Cloud Storage 101

Do you always back up your important work and personal docs?  What about all your photos?  Computers sometimes lull us into a false sense of security.  We hear about people’s computers crashing, but unless it has happened to us, we have a tendency to put it off until later.  Really, what could possibly happen?

There’s never been a better time to back up your information in the cloud.  With so many options, you can find the right storage solution to fit your data needs and your pocketbook.  If trying to make sense of all the different options out there has been overwhelming, here quick overview and comparison of 4 of the major cloud storage providers:

AMAZON CLOUD DRIVE:

  • Storage size: 5GB to 1,000GB
  • Price: First 5GB free, $1/GB a year additional
  • File support: All types
  • Mobile support: Amazon MP3 app for Android

Amazon Cloud Drive is Amazon.com’s offering for cloud storage.  It is very easy to sign up if you already have an Amazon.com account.  One of the great things about Amazon Cloud Drive is any MP3 files purchased through Amazon are automatically stored.  Even better, these files are stored for free and do not use any of your available storage space.  If you upgrade to 50GB, it will only cost you about $4.16/month, which is a bargain.  On the downside, it doesn’t offer the best solution for file sharing.  In order to share files with friends or family members, you have to provide them with your Amazon user name and password and you are limited to 8 devices associated with your account.  For more info or to get started, visit Amazon Cloud Drive.

APPLE iCLOUD:

  • Storage size: 5GB to 50GB
  • Price: 5GB for free, 15GB total space for $20/year, 25GB total space for $40/year, 55GB total space for $100/year
  • File support: MP3s, videos, photos, Apple-specific files
  • Mobile support: iPhone/iPad

iCloud delivers cloud-based storage and applications to compatible Mac, PC, and iOS devices.  It allows you to download all your past and present iTunes purchases on your registered devices, and automatically updates all devices when you make a purchase.  That saves you from having to individually sync every device each time you download a new song or app.  Only Apple specific files, for example those written in Apple’s Pages App, can be stored and edited via iCloud.  Also, adding an additional 50 GB of storage space will run you about $8.33/month.

To set up iCloud, visit Apple.

DROPBOX:

  • Storage size: 2GB to 100GB
  • Price: 2GB free, 50GB for $9.99/month, 100GB for $19.99/month
  • File support: All types
  • Mobile support: Android, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry

Founded in 2007, Dropbox has been offering online storage in the cloud the longest compared to the others we are discussing today.  Dropbox offers cloud storage for all your file types.  It is a free computer download that is compatible with Mac, Windows, or Linux computers.  File sharing is very simple with Dropbox, you can invite friends, family or coworkers to have access to an entire folder, or you have the option of making certain files public, allowing anyone on the internet the ability to download them.  You start off with 2GB for free, but can add an additional 500MB/referral, up to 18GB at no extra cost.  Coming in at $9.99/month for 50GB, Dropbox is the most expensive of the 4 options.

For more information, visit Dropbox.

GOOGLE DRIVE:

  • Storage size: 5GB to 1TB
  • Price: First 5GB free; 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month, 1TB for $49.99/month
  • File support: All types
  • Mobile support: Android, iPhone/iPad (coming soon)

Google Drive gives you the most bang for your buck!  For $4.99/month you receive 100GB of storage in Drive and Picasa, which is an online place to store and share your photos in web albums.  Google Drive provides you with access to Google docs; with this tool you can share files with anyone.  You can also chose whether you will allow people to view, edit or comment on your files.  As long as you have a google email account, you can access google drive.

To get started, visit Google Drive’s homepage.

What is your favorite storage solution in the cloud and why?  Let us know below.

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One thought on “Cloud Storage 101

  1. I’m surprised you skipped SkyDrive, especially considering they give 7GB for free instead of DropBox’s 2GB or Google’s 5GB. Plus, being integrated with Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 makes it a pretty great choice for most users.

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