Your Guide to Kinetic Gig and Cloud Storage
- Sharing and collaboration capabilities: You can share certain files with individuals of your choice. Many also allow for collaboration, meaning one person can edit a photo, as an example, and have the edited photo ready for everyone else.
- Online backup and recovery: For particularly important documents — or even items that you’ll want to keep forever — back them up online. Cloud storage houses any information in data centers, which are redundant to ensure that you can access it at any time, even if one facility is down for upkeep.
- Internet reliant: If you’re somewhere that has no Internet connection — and you get no cellphone signal — you won’t be able to access your stored information.
- Security: We live in a world in which a hack occurs every 39 seconds on average, so it’s only natural to a little wary of storing your data — especially ones that contain sensitive information — online. Most cloud providers have several ways to buff up security, though, including encryption, authentication and authorization, or even all three.
- Limit to free: While many providers offer free cloud storage, there is usually a limit. As an example, iCloud — the popular online storage system for Apple products — provides users with 5 GB for free, while Samsung Cloud gives users 15 GB for free. Online backup for all of your devices also has its limits. Dropbox, one of the most popular for file sharing, caps users to just 2 GB for free. You’ll have to take into account the types of files you’re adding to the cloud, what format those are in, and other factors to see if you might even come close to pushing that limit.
IDrive has a free version, which will store up to 5 GB of data, but it also has paid options for personal and business use. IDrive Personal greatly expands the amount of storage you can hold, with options for 2 TB and 5 TB. This provider also allows for an unlimited amount of devices, including your mobile ones, and will sync up your data across all devices in real-time.
Got different versions of the same document? IDrive will automatically identify the modified parts of those documents and back it up in real-time. And, you won’t have to worry about accidentally deleting something from your computer hard drive, as data is not deleted from your online account unless done so manually or through Archive Cleanup.
2. Google Drive
Similar to Samsung Cloud, Google Drive stores up to 15 GB for an account holder. (If you need more, you may want to look into Google One.) Those who have a gmail email account will be able to use the same login to start saving information onto Drive. Those who don’t can easily create a Google account. This solution is a great one for those who are already constantly using the rest of Google’s Suite, including Google Photos, Google Sheets and others.
With pCloud, you’ll start off with 10 GB of storage for free. It also offers a Premium 500 GB and a Premium Plus 2 TB package — both of which you can pay monthly or a one-time “lifetime” plan. This provider also allows you to “unlock” more free space with certain offers and customer referrals.
This service will let you upload any files, regardless of size, and includes features such as a built-in video player, HD streaming and music playlists.
Backblaze is a perfect tool for all you digital hoarders out there. The service does not offer free cloud storage — all plans are paid — but the real draw is unlimited data. Plans are affordable, though, at either $5/month, $50/year or $95 for two years. Like pCloud, Backblaze allows for online backup of files of any size and includes “auto-threading,” in which the service will automatically detect the right settings for you, depending on your Internet speeds and other factors.
If you’re a Microsoft user through and through, you might want to look into OneDrive, which includes integration of other products from the tech giant. Users will get 5 GB of data without any costs, but you can upgrade to a paid plan with a minimum of 50 GB and a maximum of 6 TB. (Terabyte storage can come with Office 365, Microsoft Office’s cloud-based suite, which includes Word, Excel and Powerpoint, among others.)