For confidential, proprietary data and massive raw audio/video back up files, physical computer storage makes sense. But for the rest of the important files that you need every day or only occasionally—such as timesheets, resumes, tax documents, client proofs, deliverables, website templates, etc.—online file storage is a better solution in almost every way. Online file backup and cloud-based computer storage offers a number of conveniences and safety nets that an external hard drive simply can’t match. If you haven’t already made the move to the clouds, here are a few very good reasons why you should.
Access Your Files from Anywhere
With online backup and file storage, you can access your important documents from your home computer, your work computer, a friend’s computer, a smartphone or the web. No more carrying around thumb drives or emailing documents to yourself. Plus, any changes you make on the go are automatically updated on all of your machines.
File Versioning and Redundant Backups
Most cloud storage services not only allow you to roll back individual files to previous versions, but they also let you undelete files with incredible ease. So, even if you accidentally overwrite an important file, it’s still recoverable. Better yet, the fate of your important documents doesn’t rest upon the physical functionality of any one machine. One or all of your computers could burst into flames and your important data would still be safe and sound on the cloud.
Easy Sharing and Collaboration
Emailing massive attachments is cumbersome and unreliable. If your files are already on the cloud, you can easily send shareable links to your clients and colleagues where they can download it directly. Save your inbox from overflowing and avoid false positives from email-based virus scanners by sharing your files from the cloud.
Affordable to Free
For personal use, you can get more than enough online storage for your needs. For professional use, cloud storage is priced at scalable and affordable rates. If you only need a little computer storage in the cloud, you can pay just a little. If you need more, you can up your allotment on the fly without incurring massive overage fees. Modular, flexible pricing is perhaps the best quality of cloud-based computer storage.
It may feel less secure to have multiple iterations of your files floating around on the Internet, but in reality, it’s likely more secure than having your confidential data sitting on your desk on a USB drive where even the janitor could swipe it. Online file storage services use the same data encryption and security measures that are used by government agencies and banks. Not even employees of the service provider have access to your data (other than meta data used to keep track of files).
Getting Started with Cloud Storage
There’s hot competition among online file storage services, but the best of the best offer all of the above features and more. If you’re ready to get started with online cloud storage, check out Dropbox, Mozy, SugarSync, Windows Live SkyDrive, Box.net or Amazon S3.