Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Using Multiple Cloud Storage Sites to Back Up Your Stuff

cloud-on-cloudCloud storage sites, like Box, Dropbox and SugarSync offer free packages to get you into using their services.  Then they encourage you to buy subscriptions for services larger than the usual 5 to 15 GB introductory packages.  However, not everyone wants to purchase these packages for whatever their reasons, but also want to have enough space in the cloud to back up their important stuff.  So, what can one do to have more space, without spending a dime?

I have accounts with Box, Dropbox, SugarSync, Ubuntu1, Tresorit, Google Drive, SkyDrive and Copy.  Now, I have taken advantage of a few free offers here and there with a couple of these accounts, plus I have invited friends and family to using these services to get extra space.  In doing so, it is a great way to get a "little bit extra" without having to put much work, or funds, into it.
 
So, with so many accounts, how much space have I accumulated?  155GBs for free!  Here is the current run down...

Box....................50
Dropbox..........…..5
SugarSync...........6
Ubuntu1..........…..5
Tresorit..........…..50
Google Drive.…...15
SkyDrive.......…....7
Copy............…...17
Total...........… ..155

What do I do with each?  Well, I have SugarSync installed on my phone and tablet so that all pictures and videos I shoot automatically sync to the cloud, AND my laptop/desktop computers via its client.  Best of all, it isn't just a default folder labeled "SugarSync".  No, these pictures will sync to a "Mobile Pictures" folder in my Pictures folder within my user folder on Windows!  Now, syncing like this is standard across the board, but you almost ALWAYS have to use the services "default" folder for syncing...which is a headache.  Tresorit and SugarSync let you select your OWN folders to sync automatically.  This takes away the headache of random folders.

Now, with these accounts, you the user can choose which service will be used for what purposes.  I use SugarSync and Tresorit as my "catch all", honestly.  They act as my redundancy factors.  Google Drive is for documents that I regularly work on, as I use Google Docs for a lot of document creation.  Google Drive is also used for all of my Google services (minus YouTube).  Pictures on my phone and tablet automatically back up to my Google+ account.  SkyDrive I use for Windows 8 app stuff.  It isn't as tightly woven into Windows 8 as promised, so I tend to overlook it, but when apps use it, I use it.  Box and Dropbox act as sharing points for various Chrome Apps I make for GeekBeat.tv, and a couple other document redundancies.  Copy hasn't really found a purpose for me...just yet.  I have it, and I want to use it.  I just have yet to establish a purpose for it.  However, if I ever get around to getting a Drobo, I can install the Drobo Copy App, and use it for auto-redundancy backups between the backup system, to the service.

However, it all really breaks down to the services you need, and how you use them.  There are some great apps on Windows 8 and Android that allow you to manage multiple services in one location.  EStrongs File Manager on Android, and File Brick on Windows 8 are my favorites.  They don't offer an auto-backup feature, but I can still upload/download files when I need to.  All of the services I mentioned offer Windows, Mac, and/or Linux clients to install to your computer.  If you breakdown your needs specifically, you can easily use each service to store specific files within them and not concern yourself like I do with folder names.

Last but not least.  As wonderful as cloud storage is, a good old physical backup in your possession is still a perfect option.  You can get external hard drives for cheap.  An example, I have a 2TB (2,000GB) external HDD from Seagate that I keep EVERYTHING backed up on.  I also have an uncased 300GB laptop HDD being used as an external drive for nothing but music specifically.

Regardless, back your stuff up.  You never know when disaster will strike!

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