What is the difference between Cloud Storage and Online Backup?
Which is Best Cloud Storage or Online Backup?
It’s best to answer these questions, with yet another question…. What are your needs? If you only have one computer and want your files to be safe, you’re probably better off with an online backup. However if you have a PC at work, a Mac at home, you carry a Tablet and either an iPhone or Android Smart phone, well you might want to look at Cloud Storage.
However you could be somewhere in between and finding a hybrid technology might be best for you, as it does both backup and synchronization between devices. The plans, features and costs are all over the chart, however I will do my best to break this down for you to make an informed decision as to what you may need.
What is Online Backup?
We have all heard of them Carbonite, Mozy, Even SOS Backup, CrashPlan, BackBlaze and more. Some came on your PC from the factory, or suggested by the Apple Guru’s, you have seen them in TV Ads, heard them on radio TV shows and even got a ton of email from them.
Online Backup solutions simply copy information from your computer and archive it online in various ways so that your information is safe. You would want a this as a basic solution if you keep documents like Tax Returns, Photos, Statement, Important letters, Spread sheets or other vital information for your life, home business or professional business.
The plans are always changing, features are starting to blur with Cloud Storage and the amount of storage is getting bigger as technology gets faster and cheaper.
What is Cloud Storage?
Due to all the Commercials, people often ask “What is the Cloud?” Cloud storage is a modified version of Online Backup. Cloud Storage is or was very different from Online Backup. Cloud Storage offers a just in time Synchronization solution between devices.
Your information, data, documents, pictures, music or what ever you feel is important, can be not only backed up to the cloud, but saved or synchronized several devices. The benefit is your information is where you wanted it, when you want it for any reason on any device…. EVEN if that device is an Internet Cafe, a friends tablet, your smart phone or EVEN to People on the Internet through Social Media.
Features of Cloud Storage or Online Backup, you might want to look for…
While there are Many Features that are important, I am only going to highlight the ones that historically affect cost and competition in contrast to each other. These are the BIG 8 FEATURES you should take in to Consideration for ANY Online Backup or Cloud Storage Solution.
- Storage Size: It used to be that you could find online backup for 2gb, then it became 5gb, now some offer unlimited for just one machine for an online backup. With Cloud Storage, most started at 5gb and if you tell others and they sign up you can get up to 35gb of storage. Of course the more storage you want, the more the cost will be.
- Device Compatibility: Do you have an iPod, iPad, Android Tablet, Android Phone, PC (Windows XP – Windows 8), a Mac (OSX), a Blackberry. If your like me, you have many devices, as each has strengths and weaknesses. I have a PC at work and home (Windows 7), I have a MacBook Pro and an Android Phone. So for me its very important that my data can be accessed on all these devices on Cloud Storage in real time and not just through an Archive or Online Backup.
- Synchronization: Do you need your information where ever you go, on any device you can get your hands on and do you need it NOW. Synchronization is what defines cloud storage, it’s like having an invisible hard drive with all the things you want and need, when ever you need them, assuming you have an internet connection. However with Synchronization, it often happens in the background when ever an internet connection is utilized.
- Versioning: The ability to keep multiple versions of the same document as you develop it or change it. Often required by Business People, used in Real Estate, Lawyers, or any where contracts, proposals, research, think tanks or others would need versioning. The more versions available the more the plan is likely to go up.
- Sharing (Private or Public Links or Social Media): You have a tablet or smart phone and you are constantly taking pictures and while there are great sites for storing your pictures, some you may want to keep private and only share with selected people. Or maybe it’s a business proposal, or joint venture agreement, or documents for your sales or marketing team. Sharing features allow you to Privately share any data with a private link, with or without a password. Even more than that is the ability to share using Social Media to your Customer or Client base, maybe its a magnetic attraction marketing report used for gaining interests in client sales.
- Support: Everything that has to be powered or connected goes off line at times, so when this happens you want to know the reliability of the Online Backup or Cloud Storage Service Provider. Even more important is your Device fell out of the car, got ran over or your child thought your tablet was an awesome frisbee. With your new device you may need support to help get your data back. Or what if your files suddenly disappeared? There are different levels of support from email to phone support, the more personal, the more you can expect to pay for that service plan.
- Ease of Use: Is the Interface simple to use, is it intuitive, are their training videos on how to use it on the Online Backup or Cloud Storage Service Provider’s website? It used to be the more documentation, the more expensive, but many providers have discovered that the more information, the less support calls, meaning less staff and higher profits. So in this manor customer support has become a Video Tutor, many only 2-5 minutes for simple procedures. Video Tutorials also are a higher level customer support developed through many years or months of feedback and development. So look for a Online Backup or Cloud Storage Service Provider that has your comfort level of training videos, FAQ’s (frequently asked questions), feed back forms and the type of support you would need.
- Security (Encryption Level): This is a big one for those in business, but not so much for a home user, unless you place sensitive data on the Online Backup or Cloud Storage Service Provider’s website. Things like your financial information, retirement, Your Will or Trust documents, these things you want a high level of encryption and a secure connection to ensure the data is as safe as possible.
I am familiar with the names of Online Backup Services, but who is the BEST Cloud Storage Provider?
I’m going to start with the two biggest online challengers on the Market, Apple and Google.
With the Lemming Generation, (i.e. those that use only Apple Products), you are forced, okay strong willed or duped in to Apple’s iCloud services. Okay My apologies if you’re a lemming, I mean an Apple Fan, but the fact is there are other ways to go. Until June 201, if you were part of Apple’s MobleMe, you were forced to pay $99 a year to have the benefit of synchronizing your data across your Apple only Devices. Yes there was a PC program, but if you used it, you didn’t for long and you know the reasons why.
Now Apple has iCloud, the ability to synchronize and store a ton of information, FOR FREE and in the usual Apple way you could go in to the store for help or use Google, but Apple even has a Status Update for the iCloud. However it is limiting to a web browser, especially to a PC to only a handful of the information stored. You get 5GB of Storage for FREE, then there are plans and if you have an Apple TV, iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or any other or future Apple product that’s a lot of data.
The Big Challenger is Google with all the same services offering 5gb of storage and 10gb of email attachment and plans for up to 16tb (that’s Terabytes of storage…for some $800 per month, but hey it’s there. The Bonus to Google is it works on ANY Device, it is simple to install and configure. However some of their features are a bit complex as they are developing them. Like Apple, Google also has an Online Status. I personally prefer Google’s Solution as I have been using gMail for nearly 10 years and having a PC at work and home, a MacBook Pro and an Android Phone, my data is always available, often natively and faster than Apple’s iCloud Solution.
While Apple and Google offer some impressive Solutions to Online Backup and Cloud Storage, they are not the only game on the Internet.
But let’s get back to the question of, What do you need?
– A Single Computer Backed up? Go with an Online Backup Service
– Some Data where and when I need it? Google or Apple could work
– I have many devices and need backups and Data everywhere I am? – A Hybrid solution
– D: All the Above and some Social Media too? THE MOST Complex Solution
Comparisons of Cloud Storage or Online Backup
The Following charts are from Sugarsync.com, I am using them as illustration to what you should look for and compare.
VIDEO Training or Over View of Cloud Storage
An Overview video is usually your first introduction, it is the HOOK for you to come learn more. I like this video from Sugarsync, because it shows how easy it is to use their application… and it really is that easy to use.
You will want to View Comparison Videos of Top Cloud Storage Products and Services as well
Again, I like this video from Sugarsync, because every where I go, everyone uses DropBox. To me DropBox is just not a flexible solution as to HOW I STORE my Data on Each of my 3 Different Devices, again a PC, Mac and Adroid smart phone. Here in this Video, you can see clear advantages for someone with similar needs.
Conclusion to Cloud Storage or Online Backup
As you can see there are MANY Features and Considerations to take in to View when you are deciding. If anything I hoped this article helped clarify some questions that you should be answering before you BUY a Solution that you might not get along with. You should LOVE the Features and the Solutions to your Specific Needs and you will be more likely to use the product. ALWAYS Make a List of what is IMPORTANT to You, you can start with the graphic images above and the BIG 8 FEATURES you should take in to Consideration for ANY Online Backup or Cloud Storage Solution.
CASE SCENARIO For me, as I have stated, I have a PC, a MacBook Pro and an Android Phone. I am not crazy or really even that smart, but I see technology changing a lot and I did not want to CEMENT my habits to one solution, brand or vendor. It took me nearly 3 months of researching before I found that Sugarsync was a better solution than Dropbox, which was pushed by all my friends, business partners and family. The reason why, is I some specific needs other than it working on all 3 platforms. Each device stores information in different places on the computer. I wanted to only backup and synchronize certain folders and files, where the computers operating system normally puts them. Dropbox made me move them to a Dropbox folder, which is not in alignment with the operating system of a Mac or Windows or even my Android phone. I also wanted to synchronize for maximum storage of my files I use most often in mobile situations. I needed high security and I needed my information not to be hindered by any device, which means I wanted to be able to use a web browser and login to get my files on any computer, securely. As you can see my needs requires a lot of research, praying, cost effectiveness and mobility. I have found that a hybrid solution beyond Sugarsync was appreciated. I use Facebook and Google Services to backup and synchronize my contacts, email, calendars and bigger files like pictures and videos as well as data created on the move. My goal was not to have a huge online backup solution… although with nearly 5 terabytes of information across all my devices, I am looking strongly at JustCloud.com, more on that in another article in the near future.
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