One of the best ways to take backups and store data is online storage, popularly known as cloud storage that apart from storing extremely large files also lets you share and access them anytime, anywhere from any computer or mobile device. You don’t need to lug along your laptop, portable hard drive or flash drive. Several industry giants have built cloud platforms for customers and some have also made them available across other platforms. We aren’t really spoilt for choice when it comes to cloud storage yet, but there are more than a handful that you can choose from. Here are seven popular ones to choose from depending on how much space you need and the amount of money you are willing to shell out.
Going by popularity, Dropbox surely tops the charts. This application is available for your Windows desktop, Mac and all leading mobile platforms. All you need to do is create a single account and you can access that account from all your devices. This means even if you back up a file on your PC, it will automatically sync that file to your Dropbox account, which you can then access from your smartphone, tablet or any other computer. Dropbox accounts for mobile and desktop are free with up to 18GB of free space (2 GB+ 500MB per referral). Your Dropbox account will show the space usage just under your email ID on the upper right side. For more space you will have to pay and upgrade to Dropbox Pro offering 100GB, 200GB, and 500GB account space, starting at approximately Rs. 510/month ($9.99/month). If you have a group of people planning to share a workspace then there is a Dropbox team plan as well.
Box in the cloud
Upon signing in, you get 5GB of online space to store your data and just like your desktop, you can create folders to save all your data. Just dump your huge presentations and files here, and you can even quickly share them with your friends. All this can be done even on the go, as Box is also available on leading mobile platforms. One will just need to download the app from their phone app store. You can use Box beyond your personal requirements, as they have Business and Enterprise tariff plans which give you unlimited storage space and additional collaborative features along with admin and security controls. Business users can opt for 1000GB online space which can be used by 5 to 500 users for approximately Rs. 775 ($15/month).
SkyDrive is Microsoft's homebrewed cloud service which isn't limited to Windows users. Create your Skydrive account and access files from your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet, without the need for any syncing. Basically, as soon as you install SkyDrive, you will notice a SkyDrive folder that can be loaded with all your photos, movies, documents and everything that matters to you onto the 7GB of free space it provides. Even if you forget to put something in your SkyDrive folder, as long as your PC that has the file is on and running SkyDrive, it lets you access any file you need. Also, make sure you leave the box that will allow you to “Fetch your files from anywhere” checked during setup. It offers the most free space of all the storage services and you can add up to 100GB by paying a price of Rs. 2,585.
Pie in the sky
This cloud service brings sweetness to your personal storage with its ability to sync multiple devices, and take secure, continuous and automatic file backups. You can access and edit these files anytime using the SugarSync web app or mobile app. SugarSync continuously syncs and backs up files from your computer, and you don’t need to manually sync them with other devices. You can even edit files on your computer while it is offline and SugarSync will automatically sync the changes the next time you go online. This competitor to Dropbox gives you 5GB of space. You will have to shell out some dough for more space and you could get up to 250GB which will cost about Rs. 1292 ($24.99).
Google's cloud offering is a great tool while using Google products like Gmail. Moreover, it lets you create and edit new documents, spreadsheets and presentations instantly and also share them with others. A group of people can work together at the same time on the same doc, and see changes as they appear. Google Drive doesn’t store data in the form of folders but the search giant has infused it with a solid search option to find data from those long lists and also arrange them the way you want. Again, Google hasn't restricted its cloud storage to its own platform and extends it to popular mobile platforms along with PC and Mac. Google Drive offers 5GB free space for data and 1GB for Picasa, but you can spend some money and upgrade to 25GB, 199GB or even up to 1TB. Upgrading to 100GB will cost around Rs. 3,102 ($60).
Available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac
Google drives in its cloud storage
The next in our list is iDrive, a cloud service to back up data and access it from multiple PCs and mobile devices. Create your iDrive Login and use it on all the other devices to access data. iDrive automatically recognizes the modified parts of file(s) / folder(s) and backs them up in real-time. It retains and allows you to restore the last 30 versions of all files backed up to your account. It also adds in the new iDrive Sync option, which offers Visual Sharing with Facebook integration and a simple drag and drop option to share files. Like most of the cloud storage options available today, iDrive gives you 5GB of storage space and to add more space you will have to opt for the paid Pro version. For 150GB, users will have to shell out approximately Rs. 2585.
Syncplicity is another cool option whether you are looking for a personal or work-related cloud storage. As you sign up, you get 2GB of storage space and you can sync up to two devices, which can obviously be upgraded with the paid version starting at Rs. 775/month. Although Syncplicity doesn’t offer as much free space as other storage solutions, it appears to be more beneficial as a business or enterprise product with its superior security, admin control and enterprise features required in a working environment. It allows admins to control which devices can access cloud storage inside or outside the company and data retention policies can help admins find and remove documents that violate company policies. It also allows accessing data on mobile devices, and editing it using third party apps. Users can access news feeds, which display an activity stream of files and folders to notify users instantly of changes in folders and files made by other users.
Although security is still a hiccup in cloud storage, it is still growing in popularity as a convenient and easy-to-use storage solution. Do let us know which is your cloud of choice and what you think about these cloud storage options.
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