Exploring Different Cloud Options

Published On June 4, 2014 | Electronics

If you’re like most people, your understanding of “the cloud” is probably, well, cloudy. As technology becomes more entwined with our lives, you can expect the cloud to follow. Though the cloud may sound like an ominous, looming entity, it’s really a great tool for storing and sharing information.

Here are some of the basics you need to know about the cloud to help you choose the best option for your cloud server needs.

What is the Cloud?

In simplest terms, the cloud is a network of servers. Each of the servers which makes up the network performs a particular task. Some servers store data, some provide computing power to run applications, some allow you to access data, and some servers provide online services. The cloud servers work together, in a network, to create a complete package of functions. You use the cloud network of servers whenever you add photos to Instagram, post to Facebook, or update Google Drive.

Benefits of the Cloud

The cloud offers many personal benefits, like storing and accessing your data (photos, Google Drive notes, etc.) from anywhere. The cloud has been gaining popularity in the corporate world for its other benefits. Traditionally, offices would need to buy new hardware and physical software applications, which also needed installation, being both cost and time consuming.

Cloud technology allows companies to only pay for what they use and offers incredible scalability. The cloud allows companies to immediately access software through the Internet without having to buy extra hardware.

The Best Cloud Options

There are many options when it comes to cloud networks. Choosing the right one depends on your specific needs, however, here are some of the top options for cloud servers.

Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the biggest names in the cloud world. It supports a wide variety of operating systems including mobile, desktop and even beta builds, which has led to a big community of third-party developers who continually add great features to Dropbox. The company has different plans with their smallest starting at 2GB.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a free popular cloud server. It allows you to store spreadsheets, Google Docs and basically anything else you want with 15GB of free storage. Google Drive is available in Windows, iOS, Android, and OS X, so you can use it just about anywhere and on just about any device. Plugins can help you get more out of Google Drive.

OneDrive

OneDrive, which used to be called SkyDrive, allows you to access or store files between your Android device and PC, tablet, or Mac. It even allows you to easily share files with others simply by sending a link or file. OneDrive also allows you to upload photos and videos automatically with the camera backup function.

Apple iCloud

If you own a newer Apple device, you likely have access to the Apple iCloud. The Apple iCloud allows for synchronizing data between Mac and iOS devices, as well as backing up these devices. Apple iCloud users can use up to 5GB of free storage.

Bitcasa

Bitcasa offers 10GB of storage for free, however, you can get unlimited storage for $99 a month. Those with a free account can earn more storage space, 20GB, but are limited to only syncing three devices.  Bitcasa is available on Windows, Windows Phone, Mac, Linux, Firefox, Web, Android, and iOS.

The cloud is quickly gaining in popularity as it makes sharing, storing, and accessing data fast, convenient, and easy.

– By Jennifer Thayer

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