Just about everyone has had the unfortunate event of losing family photos, favorite music/movies, or important documents due to an unexpected hard drive fail. Well if you haven’t yet migrated your important data to “The Cloud”, well maybe now is the time. Cloud storage has been around for quite awhile and there are many options to choose from, let’s breakdown just a few of the best options.
What is the “The Cloud”?
“The Cloud” is an online digital hard drive service provided by a company. Cloud storage can provide greater accessibility and reliability; rapid deployment; strong protection for data backup, archival and disaster recovery purposes; and lower overall storage costs as a result of not having to purchase, manage and maintain expensive hardware.
Benefits & Disadvantages
There are many benefits to using cloud storage, most notable is file accessibility. Files stored in the cloud can be accessed at any time from any place so long as you have Internet access. Another benefit is that cloud storage provides people with off-site backups of data which reduces costs associated with disaster recovery. Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage to cloud storage is that users are limited by bandwidth. If your Internet connection is slow or unstable, you might have problems accessing or sharing your files.
Dropbox, alongside Box, made file-syncing a household term. Dropbox remains a superbly implemented, cloud-based, automatic, file-synchronization service that’s ideal for accessing and sharing data from nearly anywhere. You only get 2GB free to start, but you can earn more space through referrals and other tasks. Dropbox Pro plans cost $9.99 per month or $99 per year for 1TB.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Web, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire
Microsoft’s OneDrive has been quietly hosting people’s documents and photos for years. And all the while Microsoft has been honing the service. You’ll get 15GB just for signing up, plus the ability to earn more free space through actions and referrals. The company has made OneDrive a cornerstone of Windows 8, so users of that platform may find it one of the most convenient services.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, Xbox
Part online collaborative office suite, and part cloud storage platform, Google Drives offers everything you need to stay productive. Google Drive also has downloadable desktop programs that enable file syncing. Another perk is that files you create in Google Drive, as opposed to those you upload, don’t count toward your already-generous, free 15GB storage allotment. Paid accounts start at $1.99 per month for 100GB, and you can get 1TB for $9.99 per month. For collaborative projects, it’s one sweet package. It is Google, though, and some people may not be comfortable with its privacy terms and conditions.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Chrome, Android, iOS
You’d be hard-pressed to find an online backup solutions with as many features as IDrive. For $59.50 per year, IDrive gives you 1TB of storage, apps for just about every platform, file syncing, and more. A free account offers 5GB of space, which isn’t too shabby for anyone interested in trying out this wonderful online backup service.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Linux/Unix
Among file-syncing services, SugarSync remains the most intuitive. SugarSync is similar to Dropbox, only it lets you sync any files and folders you want while preserving your folder structure. There’s no need to move all your content for syncing into a Dropbox-like folder, although if you’re more comfortable with that method, SugarSync’s Magic Briefcase will do the trick. There is no truly free account with SugarSync, although you can try it out for 90 days. Among paid plans, a 100GB account costs $9.99 per month or $74.99 per year. A 500GB account costs $39.99 per month or $249.99 per year, with the first year discounted to $124.99. SugarSync also has excellent and intuitive mobile apps.
Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Veteran file-syncing users may be thrown for a loop by the confusing nature of Apple iCloud Drive. It’s a good service for avid Apple app users, but at $19.99 per month for 1TB and only 5GB free, it’s expensive and not the easiest service to use. The baked-in features that work seamlessly with iOS and Mac OS X are useful, however.
Available on: Mac, Windows, Web, iOS