Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

by Dave Johnson

There are some great reasons to use the cloud for storing files. Not only can you get anywhere, anytime access from any PC in the world, but some cloud services give you access to your files on mobile devices like your cell phone, as well. Storage can also be cheap -- you can get a few gigabytes of space for free, and then pay incrementally for more.

With the recent proliferation of cloud services, though, it's getting harder and harder to know which one is right for you. To make things easier, we've rounded up the best options.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive is the newest online service -- it just launched last week. While it's seemingly optimized for music (it even has an online music player to stream tracks you store there), you can actually use it to store anything.

Check out the next page for details on what Amazon offers.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Amazon Cloud Drive In a Nutshell

Amazon Cloud Drive In a Nutshell

What you get for free: 5GB

More for free: You get 20GB for a year with the purchase of a digital music album

Subscription rates: Plans range from 20GB to 1000GB, priced about $1/gigabyte

Other goodies: Amazon digital music purchases don't count against your storage limit

Limitations: Files are only accessible via a Web browser. It's also obscenely expensive. Need 500GB of storage? That'll cost you $500/year (Box, for example, costs about half that).

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Box.Net

Box.Net

Box is a  relative underdog in the cloud storage space -- most people know Dropbox, but have barely heard of Box.

Nonetheless, it's actually a powerful competitor with strong hooks in the enterprise space. Check out the next page for details on Box.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Box.Net in a Nutshell

Box.Net in a Nutshell

What you get for free: 5GB

More for free: None -- After 5GB, you need to buy a subscription.

Subscription rates: There are a wealth of plans, including a fully scalable enterprise implementation. For typical business users, get 500GB for$15/month.                                                                                    

Other goodies: An open platform means that there are a slew of options for third party applications that tailor Box.Net to your business needs. The service also allows you to create subaccounts with varying levels of permission and access.

Limitations: The maximum file size varies depending upon the plan; basic personal users are limited to 25MB files, but business users hit the wall at 2GB.                                                      

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox  is a long-time favorite here at Business Hacks. It's one of the most mature cloud services around, with a wealth of ways to access your files from a range of devices, and a host of features designed to make it a snap to share. If you need massive online storage, though, Dropbox might not be able to meet your needs.

Check out the next page for details on what Dropbox offers.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

Dropbox in a Nutshell

Dropbox in a Nutshell

What you get for free: 2GB

More for free: There are a slew of ways to get extra storage for free. The most common: An extra 250MB for each person you successfully refer to the service, up to 8GB. You can also get 768MB of additional space by performing some fairly painless social networking tasks.

Subscription rates: 50GB costs $10/month. 100GB is $20/month.

Other goodies: There are a wealth of add-ons that extend the utility of Dropbox. For example, you can install apps which make it easy for other people to upload files to your Dropbox account.

Limitations: The maximum account you can buy is 100GB. There's no limit to the size of files you upload via the PC desktop, but you are limited to 300MB for Web uploads.                            

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

SkyDrive

SkyDrive

SkyDrive  is the cloud service included in Microsoft's free Windows Live service. It doesn't get a lot of attention, which is unfortunate given the huge amount of space you get for free (25GB). Intriguingly, the latest version of Office integrates SkyDrive into the UI, demonstrating the power of building the cloud into office tools like Word and Excel. 

Check out the next page for details on what SkyDrive offers.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

SkyDrive in a Nutshell

SkyDrive in a Nutshell

What you get for free: 25GB

More for free: Sadly, none -- SkyDrive only offers 25GB per account.

Subscription rates: Again, none.

Other goodies: SkyDrive access is built right into Office 2010 for painless online storage of your office docs. In addition, when paired with Live Mesh (another Windows Live app), you can access desktop files and keep multiple PCs in sync via the Internet.

Limitations: SkyDrive is woefully underpowered. It tops out at 25GB -- no subscriptions are available for more -- and the file size limit is 50MB, which can limit your ability to store or share large media files.       

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

SugarSync

SugarSync

SugarSync is another popular cloud service that lets you syncselected files with the Web, other PCs, and even your smartphone (iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry are supported).

Check out the next page for details.

Store Your Files Online: The Business Hacks Cloud Storage Roundup

SugarSync in a Nutshell

SugarSync in a Nutshell

What you get for free: 5GB

More for free: Double your storage to 10GB by buying something online with TrialPay.

Subscription rates: Plans range from 30GB ($5/month) to 250GB ($25/month).

Other goodies: The iPhone app is awesome. You can create a public link to any file you have in your SugarSync folder to share with the world, as well as manage your desktop's files directly from your phone.

Limitations: SugarSync is admittedly powerful, but unlike the other options here, the interface is confusing, cumbersome, and overly complicated. It needs some TLC.