The landscape of modern computing has changed. Our applications are in the cloud, our services are decentralized, and our storage has become infinite with the help of a few cloud-based giants.
Cloud storage is perhaps the biggest step toward adopting the “work anywhere, any time” mentality, and that’s not without reason. Traditionally, we have stored all of our files on our computers, devices, or servers and we’ve assumed they were safer there than anywhere else. But what happens when my computer breaks? What happens when I lose my phone? Those files could be lost forever. That’s when cloud storage becomes less of a “scary step” and more of an exciting prospect.
But now you’ll find that you have a few options for Cloud storage. Maybe you’ve already tried a few of these, and maybe you use them all! It’s time to decide on one, and we have a great suggestion for our favourite service.
Starting to store your files in the cloud can seem like a big project, but it’s actually quite easy in most cases. There are very low-profile options to syncing files from your computer, which will then allow you to access those files with your mobile devices and other computers. In addition, the options for storing your files in the cloud are secure, while allowing for specific access control.
Next, we’ll cover the ease of use, storage space offered, costs, features, and compatibility for our choice in cloud storage: Google Drive.
If you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google Drive. This is Google’s online storage and synchronization service that ties directly into other Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, Hangouts, and their full suite of productivity apps. With Drive, not only can you store files in the cloud with your Google account, but you can share files and folders, control access to them by person or group, and collaborate in real time with others in a single document.
It’s more than just file storage; you can write full documents and edit them with others, create intricate spreadsheets for your business, and even compile professional presentations that you can access anywhere in case you might have to give an impromptu lecture. Google Drive comes with a number of productivity tools, built in and ready for your immediate use.
If you have a standard/consumer Gmail account, you already have 15Gb of free storage to use today. That’s all you need! Even better, if you have a Google for Work account, your account actually comes with 30Gb of storage, twice that of a free Gmail account. These storage limits are only the beginning though, because you’ve got the ability to increase your storage to 100Gb for $2/month or 1Tb for $10/month.
Here’s the best part: with Google Drive for Work (an excellent Google for Work offering from Google) you can have unlimited storage! That means that, no matter how big your organization grows, or how much storage you need as a user, you’ll never run out of space again.
Offline capabilities & synchronization
Google Drive offers offline working as well, so you can work on-the-go without having to worry about being disconnected. On top of that, Drive can be fully synced to your mobile devices or computer desktop for seamless integration with your existing productivity software. You can open and edit any file, save it right back into Google Drive, and share it with whomever you like. It’s as easy as that. Whether you have Windows or Mac, Android or iOS, you can access your files anywhere.
We wouldn’t love Google Drive as much as we do if we hadn’t been able to test the alternatives. Other cloud storage options limit you to 2Gb of free storage, impose smaller file-size restrictions, and may be clunkier when running a sync on your computer. Google has never limited us in the way these other options have.
If you’re using another cloud storage solution or several others simultaneously, why not consolidate? Not using any cloud storage? It may be time to take the plunge!Originally published on February 24, 2015