A lot of us use cloud services. Here we will talk about some of the popular services & how to use them to maximise your advantage.
What is Cloud?
Cloud Service is a technology that makes your data available across multiple devices. Depending on service provider this may even be cross platform. This is great as in todays day & age most of us make use of at least 2 smart devices. A common confusion amongst a lot of users is that cloud is a backup technology. This is not strictly true. As I mentioned earlier, when you enable cloud services they ensure that your data across all devices is the same. So if for example, you delete a file on one device, it is deleted across all the devices. It is not possible to go & retrieve the file back from the cloud. To protect yourself from such problems you should look into a cloud based backup technology.
What are the advantages?
There are numerous advantages with cloud based solutions.
- Firstly, your data is immediately accessible across multiple devices without your manual intervention.
- Storage management especially handling portable storage drives is no longer required.
- It is highly cost effective. In most cases the data that we consume is fairly small. The free version for most of the services does provide at least 2Gb of data. In most cases there is the option of purchasing additional storage space if needed.
- Its easy to use, with no major technical requirements.
- Most of the providers support multiple platforms & devices.
Common Cloud Service Providers & services offered
Google Drive: The google drive is a free account that every user gets along with their gmail account. With unto 15GB free storage this is an ideal option for those who want to store large amounts of data. It is also an ideal option for those who wish to share files & collaborate with other users. Works best when used within the Google ecosystem.
Similar to google drive. Microsofts OneDrive allows you to store files on the cloud. This comes free with your existing hotmail.com or outlook.com accounts. Works best when used within the Microsoft Ecosystem.
Yet another popular cloud storage & sharing service. While it has limited capacity of 2Gb it has the advantage of being accessible across multiple platforms. The storage capacity does increase for shared collaborative accounts.
Evernote is a popular app for storing information on the cloud. Apart from just offering cloud services for documents it also has a lot of other built in features such as card reader, calendar, notes that makes it a very popular app. The fact that it runs on almost all the most commonly used platforms only adds to its value. There are paid options available but they are for additional features rather than more storage explicitly.
This is Apple’s cloud solution primarily for OS X & iOS devices. Just like Google drive it ensures that the data across your OS X & iOS devices is the same. The fact that it is accessible via the web make it useful. This service is not available on all the platforms barring the desktop version of Windows for which a free download is available. Works best when used within the Apple ecosystem.
Unlike the other services available this one is OpenSource. It has numerous advantages that make it a very attractive option, especially for businesses thinking of providing cloud services to their employees.
The main advantage is the fact that you can configure & host your own cloud services (as the name says). This means that you have control over the amount of space allocated for users & importantly security.
Apart from that there are native apps available along with a web portal to access all your data from almost all devices anywhere. This means that it is very easy to deploy without the headache of compatibility issues.
The following table gives a basic comparison on what all is offered, note that there maybe more services provided which I may have skipped, the table only highlights the most important points.
Cloud Services Comparison