We’ve all gone digital.
Let’s face it, today is the future and we have now travelled deeper into the digital world than ever before. It’s been happening for years already, and though many have already known this to be nothing further than the truth, even those that have been slow getting on the technology bandwagon, can no longer deny its existence and prominence in today’s everyday life.
Everything we do has technology attached to it. When a mother learns that she is pregnant, she stores the images of her ultrasound on her tablet. When a baby takes his first step or says her first word, it is captured and saved on a mobile phone; a friend offers a shoulder to cry on and music is shared on a playlist on your laptop. A couple get engaged and all the planning is done on your computer and hundreds of files, photos, sheets, and drafts are created in order to file all of the information in an easy to access format.
With so many important events in life happening at such a rapid pace, it has been only the internet that has been able to keep up with the speed of human interest. But the internet is only the tool that allows us this privilege, ultimately, it is our devices that provide us with the vehicle to take us there, and devices need more and more memory and storage to keep your most treasured life events, always within reach. Without storage, where would you house that photo of your recent holiday to your favorite tropical paradise? Or how would you listen to your favorite song as you drive yourself to work in the morning?
Back it up
It used to be that we had 3.5 floppy disks that could house a few photos and Microsoft files. Then Zip drives came out and there was more space to put in what you needed backed up or taken with you out of your house or the office. Flash drives and external drives came out too and that made life easier yet again. MP3’s were all the craze as well and suddenly you could store hundreds of songs on a single disc that could once only carry an album worth of songs. But all of these solutions still had the problem of being able to lose them. They were small and sometimes hard to find in a drawer full of office supplies or CD’s. And even if you took great care of your backup drives, they could still burn in a fire or be destroyed and lost in a flood. They was simply never a complete fool proof way to ensure that you would be able to keep those files forever.
Mobile phones also tried answering the issue of space needed but regardless of the space given on a single unit, it just seems to never be enough. These are devices that you will be using for years to come and let’s face it, you’re going to gather thousands of songs, photos, videos, PDF’s, spreadsheets, and who knows what else? The memory on a mobile phone just isn’t going to cut in anymore…no matter how much GB you put into the storage of a phone!
We need a solution that does not limit what we want on our units. We need a simpler way of sharing our files with ourselves (and others, if we want to) rather than having to e-mail ourselves just to transfer a file from one device to another. We must be able to access any of these bits of data even if our computers collapse.
Enter, the Cloud.
Think of anything that you would view or keep on your cellphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or PC. Whether it is a calendar event, photo, video, song, voice recording, microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, anything. Now you can put that same anything on an online storage portal, or the Cloud, and it will never be lost forever. What’s even more, is that you can access it from anywhere in the world at any time on any device. All you would need is a simple internet connection. A connection that doesn’t even have a minimum speed requirement. The length of time to download the file may vary depending on the speed of your connection, but even at a slow pace, you will still be able to download it.
It is simply the best solution. Online storage even makes it easy to share these files with other people, something that would have taken much more effort in the days of floppy discs. This fast and easy method does have costs, but they are quite minimal and are certainly cheaper than purchasing the expensive zip drives from a decade ago or even the flash drives of today. Apple for example charges a mere $0.99 per month for an additional 50GB of storage. If you need 200GB you would pay $2.99. And if you needed an entire TB, you would only pay $9.99. These prices are as of September 16, 2016 and compete rather fairly with their competition. Not bad knowing that even if you lost a dear friend’s phone number, or need to edit a powerpoint presentation file for your big day at work tomorrow, you could look it up by simply logging on to your cloud.
Cloud services have even grown to fit any person’s needs. Whether you’re an old fashioned man and not familiar with having many options thus with a preference for a simple user friendly site, or a very experienced techie who demands advanced customizations, there is a cloud for you.
Top Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services
Let’s go through a list of some of the best clouds/file sharing services that are out there today, and check out some of the reviews that had been given to them. Which one would you choose?
- IDrive – Despite its jurassic age of 22 years, IDrive is an oldie but goodie and remains as one of the best online backup providers out there. With IDrive you can backup multiple devices with a single subscription. It also has an attractive price and storage limits that work for almost anyone.
- SugarSync – Here’s a brand that attracts the majority of its competition by being able to sync any folder on your device. You are no longer confined to a single sync folder like that of other clouds.
- Microsoft OneDrive – As with all of Microsoft’s products, there was no limit to the amount of detail put into building the front end. Also, if you’re a business owner, you have the certainty that your service provider is not going to be leaving you in the dust.
- SpiderOakONE – What makes SpiderOakONE stand above the rest is clearly its dedication to privacy and security. It is in the company’s culture and they are clearly very concerned about security issues as opposed to promoting their other products.
- CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box – With security also at the top of importance, the CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box’s MicroEncryption renders bulk data breach of cloud-stored files impossible. The downside is that it is not exactly easy to use.
- Google Drive – This may be one of the easiest online storage providers there are. Most people already have Google accounts and if you have none, it takes no more than a few seconds to set it up and the same amount of time to get Google Drive up and running. It is easy to use, functions in ways that do not require teaching, and offer a decent amount of free space.
- Apple iCloud Drive – Probably the most used cloud storage service, Apple’s iCloud is used by anyone with an Apple phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. It is fast, reliable, and affordable. 5GB of storage comes free and you would pay less than an American dollar per month to add 50GB to your drive.
- Box (Personal) – Fast, responsive, easy to use. These are some of the most common comments given to describe the Box storage device. This personal version of Box also offers a rather generous amount of free space and is able to connect to a wide variety of apps and services.
- Dropbox – Born in 2007, the Dropbox may likely be one of the most famous of all cloud storages. They have had great success during their career and though they have had their share of battles, have overcome them and now have over 50 million users. Some of their strengths include having great 3rd party integrations, good file syncing, ease of use, good device support, and that it works on all major operating systems.
Ultimately, we understand the need for online storage and the importance of the cloud is more present today than it ever was in the past. Now, all we really have left to do is to decipher which of these services best suits our needs.
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