Online Storage Services: How to Choose the Best Service
With computers being such an important part of our daily lives, it is critical to make sure the files on them are protected. While many take steps to prevent files from being corrupted through viruses or other malware, it is just as important to protect the documents should something happen to the computer itself. While it is possible to save files to a flash drive after every use, it isn't very practical. There are services, however, that will store user's files online, so they are safe should a computer crash – and also accessible anywhere.
What Are Online Storage Services?
Online storage services provide computer users with a place to store their files online. Also known as the cloud, online storage services serve two main functions. First, they give computer users peace of mind in knowing that their files – which can include important documents, music, photos and videos – are safe from all threats to a computer, including accidental erasures, hard drive failures and theft. If such a disaster were to happen, computer owners can easily recover and access their files.
The second critical function of online storage services is that they give computer users the convenience of accessing files anywhere there is an Internet connections. By saving their files in the cloud, files are accessible on computers at work and at home, as well as on smartphones and tablets.
"A number of services are battling it out to act as trusted online repositories for important documents that can be accessed on all your computers and devices, and shared with others," wrote Walt Mossberg, co-executive editor of the technology web site allthingsd.com, in a recent column for the Wall Street Journal. "Overall, this type of service is useful for anyone with many computers and devices, either for personal or group use."
Online storage services also provide a place to store large files in order to free up space on a computer's hard drive.
Choosing the Best Online Storage Service
The cloud has become increasingly popular over the past several years, with numerous online storage providers offering their own services. One of the most important things to consider when choosing an online storage service is the allotted storage space. The best cloud services are those that let computer owners store unlimited files for a simple flat fee.
There are a number of features to look for when searching for a cloud service. It should provide folder sharing, offline syncing and file versioning in case the most recent version of a stored file is lost. In addition, there should be backup options so files are automatically updated whenever changes are made, as well as the ability to restore any file that might be deleted from an account.
The top online storage services also let computer users store any type of data file and access it from a number of different devices, including multiple computers and mobile devices.
Any service being considered should also provide access to the account from any web browser, and include a desktop application that computer users can drag and drop files or folders into for storing.
Top Online Storage Services
Among the most popular online storage services is JustCloud, which doesn't require an annual contract and puts no cap on the data and media files that can be stored. JustCloud members can back up local files using its desktop application and access them through a web account from any internet-connected device. JustCloud provides a wide range of features, including back-up options to allow backups automatically or on a specific schedule, such as daily, weekly or monthly. JustCloud members can also share files or entire folders with others via email, Facebook and Twitter, or through custom, private links for specific recipients. Just Cloud's file versioning feature lets computer owners restore previous versions of files in the event the latest version is accidentally deleted.
SugarSync is another highly rated online storage service. SugarSync is well-regarded for offering robust file synchronization in tandem with comprehensive file support that gives members secure access to their data on a wide range of devices. The service provides several storage plans, ranging from 30GB, which offers enough space to hold 3,000 documents, 6,000 photos and 6,000 songs, to 250GB. SugarSync also offers business plans designed for multi-user accounts. SugarSynce provides a number of file-sharing features, including the ability to create public links for files to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or emails. The service also offers a gallery section specifically for storing and sharing photos. In addition to a local desktop app, SugarSync members can access, view and edit their stored files from any computer or mobile device. The service has apps for all popular mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices.
Egnyte Hybrid Clud is another well-liked online storage service. For businesses, the service is scalable to grow as the business grows, with flexible sharing tools built specifically for collaboration. Egnyte offers a base plan that provides 150GB of total online storage with multiple user licenses, with larger businesses able to sign up for 1TB or 3TB of storage through one of the service’s enterprise plans. Other business features offered by Egnyte include the ability to easily integrate with other widely used cloud-based business applications, such as Google Docs and Salesforce. The online storage service follows strict enterprise-level security requirements, using a best-in-class firewall and 256-bit AES encryption.
Other top online storage services include YouSendIt, which offers unlimited storage; Dropbox, which provides versatile file sharing and versioning; and OpenDrive, which lets members build their own custom plan by choosing their desired amount of storage and number of users.