The Cloud has been “the” buzzword of the decade by far, but much more than just being a buzzword, it’s fundamentally changed the way we work and handle data.
It wasn’t that long ago that getting program like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop meant purchasing prepackaged software from the store, installing it on your hard drive from a CD and using the license key that came with it to activate the program.
Change computers, and you had to go through a process of deactivating your license key on one device before you could use that software on another. If your hard drive crashed and you had to go through data recovery, that posed all kinds of issues if you didn’t save the original box with license key.
The software was also static, meaning if you wanted the next version with updated features, you had to purchase a whole new one.
Fast forward to the cloud culture that we live and work in today when we’re online. Instead of buying software outright, the cloud allows you to subscribe to the cloud service, this is referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). For your monthly subscription fee, you get regular feature updates, meaning you’re never left behind when a major new feature comes out, and you can use the software from anywhere, on any device.
As of 2018, there were approximately 3.6 billion consumers worldwide using cloud solutions.
Additionally, cloud subscriptions typically allow one user to use their subscription over several different devices, both computer and mobile.
For example, one subscription to Office 365 Home allows up to 6 people to use the service and each of them can be signed into the service on up to 5 different devices. That’s a big difference from the “1 PC or Mac” license you get with Office 2019.
Key benefits of using cloud services include:
- Files are stored securely offsite on a virtual cloud service.
- Applications and data are available from any internet-connected device.
- You can easy access your software from anywhere.
- Cost savings by paying a low monthly fee rather than making a large upfront purchase.
Cloud Storage Services
One of the first cloud services that people were drawn to was cloud storage solutions, like iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox. The draw was the ability to store your files in a way that would keep them safe even if your computer crashed or your smartphone was lost.
Cloud storage services also make it much easier to pass files in between devices (ever try emailing yourself a 30mb file?) and offer the ability to easily share files with a link.
Four of the most well know cloud storage services are:
- Google Drive
We’ll go over a comparison of each of these four cloud storage services next to highlight how much space you get, how they work, and what they cost.
Cloud Storage Comparison
Cloud storage gives you peace of mind that your photos, documents, and videos are backed up should anything happen to your computer or mobile device. There are multiple options to choose from, but most of them work in very similar ways.
Here are the basics of how cloud storage works:
- You can upload files manually into a cloud storage account.
- You can connect a phone or computer and upload to cloud storage automatically.
- Cloud storage services can be used to back up all your files.
- You can access cloud storage from any internet-connected device.
- You can easily share files by inviting others to a cloud folder or sharing them via a URL.
- Cloud storage may be free or not, depending upon the type and storage space you need.
Which cloud storage service should you use? Here’s a rundown of four of the most popular.
Dropbox is universal and not designed for any specific type of device (like iCloud). Its desktop app makes sharing files and folders with others pretty easy, and the interface is designed to be very user friendly.
Free storage space: 2GB
- $9.99/month for 2TB, plus other features
- $16.58/month for 3TB, plus other features
- From $12.50/user /month for business accounts
Anyone signing up for a free Google or Gmail account automatically has access to Google Drive. It’s simple to use and is another universal cloud storage service that used by both consumers and business users and not designed for any specific type of device.
Free storage space: 15GB
- $1.99/month for 100GB, plus other features
- $2.99/month for 200GB, plus other features
- $9.99/month for 1TB, plus other features
- From $8/user/month for business accounts
While anyone can sign up for an iCloud account, the service is specially designed for Apple product users. There is an iCloud app for Windows, but it does not work nearly as smoothly as iCloud does on a Mac device.
Free storage space: 5GB
- $.99/month for 50GB
- $2.99/month for 200GB
- $9.99/month for 2TB
OneDrive is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription and each user gets 1TB of OneDrive storage space automatically. But you can also get OneDrive by itself without a subscription to the other Office products. OneDrive works on both Windows and Mac computers.
Free storage space: 5GB
Paid subscriptions (without Office 365):
- $1.99/month for 100GB
Get Help Configuring Your Cloud Backup Services
Once you have a cloud backup subscription, there are a lot of things you can do with it, such as automatically upload photos from your smartphone and back up your entire computer. Two River Computer can help you configure your cloud services for maximum efficiency and convenience.
Contact us today to schedule a cloud consultation. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.