For many of us cloud storage has become such a part of everyday life that it’s easy to forget what it was like before. Gone are the days when we had to constantly carry around USB flash drives with all our files on them; and gone are the frustrations of forgetting said USB sticks and all those much-needed files. People took to emailing files to themselves as a fairly safe alternative until the likes of SkyDrive and Dropbox caught on. So, now that you’ve ditched the USB and want to know what you’re options are, we’ll show you how to access your files anywhere whether it’s using the cloud or remote access solutions, from a laptop or a mobile.
Considering that the aforementioned Dropbox and SkyDrive have been around for five years or so, it might seem surprising that Google Drive was only launched last year. It is a file storage and synchronisation service and comprises Google Docs which is a Web-based office suite that allows users to store, edit, and collaborate on documents and offers 15 GB of online storage for free across Drive, Gmail and Google + Photos. It’s worth remembering that files shared publicly on Google Drive can be searched with web search engines.
The alternative to uploading your files to the cloud is to remotely access your home or office computer using an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) client like AccessNow. This might seem a more long-winded solution but it bypasses problems such as 1GB file size limits or free 15GB storage limits (Google Drive), slow uploading and syncing times (Dropbox), and allows users to not only access and edit documents but also to use applications.AccessNow is multi-platform and isEricom’s in browser html5 RDP (it works from within a web browser such as Chrome or Safari) meaning tablets, mobiles, and laptops running most operating systems can use it. If, as a business, you’re concerned about storing sensitive data in the cloud, using an RDP to access your locally stored applications can be a more secure way of accessing files.
If you’re concerned about the stability of storing all your data with a new-sounding company then Microsoft’s SkyDrive might help put your mind at ease. You can pretty much guarantee Microsoft will be around for as long as your files need to be; and it offers a decent 7GB of storage for photos and documents, although specifically for Microsoft Office types, which doesn’t make it as compatibility-friendly as other cloud storage services.
Last year Dropbox announced that it had reached the 100 million users mark; and if that’s not a reason to use it then we don’t know what is. The sheer dominance of this cloud storage provider means you’ll probably encounter it whether in or out of work. The service only offers a free account with 2GB of storage and a max capacity of 16GB with a 300MB limit to files uploaded. It is perfect for many small word documents or spread sheets but remote access solutions are better for larger files such as movies.