adoption curve, cloud storage security is becoming a top priority – both in enterprises’ IT architecture and information security strategies. Companies now recognise that it’s critical to protect sensitive data while enabling employees to enjoy the performance and flexibility of the cloud.
Cloud storage providers and enterprises share responsibility for cloud storage security. Cloud storage providers implement baseline protections for their platforms and the data they process, such authentication, access control, and encryption. From there, most enterprises supplement these protections with added security measures of their own to bolster cloud data protection and tighten access to sensitive information in the cloud.
Cloud storage security challenges
One of the biggest challenges with cloud storage security is that employees use free file sharing and cloud storage services that are not approved by the organisation and may not meet minimum security standards. Knowingly or not, employees can put company data at risk by using these services, particularly without the IT department’s knowledge or approval.
In addition to implementing security solutions to protect sensitive data against unauthorised access or egress and enforce cloud security policies, it is critical that organisations educate their employees on the risks posed by sharing and storing information in the cloud. Additionally, organisations must take the appropriate security measures to mitigate cloud storage security risks introduced by employees who may inadvertently use services and applications that don’t meet the company’s security standards.
Cloud storage security solutions
Data protection solutions for cloud storage security provide complete visibility and policy-based control over how data can be moved to and from the cloud, ensuring that only authorised data leaves the company’s environment and that data access is limited to authorised parties. In doing so, companies can enforce stricter protections around sensitive data than what many cloud storage providers offer and provide a second line of defence in the event that a provider has a security compromise.
When choosing a cloud storage security solution, enterprises should be sure that it provides continuous monitoring and visibility for all data interactions with cloud storage applications.
Enterprise should also provide granular control over file movement based on browser and OS events involving file sharing and cloud storage sites, integrates with leading cloud storage providers to be able to extend data protection measures to data stored in the cloud, automatically encrypts sensitive data prior to egress, accurately classifies any data downloaded from web applications, and delivers forensic event logs for effective alerting, reporting, and policy creation.