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Cloud storage: The consumer's best friend?

Livedrive offers consumers and SMBs unlimited storage for all their documents, movies, music and more. Users need to start taking backups into their own hands.

Storing files on your hard drive alone is risky since hardware failures can result in losing of all your data. The best way to back up your information is to store it in the cloud--or at least somewhere other than your local system. And there are plenty of options to choose from if you go the cloud route--online storage is hardly an underserved area.

Livedrive cloud storage I was recently briefed by U.K.-based start-up Livedrive, which is targeting consumers and small businesses and boasts more than half a million customers.

Even though it's not marketed as a replacement for the vast and sundry applications we rely on daily, Livedrive is effectively turning the browser into an operating system. Customers can share their files between all of their computers and securely access them online from anywhere, including mobile devices like the iPhone.

This is a fairly crowded market with companies like Mozy and Box.net offering various services, but Livedrive's offering looks a lot more what we expect to see from the mythical GDrive--Google's supposed online storage system

Users can easily share and collaborate on docs, watch videos, and stream music--all within the Web browser. Livedrive also has Facebook, Flickr, and SmugMug integration for all you social butterflies. It's obviously appealing to have your music, movies, docs, and other files stored in the cloud--especially when you only need a Web browser to access all of them.

"Livedrive can be used by anyone, and we're constantly seeing new and innovative ways that people use our service to make their lives easier," CEO Andrew Michael said.

With services like this cheap and readily available there is no reason consumers can't backup and manage their own data. After all, you can't always trust the "experts."