Don’t Depend on that Flash Drive: Embrace the Cloud

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Heart-shaped Cloud

I all too often see or hear about a faculty member losing or damaging their flash drive, or a file is lost or corrupted.  Even saving files on your laptop or desktop hard drive is not always safe.  Your computer might become infested with malware, the hard drive might fail, or you might damage your laptop by dropping it or spilling a liquid on it.  You also might simply forget to bring your flash drive or laptop to class.  What then?

I stopped using flash drives and stopped merely saving files on my hard drive years ago because of these scenarios.  I save all my important files in Google Drive, which is a cloud file storage system.  “Cloud” means the files are saved remotely on another computer server accessible on the Internet.   In essence, your files are backed up online.  There are other free cloud options, too, like Dropbox, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive (supported by Valencia College).  And you still may wish to keep copies of files on your flash drive, because one weakness of cloud storage solutions is that if you go to your classroom and the Internet is down, you will not be able to access your files on the Internet.

Here is some information about how you can store or backup all your important files in the cloud using Google Drive or OneDrive at Valencia, and so if you do lose your flash drive or your laptop or desktop computer fails, you will still have access to your files.

Using Google Drive

Google Drive

Google Drive will provide 15 GB of file space for free.

To use Google Drive, you need a Google account, such as a Gmail email address or Youtube account.  If you do not already have one, you can create a Google account before proceeding.

Go to the Google Drive website ( and click the blue ‘Go to Google Drive’ button to sign in with your Google account and get started.

Here are some tutorials and videos to help you get up to speed with using Google Drive:

See especially how to backup and sync files from your computer with Google Drive.  This involves downloading and installing a special app from Google called “Backup and Sync.”  The app creates a special folder called “Google Drive” on your computer and then runs in the background syncing anything in that folder with Google Drive.  This way, you can always save your important files to the special Google Drive folder on your own computer, and they will automatically be backed up to your Google Drive in the cloud.  When you edit a file in your Google Drive folder and re-save it, the new version will instantly be backed up, too.

Even if I drop my laptop or damage it some other way, I don’t have to worry about any of my files being lost, because they are all backed up to my Google Drive.  And when I go to a classroom, I can just use a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Edge) to go to and login with my Google account and access and download any of my files.

Using OneDrive at Valencia College

OneDrive for Business

Valencia College officially supports Microsoft OneDrive for Business, as part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, available for free for everyone at Valencia.  Using OneDrive to backup your files is a bit trickier than Google Drive, especially since we use a different account to access Office 365 ( than we use for regular webmail.

But, you can still use the web interface to OneDrive for simple uploading and downloading of files and folders for backup.

To access the OneDrive web interface, login to Atlas and hover over the “O365/Email” button on the top right and select “Office 365”:

Select Office 365 in Atlas

Next, click on the 9 dots button on the top left and click on the OneDrive button:

Select OneDrive button

Now you are in your main OneDrive file space area, where you can click on the “Upload” button to upload multiple files or a folder:

Upload files to OneDrive

Here are some more tutorials about OneDrive for Business:


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