Ok, you have a computer with lots of files, documents, photos and images. What would happen if you damaged your computer, it was stolen, or the hard drive crashed? Hopefully before one of those events occur you have stored your files somewhere that you can access with a new or replacement computer. Or if you taking the “Going Digital” journey with us, all of those electronic statements and files you are getting need a safe place to reside.
Cloud storage or online file storage is very popular these days. It a great way to safely save your important files and access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. Sharing is another nice feature with cloud storage. You simply give access to the files to anyone you want.
Most companies will give you a little storage for free as a teaser, usually 2-5GB, and if you exceed that amount you can pay to upgrade and get more storage capacity.
Let’s separate a little bit online cloud file storage from online computer backup. My preference is to store smaller files like documents and PDF files with companies that offer storage up to 5GB for free. The file size isn’t very big for these types of documents and you are usually fine using the free storage without having to pay an upgrade. When it comes to photos and video files, I wouldn’t use very many of these types of files on the free services because you will quickly exceed the free storage and have to upgrade to a paid plan.
Instead for photos, video, and computer backup, I would use a paid service like Carbonite which will back up everything on your computer as long as you have an internet connection. Below is a list of the services we are currently using and the cost for each service.
- iCloud – Comes with a Mac computer and you get 5GB storage free.
- Dropbox – Starts at 2 GB free and with 500MB upgrade for a referral. Pro plan up to 100GB starts at $9.99 per month.
- Google Drive – Formerly Google docs you get 5 GB of free space. Upgrade to 25GBfor less than $2.50 a month.
- Carbonite – Home play for $59 a year (this is the plan we have), HomePlus for $99 a year, and HomePremier for $149 a year. We have Carbonite on all the Macs in our household. It backs up the desktop, documents, music, photos, library, and other user created files. Carbonite does not back up operating system files or application files. Carbonite runs in the background so you never notice that it is backing up.
- Amazon Web Services – If you have a lot of online cloud storage needs Amazon Web Services would be a good service to check out.
What we do at our home is use Dropbox and Google Drive for document and file sharing because of how easy they are to use, and Carbonite for the bigger complete back up of all of our computer’s information.
Drop us a note if you’re using a cloud service that is not on our list and you are really happy with that service.
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