Cloud Storage


Dropbox offers similar features for free with a personal user account, alongside Pro and Teams options that start at $9.99 a month for 100 GB of storage, as well as annual subscriptions that are available at roughly a 17% savings over monthly charges. The Packrat service at an additional $39 per year also will give you unlimited "undo" history for restoring deleted files and previous versions of files, a boon for image and video editors. Dropbox is also known for its ease of use not only on the administrator side, but also for recipients. Creating links and password-locked folders is a snap regardless of the operating system.

Similarly, the CX cloud service offers CX Rewind for restoring unlimited file versions. The account starts off with a bang, with 10 GB of storage free of charge, as well as an extra potential 6 GB when you refer other users to the service. They also have custom plans for businesses and tiered plans for 25 GB, 50 GB and 175 GB accounts, which range in cost from $4.99 a month to $24.99 a month.

The comprehensive SugarSync has a slight edge over other services in that it allows you to decide which folders should be synced across multiple computers while most other services require a designated folder for updating files. Backups are automatic, and you can view and restore the last five versions of files. SugarSync’s Web Archive, the location online where files are stored, is accessible from desktops and mobile devices, including a dedicated iPad app alongside iPhone/iPod touch, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian applications. Capacity is free up to 5 GB, with extra capacity plans available in 30 GB, 60 GB, 100 GB, 250 GB and 500 GB at monthly or discounted annual subscriptions, starting at $4.99 a month.

If you don’t mind a little extra complication to save money, you can sign up for several free services and use them in tandem with Otixo, an application that accesses and organizes your online cloud services with 2 GB of free bandwidth (uploading and downloading of files) per month or unlimited bandwidth for $4.99 a month.

Amazon offers a number of web services, including Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier, which is a very affordable long-term backup service. Amazon Glacier is expressly intended as an archival solution, however, because files are kept in remote servers spread across the globe. Compared to S3, which keeps files much closer at hand for easy, repeated access, Glacier tacks on an additional penalty charge for retrieving files, which also can take several hours to access. This gives you greater choices over cost and access, but Amazon’s pricing structure is a bit convoluted, with prorated charges that are based on your storage and data transfer consumption.

Pricing for Amazon Glacier starts at a mere $0.01 per gigabyte per month (about $10 total a month for a terabyte) while Amazon S3 offers a starting price point of about $0.14 per gig. You can upload single files as large as 5 TB, and each archive will store up to 40 TB.

Keep in mind that Amazon prorates data-retrieval charges based on peak usage, which can add up if you need files quickly, so for files that require a lot of access, Amazon S3 is the more cost-effective solution in many cases. Setting up Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier also requires a bit of dedication. They’re very tech-oriented services, but the cost savings and data "durability of 99.999999999% per archive" makes Glacier worth a serious look.

Amazon Cloud Drive is very similar in offerings to Dropbox and Google Drive with 5 GB of free storage and additional space starting with 20 GB at $10 a year and ranging up to 1000 GB at $500 a year. Uniquely, Amazon’s Cloud Drive includes a Cloud Player for streaming music from the service.

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