What is your worst nightmare? Apart from turning up to a party naked I am sure that ‘losing my dissertation before hand-in’ is up there too. If you’re still walking around storing things on memory sticks, stop it now! Lots of companies are offering cloud storage space for free, and you might not even realise that you’ve already got a chunk that you’re not using!
Signing up to Dropbox will get you 2GB of storage. Not much really given the competition is offering more generous amounts. If download the app and configure your phone to back-up to the cloud automatically, you’ll earn an extra 3GB. If you’re willing to invest money, then for £6.58 per month, you’ll get 1TB which can be used with Office 365 and offers encryption too.
Dropbox also comes with a handy client that you can download to your Mac, PC and Linux; as well as a mobile app for both iOS and Android.
Verdict – If you just want a free option without paying money, Dropbox might not be the best. But definitely value for money for 1TB per month.
- Google Drive
If you have a Gmail account, you’ll automatically have a Google Drive. 15GB is yours for free and it is by far my favourite service in terms of the amount of space users get for no cost.
Google Drive comes pre-installed with all Android phones & tablets which makes for a seamless transition from working on your desktop to accessing your files on the go. Like Dropbox it comes with a desktop client, but it works just as effectively through the browser.
Google Photos is worth a mention here too. If you save your photos using ‘Original’ settings then this will come out of your 15GB, but if you allow the program to compress the image files, you can have unlimited storage of photos uploaded to Google Photos. For less than £2.00 per month you can increase your drive space to 100GB and for £7.65 per month you can up this to 1TB. Unfortunately Google doesn’t give users to option to encrypt their data, so if privacy is a concern then this might be a game-changer.
Verdict – Value for money with smaller storage options and smooth transition between devices. Free option is the most generous by far of the big names.
Last year Apple slashed the prices of their iCloud storage. This has brought it more in line with the competition, and on some levels it is as good in value as Google’s offering. If you have an Apple device, then you’ll automatically find yourself with 5GB of free storage. Like Dropbox, the free offering is paltry and rather diminuitive in light of Google’s 15GB. But for a small amount you can increase your storage. Increase to 50GB for 0.79p per month or up to 200GB for £2.49.
Beyond Google and Dropbox, iCloud will let you backup and restore your apps & data from your Apple devices depending on storage available. Very useful for those hideous occasions when something goes wrong and you might have to reset your device, or restore your data on to a new one.
Verdict – Very similar to Google Drive and Google Photos, but not appealing if you don’t have an Apple device despite Apples best efforts to entice new sign-ups.
- Microsoft OneDrive
Its more than likely that you’ll have a OneDrive account if you have an email account with Hotmail or Outlook.com, you’ll also find that you might have one if your college or university has Office 365 or if you have a personal Office365 subscription. In fact if you have a personal subscription you’ll be glad to know that you already have a whopping 1TB of space at your disposal already. You’ll have 5GB to use for free and like the other services you can upgrade the storage for about the cost of two lattes a month (£6.99 per month) which includes an Office 365 subscription as well as the storage space. Heading to uni? Check to make sure that your University doesn’t already offer Office 365 for free.
OneDrive syncs in with Windows Phone and PCs running Windows too so like the other systems, there is a seamless transition between working at your desk and on the go. Last year Microsoft slashed their free storage option to 5GB from 30GB and they will scan your files for anything illegal or dodgy without asking first which is a big turn-off for those who respect their privacy.
Verdict – Not my favourite service, but certainly the best value given an Office 365 subscription is less than Google’s 1TB offer. Unfortunately Microsoft’s policy of scanning item without warning puts me off.