Cloud enables simple sharing on social networks and data are available anytime and accessible from different devices.
The accessibility and affordability of smart phones and digital cameras enabled that many of us became amateur photographers overnight. We store gigabytes of data in PC´s, mobiles and tablets, however nobody prints these photos and few people care about backup. Organization of such an amount of photos is time consuming and it takes hours to go through the holiday´s photo albums.
What to do to avoid losing the precious moments in case of a failure or change of device? Cloud is the perfect solution. Cloud service provides various advantages: offers automatic backup of data, photos and documents; automatic organizing of photos into albums according to the place, time or other parameters. It enables to connect various devices and photos of family members can be stored in one account. Cloud enables simple sharing on social networks and data are available anytime and accessible from different devices. You can access the same photos at the same time from a mobile phone, tablet, TV or PC, you just need an internet connection and a cloud service (there are many available even for free).
Cloud is widely used by business or government. Many companies operate for example email services, data storage, collaboration tools from cloud.
Peter Kováč, cloud solution specialist from Technologies adds: “Cloud brings many practical benefits to people. Photos from holiday are available at your hand anytime. Time is not a problem for cloud, data will be stored for unlimited time period. You will not lose you data or favorite music like when you cannot play your old CD.”
There are several cloud services providing the free storage of certain amount of photos. Paid services are available for demanding users. These services provide option of editing and optimization and enhanced functionality for organizing and sharing photos. Peter Kováč warns to caution when using cloud: „Any data can be stored on the cloud, despite the high security of the services provided, it is necessary to think about the security of storing sensitive data.”
How to choose cloud service?
Firstly, it is necessary to take into account the comparison of existing products from the point of view of functionalities and price. Many providers offer free versions, these have the storage of lower capacity as paid version and provide only basic functions. These are sufficient for everyday user. For more demanding users having a large amount of data, it is on the spot to think about the paid versions.
Next factor important to consider is the comfort. If the user, his friends or family with whom he/ she wants to share data use mainly products of Microsoft, Apple or Google, so primarily they should look at existing cloud storage of these companies. These will offer better integration with other applications in sharing data in cloud.
Overview of cloud services
We compared the services of five existing cloud providers from the point o view of price and parameters.
|Cloud service||OneDrive||Dropbox||Google Drive||Box||Apple iCloud|
Starting at Windows 8 it is part of OS Windows.
|One of the first cloud services for storage.||Google services combine set of office tools with cloud storage.||A service that is primarily aimed at a business user who also offers the possibility of personal storage.
|A service aimed at Apple product users.|
|Free capacity||5 GB||2 GB||15GB||10 GB||5GB|
|Paid capacity||50 GB = 2 EUR / monthly||1TB =9.99 EUR / monthly||2TB = 9.99 EUR / monthly||100 GB = 9 EUR/ monthly||2TB= 9.99 EUR / monthly|
|Online files editing||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Max size of folders||15GB||Unlimited||5 TB||2 GB||15 GB|
|Supported OS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS,||Windows, iOS, Mac|
|Advantages||A connection and cooperation with Microsoft products. An integration directly with Windows.
Simple, fast use and broad support across platforms.
By recommending a service, you can get an additional 500 MB of storage.
Available suite of office tools that support collaboration. The best price for GB.
|The box contains many business tools including collaboration and data sharing settings.||
Strong integration with Apple ecosystem. Simple synchronization of data sharing.
|Disadvantages||Less user intuitive comparing to the competition. Lower capacity in free version.||Lowest storage capacity in unpaid version. Many good features are only available in a paid version.||Within the total capacity, Gmail’s capacity is also considered.||
For an everyday user, the amount of available features may be overwhelming and unnecessarily complicated.
|Less functionalities comparing to the competition. Constantly points to increase storage capacity.
|Summary||Suitable for owners of Windows OS devices, who need to share data as quickly and as easily as possible.||Suitable for simple data sharing if you use different types of devices .||Considering price and number of tools is this service suitable for the majority of everyday users.||The service is more suitable for professional use for online teamwork. Ideal for small business owners.||Suitable for owners of Apple devices. If you need more capacity or tools, you need to look at the competition.|
Based on our cloud service comparison, there is no clear winner that suits every need. Users need to carefully consider their requirements and choose the right cloud service. The available cloud products provide services for a very broad range of users, starting with the everyday user who wants to store and share photos from skiing holiday, up to the professional, who needs to use the data for commercial purpose.
When storing data, it is necessary to take into account the data security perspective. Services in the above stated comparison provide certain level of data protection but there is a huge increase in risk of data leakage, in case the user password is weak or the user access data from unprotected devices. For more demanding users who want to add an extra level of security to protect their data, we recommend a boxcryptor service that locally encrypts data and then uploads it to a cloud storage. The service is also available in a free version and also collaborates with the cloud services listed in the overview.