Monday, March 11, 2013

Online/Cloud Storage Solutions

There are a multitude of free online/cloud storage solutions available to consumers. I use 4 online/cloud storage solutions and I thought that I would describe them for this week's blog entry. They all offer a client for Windows which synchronizes the online/cloud storage space with a specific directory on your computer. Some of the online/cloud storage solutions also have clients for cellphones (Blackberry, Android, iOS, and HP's WebOS).

The first online/cloud storage solution that I used was Dropbox because most of the people where I work used it. I started with 3 GB of online storage and through referrals, I'm currently at 5 GB of storage space available. By clicking on the above link and going through with the installation process, you will get a bonus of 500 MB (giving a total of 3.5 GB). Dropbox gives 500 MB for every referral up to a maximum of 16 GB. There are other methods to increase your online storage (via connecting to your Facebook account (+125 MB), connecting to your Twitter account (+125 MB), following their Twitter feed (+125 MB), etc. For a complete list of ways to get additional storage space, you can check out their comprehensive list on their website. Dropbox offers mobile clients for Blackberry, Android, and iOS).

The second online/cloud storage solution that I used was Google Drive. Google Drive was originally Google Docs. I use Google Drive mainly because it is part of Google and I use most of Google's products. Google Drive gives 5 GB for free. Google Drive includes a mobile client for Android and iOS.

The third online/cloud storage solution that I used was SkyDrive. It is part of the Microsoft line via their Live products. My SkyDrive is 25 GB as part of a promotion that they had. I believe that new users get 7 GB of free online storage. Because I have more storage space on SkyDrive, I find myself storing most of the files that I want to back up on SkyDrive.

The fourth online/cloud storage solution that I used is Box. My Box account is at 50 GB of free online storage via a promotion that they had for users of the HP TouchPad. They currently have a feature where business users can get 50 GB of online storage for free via a referral from someone who already has 50 GB at the same company. Box determines if the e-mail address of the person doing the referring is a company e-mail address. Box is the only company to have a native WebOS client application for the HP TouchPad. It also supports the most mobile clients (Blackberry, Android, iOS, WindowsPhone, and Playbook)

Out of the four online/cloud storage solutions that I've mentioned on this blog, I primarily will use (in the following order): Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and then Dropbox. The reason why I primarily use Box is because I have the most space available via Box than any of the other cloud storage solutions that I've listed here. However, generally I find myself storing important files on all 4 online/cloud storage locations so that if any one solution fails or is not available, I will still have a copy of my files.

All the online/cloud storage solutions that I've listed work similarly (at least based on the type of usage that I use them for and I believe that most people would use them for) so my recommendation on which solution to use would depend on how much free storage space the company offers and whether you use the company's other products (ex: Google or Microsoft Live).

Before uploading any of my files onto any cloud storage product, depending on the file, I will generally encrypt the files to keep them away from prying eyes. For confidential files like tax slips/receipts, bank statements, etc., I will always encrypt these confidential files whereas for pictures I will generally leave those unencrypted. Even though most (or all) of the online storage companies don't allow guests to download files without you either sharing the files or making a link available, my feeling is that you can never be too sure who has access to your files on any of these storage spaces including the company itself.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to write a comment in the comment section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment that contains a URL link (whether or not it is embedded) will automatically be flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

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