Cloud Storage – Good – Bad for Schools

Today everyone wants to be able to move files around more than ever before.  Kids and teachers work on assignments and projects at school and want to bring it home or the reverse.  Years ago (many) they would use a floppy (5.25 or 3.5),  it went to burning CD’s, to burning DVD and today people are using USB memory sticks.  As the technology changes so have the hackers, the newest threat is through those memory sticks everyone is using.   Kids being kids you never know what is on those keys and what damage it may cause the district.  You also need to be concerned about the type of information teachers may store on these memory sticks, as sensitive information can be lost if your not protecting the devices in some way.

A great alternative is cloud storage and there are many free services, but the one I trust and use is Microsoft Skydrive and Live Mesh that is in Beta and currently called Live Sync.   Skydrive is cloud based storage, it’s free with an MS LIVE ID and you have 25G available.  A number of applications that are included in LIVE ESSENTIALS 2011 use this storage as well.  The downside is that you have to move the files manually to skydrive.  Live Sync (Live Mesh) is just what you think, it will sync files or folders from one machine to another or to the cloud.  Currently Live Sync allows for 2G of cloud storage, but once Live Essentials 2011 comes out of  Beta you will have 5G of cloud storage to play with.  Kids and teachers can sync their files to the cloud for use at home and at school.

One item that has to be considered is if your firewall blocks Microsoft pages and how you have it set up.   These solutions fall under the LIVE.com address and if you have Hotmail blocked, you might have both Skydrive and Live sync blocked as well.

Just an idea to reduce your exposure to possible issues with USB keys.   The other advantage with the cloud is that the information is always available from anywhere, kids can forget or for that matter lose USB keys – the cloud is always there – no excuses.

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