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July 12th, 2016 by


Cloud storage is a means of storing information on remote servers and accessing it via internet connected devices.

A great example of cloud storage is Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox.

If you’re looking to collaborate with colleagues across the globe; streamline IT costs or simply back up important documents and photos, then cloud storage is a great option for you.

The means of backing up your data is a much-debated topic, with some people claiming that external hard drives are better than cloud storage, and others claiming that cloud storage is the best way to go.

The benefits of cloud storage are numerous, including the fact that it is scalable and accessible from anywhere on any platform.

So how does it all work? Cloud storage providers offers a system which collects, compresses and encrypts your data, then sends it to secure servers. Once stored, the data can be accessed by members anytime and anywhere provided they have an internet connection and the required cloud storage account information (a username and password).

Here are a few reasons to consider making the jump to cloud storage.

Cost

External hard drives are expensive, especially once they enter terabyte storage capacity. Should you lose or damage your external hard drive, you then incur the cost of purchasing a new one as well as the inconvenience of having lost all the data stored on it.

Many cloud storage providers offer a free tier which allows you to store a specified amount of data on their servers.

Companies such as Apple and Google also allow you to backup certain files for free on their select cloud storage platforms.

Scalable

Cloud storage is highly scalable.

Companies allow you to adjust the amount of storage you might need for your specific needs.

Various data storage plans are often available at a range of costs.

Secure

Data privacy is of huge concern to all tech companies, even more so when it comes to cloud storage.

Cloud storage providers have gone to many lengths to ensure that your data is safe and protected by doing everything from keeping cloud storage servers separate from their regular servers and by introducing two-factor authentication.

Collaboration

Thanks to its reliance on internet connectivity, cloud storage is a great tool for project collaboration.

Certain cloud storage providers allow multiple people to work on a document at any given time and tracks who has made changes or notations.

This makes real-time collaboration a breeze when it comes to project management across vast distances.

If you’re looking to try out cloud storage for the first time, here’s a roundup of some of the most popular ones currently available:

  1. DropBox

Dropbox arguably the most well-known cloud storage provider thanks to its easy to features and focus on businesses.

Dropbox Basic

A Dropbox Basic account is free and includes 2 GB of space. You can download free apps to access Dropbox from your computer and mobile device. You can also earn more space on your Dropbox Basic account.

Dropbox Pro

Dropbox Pro is a paid subscription that includes 1 TB of space and additional features. You can choose to subscribe monthly or annually. We do not offer an option to purchase consecutive monthly or annual subscriptions up front. Pricing depends on your billing country and which subscription plan you choose.

Dropbox Business

Dropbox Business is meant for organizations and groups. Pricing depends on the size of your team and your billing country. There are also discounts available for non-profits and educational institutes.

  1. Google Drive

Google Drive comes standard with all Android devices. It allows you to store files in the cloud, share files, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with collaborators.

Your free 15GB of storage works across:

  • Google Drive
  • Google Photos
  • Gmail

Google allows you to purchase additional storage and at times offers free additional storage through partners and special offers.

  1. Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft’s cloud offering is known as OneDrive.

It comes pre-installed on Windows 10 and works across all platforms including PC, Mac, Android and iOS.

You are also able to collaborate using Excel, Word, Powerpoint and OneNote in OneDrive.

Available with a free storage option which includes 5GB storage, Microsoft allows you to purchase additional storage at a range of prices:

  • Basic 50GB storage at R18.99p/m
  • OneDrive + Office 365 (Personal) 1TB for 1 user at R89.99p/m
  • OneDrive + Office 365 (Home) 1TB each for 5 users at R94.99p/m
  1. iCloud

Apple’s iCloud is available on all Mac or iOS device.

If you don’t own a Mac or iOS device, you can still get web-only access to create and share documents using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote by signing in to iCloud.com. With web-only access, you also get 1GB of free storage for any documents you create.

iCloud has a few nifty features including:

 

  • Family sharing which allows up to six family members the ability to share their iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases without sharing accounts. You can also share photos, a family calendar, reminders, and locations.
  • Find my iPhone which allows you to find your missing iOS device or Mac.
  • Keychain saves your passwords, credit card information and more and have it entered automatically into the relevant fields when using your Mac or iOS device.

With iCloud set up on your devices, you get an email account and 5GB of free storage for your mail, documents, photos, and iOS device backups. Your purchased music, apps, TV shows, and books don’t count against your available space.

Apple also has additional storage available for purchase:

  • 50GB R14.99p/m
  • 200GB R44.99p/m
  • 1TB R149.99p/m