Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Should you bother with cloud storage for documents?

Using a cloud service may not be of any value to you. You might simply say "why should I" and you could very well be right. Here are a few examples of how you might use a Cloud storage service.

  •  You have important documents that your adult children need access to (Trust, Last Will, etc.). Put them in the cloud and give them access. If you change the documents, they will see those changes.
  • You have a desktop or laptop but also have a tablet. Store all documents to the cloud so all machines can access or change the documents wherever you are.
  • You've had a rare and dreadful experience with a computer crash and lost everything on the computer.
  • You and a business partner or spouse have your own computers but need to share documents.
  • You had a horrible experience switching to a new PC and could not get to your important documents to move them to the new PC.
If any of these statements are true then cloud storage can be of value.

How does cloud storage really work? Is it complicated? It is NOT complicated... really. The "cloud" is just an Internet site. Don't worry, all of these cloud storage companies have very secure sites. I am very comfortable with the ones I use.

  1. When you install the cloud provider software, you create a User I'd and password and the software creates a unique folder on your PC.
  2. You move folders and files into that new folder.
  3. This folder is synchronized to the cloud.
  4. The cloud synchronizes to other PCs when installing the same cloud provider software and using the same User ID and Password. It's really secure.
Cloud folders as they appear in Windows Explorer

There are many cloud storage products to choose from. Most are FREE for a certain amount of space and charge an annual or monthly fee to get additional space. I use Dropbox because of the large number of iPad apps that utilize it. I also use Microsoft's Skydrive, Google's Google Drive and SugarSynch. I only pay for extra storage on Google Drive as I also use it to store a large amount of photos using Google's Picassa.

I use SugarSynch as a backup solution for my laptop. It backs up files immediately and invisible to me. Since my data file well exceed the Free portion, I pay about $50 per year to calmly know my data is immediately backed up to the cloud. I know if I ever lost or had my laptop stolen, I could quickly and easily restore everything to my new PC using SugarSynch. Oh, I use SugarSynch on my Android phone to copy photos to my PC, right though the cloud.

Here are links to some of the popular cloud storage companies.

SkyDrive from Microsoft
Google Drive from Google
ICloud from Apple
Amazon Cloud Drive

Search the Internet for cloud storage to see a much larger list.

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