How To Make the Most of Cloud Storage
By now most people are aware of cloud storage options. Those are the third-party hosting services that offer to store your media and other files online, so they are available whenever and wherever you need them. Most services offer a limited amount of free storage, with additional space available for a volume-based fee.
While it makes perfect sense to utilize these services, having a strategy on how to use them is important from both a convenience and security standpoint. We want to make sure that we adapt the various cloud storage options to meet our individual needs, rather than change the way we work to fit in with the third-party rules and requirements. Here are 5 suggestions on how to make sure your cloud service options are right for you:
Get as much free space as possible
No-one should have to pay for cloud storage, unless you are a small business or a movie buff with dozens of digital titles in your collection. While the new unified Google Drive storage option offers you the most free storage at 15GB, activating other services like Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive, and Dropbox can boost that number to 30GB or more. That’s enough for 7 or 8 HD movies or several hundred photos.
Also keep in mind that Apple’s iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Drive give you free storage for media purchased on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play respectively. Make sure you utilize the storage option that maximizes the amount of your free space.
Make sure all your devices are supported
While a service like Google Drive may make perfect sense for your desktop or laptop, there is currently no mobile option for Windows Phone devices. Make sure that all your devices are supported by your chosen storage option or you will be unable to sync or access your files when you need them most.
Have a backup for your backup
As a 2013 outage of the Google Drive service proved, cloud storage options are not infallible and often rely on networks and servers that are beyond the control of the cloud service provider. If you have files that are so important that you cannot afford to be without them even for a few hours, then it’s always good practice to periodically back them up the old-fashioned way. It’s now common to find USB flash drives with capacities up to 32GB. Make backing-up those important files part of your weekly routine.
Beware auto-sync options
One of the strengths of cloud storage options like Dropbox is their ability to automatically sync across all your devices whenever you make changes to stored files. In fact, some storage options, including Dropbox, will automatically sync video, photos and other media whenever they are saved on any connected device. While this normally won’t matter if you are connected to your home network, it can prove to be a huge data hog when you are using your mobile devices. Dropbox will normally seek a Wi-Fi connection before automatically syncing to and from mobile devices but that can still prove very costly if you are using a mobile hotspot or are tethered to your phone. To avoid unexpected data charges, make sure you disable auto-sync when you don’t need it, particularly if you are traveling overseas.
Learn how to move files between cloud options
Finally, it’s great to have the flexibility to be able to move files around between different cloud storage services. This can make a big difference when you are trying to optimize your free storage space or when you are switching between different operating systems. Third party software platforms like Mover can help you do this free of charge, and you can even set up a transfer schedule in advance, so files are available exactly when you need them.