Sunday, July 29, 2012

10 Cloud Storage Services, Recommendations, and Tips


Cloud storage provides many benefits over local storage and is the direction the future is headed. With it you can access files from any location on any device, are better backed up with redundant systems and hardware, and it is more secure than your home network. Some people are 100% in the cloud while others only use it as a backup. Either way, if you are not taking advantage of the cloud then you are possibly at risk and certainly behind the eight ball.

Before you begin you must formulate a plan that works for you and that you are comfortable using. If someone else sets it up and you do not understand how and why things work the way they work you are in trouble. If this is your first step towards cloud storage I recommend that you first use it as a backup to your physical local data. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to interact with the cloud to gain a comfort level while still being able to work in a familiar way with your local data.

Remember to set up a solution that you can manage! I prefer saving to the cloud manually, but you may want an automatic solution to set it and forget it. My files are spread across multiple services to take advantage of the different services' strengths. If that is to much for you to track then keep everything in one spot. One final recommendation before we look at some options; be sure to backup your cloud data with another cloud service to always have two copies.


Service Name
- CX
Free Storage- 10 GB, up to 6 GB more for referring
Paid Storage- Starting at $4.99/month for 25 GB
File Size Limit- None
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- iOS, Android
File Sharing- Yes
Other Features- Collaboration


Service Name- Google Drive
Free Storage- 5 GB
Paid Storage- Starting at $2.49/month for 25 GB
File Size Limit- 10 GB
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android
File Sharing- Yes
Other Feature- Collaboration


Service Name
- SugarSync
Free Storage- 5 GB
Paid Storage- Starting at $4.99/month for 30 GB
File Size Limit- None
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes (enhanced)
Mobile App- Android, iOS, BBerry, Windows, Symbian
File Sharing- Yes
Other Feature- Outlook Plugin


Service Name
- Dropbox
Free Storage- 2 GB, up to 16 GB more for referring
Paid Storage- Starting at $9.99/month for 50 GB
File Size Limit- 2 GB
Desktop App- Windows, Mac, Linux
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android, iOS, BlackBerry
File Sharing- Yes


Service Name
- Box
Free Storage- 5 GB
Paid Storage- Starting at $9.99/month for 25 GB
File Size Limit- 100 MB
Desktop App- No
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android, iOS
File Sharing- Yes
Other Feature- Upload by email


Service Name
- SkyDrive
Free Storage- 7 GB
Paid Storage- Starting at $10.00/month for 20 GB
File Size Limit- 2 GB
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android, iOS, Windows
File Sharing- Yes
Other Feature- Office Web Apps


Service Name
- Mozy Stash
Free Storage- 2 GB, plus 256 MB for each referral
Paid Storage- Starting at $5.99/month for 50 GB
File Size Limit- None
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android, iOS
File Sharing- No


Service Name
- iCloud
Free Storage- 5 GB
Paid Storage- Starting at $20.00/year for 10 GB
File Size Limit- Unkown
Desktop App- Mac (OS X Lion)
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- iOS 5
File Sharing- No


Service Name
- HiDrive
Free Storage- 5 GB, plus 5 GB for referring ten people
Paid Storage- Starting at 9.90 €/year for 100 GB
File Size Limit- 2 GB
Desktop App- Windows, Mac
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android, iOS, Windows
File Sharing- Yes
Other Feature- Third party uploading


Service Name
- Google Music
Free Storage- 20,000 Songs (maximum 300MB per song)
Paid Storage- Not available
File Size Limit- N/A
Desktop App- Windows, Mac, Linux
Sync Option- Yes
Mobile App- Android
File Sharing- No


Although the last item is not a traditional cloud service I included it to make you think outside the box. You can also use Picasa to get 1GB free photo storage and online email services provide a lot of free space.

As a side note and personal recommendation, if you have more than one device a nice set up for your local data is to store nothing on your individual machines. I have a single external hard drive connected to my router so that all computers on the network can access it. This way all my files are in one location to make organization and cleanup easier. I then have another external hard drive to protect against hardware failure that is connected once a month to do a 1-to-1 copy (no compression) of the primary drive that is stored un-networked and unplugged for a backup. In a perfect world the backup should be at another physical location, but it is a hassle for me. In the event of an emergency this setup allows me to grab just a single drive to save my entire digital life. Of course that only works if I am home, if not, the cloud is there to save me.

Enjoy saving and working in the cloud. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section below. Once you are set up, or if you are already, let everyone know what services you use or recommended below.