Storing files on your hard drive at home is so 10 years ago. While cloud technology hasn’t exactly caught up to every user’s expectation, it’s usually good enough for most people. And, it’s showing in user data reports. More and more people are choosing to store their documents and files in the cloud.
So, what does all of this cloud business mean, exactly? The cloud isn’t a mysterious puff of white smoke in the sky. It’s not digital heaven. It’s actually storing files in the cloud is usually safer your files are encrypted and backed up just in case the unthinkable happens.
Apple’s iCloud is probably one of the more famous cloud resources out there. Steve Jobs wanted this to work differently than other clouds on the market. As such, iCloud is primarily a sync-driven cloud. That means that data resides on your computer and is synced between your devices. However, it does share similar features of other cloud products, namely the ability to automatically back up key data on your hard drive.
DropBox is another popular service out there used primarily for cloud storage and file sharing. Users download a folder to their computer, and then that folder acts as a native folder on the drive. However, unlike other native folders, this folder actually syncs to DropBox and other devices you have connected to your account.
You can also share your files with other non-dropbox users by creating a special sharable link and sending that link to whomever you want. Presto! Instant sharing.
The unique thing about Hightail is the ability to send really, really large files up to 2GBs. You can also edit and update project folders with your clients and colleagues. The service offers unlimited file storage too, so you can use your tablet, smartphone, or laptop to access files everywhere.
Security is good too, with 128-bit SSL encryption while moving files and an impeccable 256-bit AES encryption while sitting around collecting dust on your virtual shelf.
SugarSync is a competitor to DropBox, and works similar to the Amazon-driven cloud service. You can even share links with non-SugarSync users. Pricing is competitive too.
Using Google Drive
Google Drive is a bit different from the others in that you don’t really store anything on your computer. Instead, you create new documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in the cloud and then share them via special links .You can choose who can view and edit the content you share, and Google lets you open more than 30 different file types, even if you don’t have the base program installed on your computer.
Box offers a really simple solution that’s also very secure. You centralize all of your content and then sync it with whomever you want. There are two levels of service personal and enterprise. The personal plan is a little wimpy with a 250MB upload file limit, but you can share photos and presentations via a special link that anyone can click on and open up in their browser.
Your Own Cloud
Instead of using a paid service, or even the free version of a paid service, you can create your own cloud system by using P2P networks. File sharing software from companies like you have to be a bit of a computer nerd to use it. This is probably the most flexible outsourced option there is, though. Amazon will basically give you unrestricted access to storage drive and its servers so that you can create a custom cloud experience for yourself.
In fact, some popular cloud services, like DropBox, use Amazon’s infrastructure as the backbone for their own service. So, in essence, your favorite cloud service provider could be nothing more than a middle man. If you’re technologically inclined, it’s worth the effort.
Leonor McGowan is a tech whiz. When not managing her own computer systems to optimize potential for productivity and entertainment, she enjoys blogging about the basics and trends for using technology everyday.