Safely, In The Clouds


Never again leave behind important files. Store them on the web and summon when required. EXEC demystifies cloud storage.

Pen drives are notoriously easy to go missing. External hard drives are susceptible to data loss with impact or a power surge. And with the importance of data backup being instilled in us on our mothers’ knees, it was only time we invented a remote data ‘bank’. There are plenty of service providers in the cloud storage scene. And many of them allow users to store small files free of charge. But when are being seduced by features like Folder Sharing, Offline Syncing and File Versioning, it’s easy to lose track of the basics. Here is the low-down on the best of online storage solutions.

Dropbox

Dropbox has earned a reputation mostly because of its extremely clean and efficient interface. Just allocate a specific folder on your local hard disk and store all your important documents here. Every time you go online, the site syncs with the folder, keeping all your data updated. While there is no limit of file size, this is one of the more expensive options out there.

iCloud

If you are one of those people who owns everything that Apple has ever released, this is the perfect solution for you. Though relatively new, the service is extremely intuitive; it syncs your iWork documents across all your computers and makes them accessible through web and mobile. It even syncs your email (upto 5 GB) and even allows you to store songs and videos (provided they have been purchased from the iStore). Though the prices are competitive, the maximum file sized allowed is laughably small.

SkyDrive

This altruistic service from Microsoft provides a generous 25GB of storage free of charge. Who’d have thought? It integrates seamlessly with the Office Suite and silently it all back in the background. And owning a Windows 7 phone only opens up more features.

SugarSync

Easily on the best options available, SugarSync can boast of a sweet web interface and apps for all major smart phone operating systems. Additionally, they claim to have a high level of data encryption and redundancy across multiple data centres. So even if one of their data centres suffers massive damage, your data is still safe. And you even get free storage space on referrals.

Ubuntu One

Unless you are one of those rare LINUX enthusiast, this doesn’t make too much sense. Because apart from being compatible on all mobile platforms, it doesn’t work well on windows and doesn’t work at all on Mac. Prices are a bit on the higher side but there not much other options for Ubuntu users so you might have to just grimace and take it.

YouSendIt

Though primarily used for sharing ginormous files, the site does give you the option of storing them online as well. Their unlimited plans are definitely worth the money however there are better services out there if you aren’t too keen on sharing files.

Amazon Cloud Drive

A great option to carry around your multimedia files, this can stream your music or videos to your computer or mobile via a dedicated app. With 5GB of free storage and a maximum file size of 2 GB, you carry around dozens and dozens of your CD collections. What’s even sweeter is that the music your purchase on Amazon do not count against your storage space.

Mozy

The great thing about Mozy is that you can choose to sync multiple folders from your hard disk with their servers. So just tick that folders that you want backed up and the software does the rest whenever you go online. The throttling ensures that your speeds are affected too much during the backup. However it’s not built for sharing and their plans aren’t flexible.

Google Drive

Google recently extended its Google Docs service to include online file storage and syncing capabilities. The good news is that nowhere else in the web can you get more bytes for your bucks. The sad part is that when you buy the extra space, it doesn’t apply to your Gmail account. What’s with that?! Also worth mentioning is Google Music, the beta version of which is currently doing the rounds. It allows you to store and stream over 20,000 music files…for free.

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