The age of the flash drive is coming to an end. Today, users have their choice of many capable cloud storage services, which make online collaboration and file backups a breeze. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of options out there, read on to find your cloud storage soulmate.
If you have a Google account, you already have 15GB of Google Drive storage for free. Integration with (free) online office suite Google Docs makes Drive a strong choice for small businesses, freelancers, students — and casual users looking for easy account setup. With Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in cloud, available from any device — and organize them within Drive with hardly any effort. Give Google a test, well, Drive with the free 15GB. If you need more space, plans start at just $1.99/month.
Why it’s great | No-fuss setup; integration with Google Docs suite; lots of free storage; inexpensive plan options.
Here’s another big name in the cloud computing world. Dropbox users love its streamlined interface and intuitive file sharing tools. Shared folders allow you to collaborate with others on the same file simultaneously, without emailing back and forth about each tweak. Dropbox is an excellent tool for sharing files that are too large to email, like HD videos. Recipients don’t even need a Dropbox account to view and save the files. If you download the desktop app, you’ll have offline access to your files on your computer in a pinch. Pro plans with a terabyte of storage are $9.99/month.
Why it’s great | Simple navigation; easy file sharing; automatic syncing.
SOS Online Backup
For those with a large digital archive to backup, SOS Online Backup is worth a look. SOS Personal plans start at $4.99/month, and there’s no storage limit on the number or size of files you can sync. Users can schedule automatic backups and “set it and forget it.” ForeverSave Version File Retention and History features ensure every version of a file you backup “will remain in the cloud indefinitely,” even if the source file is deleted from your computer. Privacy-conscious users can breathe easy knowing that their important files are protected by Triple-layer 256-bit Encryption, with an optional Private Encryption Key that’s less vulnerable to a brute-force attack than a single password or pin.
Why it’s great | Unlimited storage & no file size limits for power users; impressive security features; deleted files and all versions of edited files remain in the cloud.
CrashPlan is a full-featured cloud service with a twist. In addition to automatic backups to its servers, CrashPlan will help you manage local backups to any web-connected computer or external hard drive. It’s free to create local CrashPlan backups — so you can use it even if you choose a different cloud service. (If your primary computer bites the dust, you may have a quicker and easier time restoring your files locally than downloading them all at once from a cloud, so local backups are worth your consideration.) CrashPlan options have no storage limits. Individual plans start at $5/month.
Why it’s great | Free local backups; unlimited storage; pre-scheduled or continuous backups.