This year saw the release of Google and Microsoft’s online storage service apps (Google Drive and SkyDrive respectively).
This has meant that the idea of cloud storage is becoming a much more accepted one for both home and office users – however, it’s still a bit of a minefield when it comes to choosing what’s best for you.
It’s important to know that what’s right for one person or business might not be right for you/yours-so let’s give you a quick overview of what’s out there and what each service offers.
(N.B. These services have been listed in alphabetical order, not rank order.)
iCloud isn’t really promoted as cloud storage – it’s marketed more as an API built into iOS and OS X. Applicationslike iWork)supportiCloud and synchronisation across all the user’s Apple devices. The downside with this service is that even though, handily, synchronisation does just happen automatically, this can also result in documents that you want to keep off the cloud will be shared to it – which you might not want if you’ve got any particularly sensitive information store. Also, cross-platform support is poor – but you’d expect this with any Apple product.
This is the priciest and most corporate-focused cloud service. It offers various additional apps that use the Box service, and its plans include LDAP supportand Active Directory. Due to the fact that this service naturally enables online storage across multiple platforms, your business is less disposed to game-changing service changes that might arise due to a policy change from one of the big companies. However, now that Google and Microsoft have decided to join the cloud party, will companies like Box be able to compete? This industry factor is definitely one to watch…
This service is merely an extension of Google’s online office suite – not really a full-blown online storage service… Although users do have the opportunity to upsize their storage capacity to 16TB – however, if you really required that much storage, it’s likely that there are other, more specialist services out there that will cater to you better in terms of service and security. In terms of downsides, users are unable to edit offline, plus Google will probably trawl your data to personalise your advertising – just like it does with your emails.
Users can save a file to their Mac or PC’s Dropbox folder, which will automatically sync everywhere, even to iOS and Android mobile devices. The assimilation with Mac and Windows is great with this service, and it also offers fantastic apps on the supported mobile platforms – i.e. Android and Apple – no Windows Phone 7/8 yet. The downside with this one is that its security record isn’t flawless.
Egnyte offers a user-friendly file-sharing service, as well as smartphone compatibility,a good varietyof pricing plans to choose from, plus a number of access options – and one of the soundest, most comprehensive security plans of all the cloud storage services. While Egnyte isn’t necessarily the least expensive service around, users can rest safe in the knowledge that their files are secure – hence the higher premium.
Like Google’s Drive service, SkyDrive is merely an extension of Microsoft’s other online applications.Document formats remain same on the web as they are the desktop, which means that it can be edited offline with no problems. The downside with this one is that there’s no Android client – not yet, anyway.