Most of us are aware that we need to back up our files, either onto DVDs, external hard drives or online. There are many secure ways to back up data but a lot of them require time and effort, and are easy to forget to do. If you regularly create and edit a large number of files it might be time to automate your back-ups with a cloud syncing service.
Cloud syncing services such as Dropbox, Cubby, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive automatically sync designated folders in real time, so you always have a fully up-to-date copy of your important files stored safely and securely online. What’s really amazing about these services is that, if you choose to, you can sync multiple computers (and smartphones) so that your files are not only backed up online but also synced across your devices, ensuring that wherever you’re working you always have the latest copy of your files – you can even access them directly from your online backup on a public computer, just login to your account and download the file you need.
If that’s not enough to make you want to immediately sync your blog photos, another very useful feature is the ability to share synced folders with other users. For example, if you and a friend or colleague want to collaborate on a piece of work you can share the folder it is stored in and whenever one of you makes changes to the files the other person’s copy will be updated to match, almost instantly.
The only limiting feature of cloud syncing is the amount of space available. All of the services mentioned above have free allowances from 2-7GB, and most have premium options with up to 16TB available.
There are new cloud syncing services popping up all the time but some of the most useful and popular ones are summarised below:
Dropbox: One of the most established services, Dropbox has a wide range of extra features, has iPhone, Blackberry and Android apps and integrates with Facebook. It is known for being reliable and fast and can automatically sync photos and videos from phones, cameras and memory cards when they are plugged in. You start with 2GB free but get lots of extra space for completing tasks such as putting files in your folders (which you’ll be doing anyway).
Cubby: Currently in beta, Cubby is still establishing its place in the market. The key strength of Cubby is that, although you are limited to 5GB of online space, you can sync unlimited amounts of data between PCs, a feature unique to Cubby.
Microsoft SkyDrive: SkyDrive is integrated with Windows Live accounts and includes 7GB of free space which is more than the others. It has a lot of features which integrate with Windows (naturally!) but apps are only available for iPhone and Windows phones.
Google Drive: Similarly to SkyDrive, Google Drive is integrated with other Google services such as Gmail and Picasa. With 5GB of free space and the cheapest paid allowances (upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 per month, it’s worth checking out if you already have a Google account. Additionally, if you use Picasa for your photos you can share the paid storage allowance between the two services rather than upgrading both.
For more information see: