As technology evolves at an ever increasing pace, more and more of us are replacing our laptops, mobile phones and digital cameras ever more frequently. The trouble with keeping up with technology in this way is that it's easy to leave behind important files or data on a previous device without realising, only to discover six months down the line that the device no longer works and contained the only copy of your wedding photos or old academic work. It's this problem that's prompting more and more savvy technologists to look to the cloud for a solution at an affordable price.
What is the 'Cloud'?
'Cloud' is the new term being bandied around to describe any services that are provided solely inside the internet as far as anyone using them is concerned, and it holds the solution to the lost wedding photos problem. In this category, we are looking at cloud based, or online (to use the old fashioned term), solutions for storing your data and backing up your hard drive. These services allow you to store all your important stuff online (in the cloud) and instantly access it from anywhere in the world. As a bonus your stuff will stay there for as long as you want it to no matter how many laptops you go through by spilling coffee all over the keyboard. These solutions are easier to set up than you might think, but there's still plenty to consider when choosing the right one for you so read on to see what helped us make our decisions.
Online Storage or Online Backup?
Broadly speaking there are two types of service that we looked at in this category. Online storage services generally provide an allocation of space in the cloud to which you can then upload files and usually share them with other people. Online backup services provide a similar type of thing, but also offer extra features to help with scheduling backups and restoring files in the event of a disaster. Many services offer features that would put them firmly in both categories which is great, but generally online storage can work out a bit cheaper than an online backup solution so you should be clear on which suits your requirements best.
Many of the services we looked at also tailor their solutions to home or business users and price them accordingly. As a business user you will probably have some sort of formal set of requirements that the service must fulfil so it makes sense to look for a service that really provides the features an enterprise solution requires. Many companies advertise business plans as just having more space, but anyone from the corporate IT world will point out that there is much more that must be considered, such as security, reliability and ease of deployment. While we have focused mainly on services that home users would want to consider, there are still a few we have looked at which would be well suited to businesses.
It helps to have an idea of the things that are important to you when choosing an online storage or backup solution so here we describe some of the things we were looking at as we reviewed the services.
Setting up an online storage or backup solution really isn't all that difficult and we would recommend it to anyone as an excellent way of making sure important files are kept safe. You should now have some idea of the types of things to look for in these services and, coupled with our reviews, you should be able to make an informed decision on which to go for. Our recommended next stop would be the top ten product reviews in this category to check out some of the best services we found.