If you are techno-savvy, you recognize the importance of having a good backup for your data.
If you are really hardcore, you could have a separate hard drive, specifically for your data, that you can easily swap into a new machine of your main drive goes bad.
What happens if you have a fire, or a flood, or a lightning strike from a summer thunder storm. In fact, lightning strikes result in thousands of dollars in claims every year, for damaged computers and electronics.
No matter how elaborate your backup plan, if all of your data is stored in your home, it is vulnerable.
Storing your data in a secure, offsite location is the best way to protect it from loss or damage. Large corporations and some small businesses use providers like LSI for their offsite storage and networking needs. Some services can be cost prohibitive to the individual user.
This is where cloud computing comes in. Cloud computing lets you store your data on a secure site for a fraction of the cost.
Choosing Your Cloud Provider
These days your choices for cloud providers are wide and varied. If you use the latest Microsoft operating system, it has cloud storage built in in the form of the Microsoft. If you use Amazon Prime, you can store your data on the Amazon Cloud. Google, in addition to Google+ and other products, also the Google Drive, and there is also DropBox. And these are only a few of the options available.
Most cloud providers offer a certain amount of storage space free. Google Drive and Amazon both offer 5GB of free storage, Dropbox offers 2GB, and Microsoft offers a whopping 25GB.
Beyond that, you can pay a fee for additional space, depending on how much you think you will need. If you want to backup a lot of music and video files, you could need several hundred GB of space, and that’s where the costs add up.
Dropbox charges $9.99 per month for up to 100GB of storage, and as much as $49.99 per month for 500GB.
Google drive offers 100GB for $4.99 per month, and you can get 1TB (terabyte) for $49.99 per month.
Microsoft, which offers the most free storage up front, offers a maximum of 100GB of additional storage for $50 per year.
Amazon offers a maximum of 100GB of space for $500 per year (or approximately $42 per month). However, Amazon also has its Cloud Player Premium which stores 250,000 imported songs for $24.99 per year. Music purchased at amazon is automatically stored in the cloud player and does not count toward the imported songs limit, and music storage is separate from your drive storage.
If most of your data is music, the Amazon Cloud Player could be your best option, with the free 5GB cloud storage for your documents. If your documents use more than 5GB but less than 25GB, consider splitting your storage between two providers – Amazon for the music and Microsoft’s free 25GB storage for your documents.
Most cloud providers also offer an app that allows you to access your cloud storage from your computer or mobile device and all of the products featured are fairly similar in that respect.
Do you want straight document storage or will you need to synch changes and upgrades among multiple users? If you want straight storage, a product like Drop Box or Amazon’s cloud could be all you need. But, if you are planning to share and edit documents with other people, and link your drive storage to other products like blogs or online faxing, then Google and Microsoft are a better option.