Cloud storage services back up your files and gives you access from multiple devices

Filed under: Computing Tips - Jul 31 2014

Updated 7/31/14:

Most households have multiple computing devices these days – such as desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablet portable devices – and many want the ability to synchronize files between their devices.

There are many companies that offer cloud (aka “over the internet”) syncing and storage services. In this article I highlight 3 of the most popular – Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. All 3 of these services will backup and sync one folder and any sub-folders within it. Your computer can be configured to store your pre-existing folders of Documents, Pictures. Music, etc. inside the synced folder. Since the files are accessible from multiple devices and your personal web site means that those files are backed up and accessible should one or more of your devices become damaged, lost or stolen.

Some of the main features and benefits of the services include:

  • 2-15 GB of online storage for free, with paid plans for more storage as needed.
  • Automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected.
  • Work on files even if you’re temporarily not connected to the Internet. Your changes sync once your computer has an Internet connection again.

Other features included in many of the services include:

File Sharing

  • Shared folders allow several people to collaborate on a set of files.
  • You can see other people’s changes instantly.
  • Control who is able to access shared folders (including ability to block people and remove the shared files from their computers).
  • Automatically create shareable online photo galleries from folders of photos.

Online Backup

  • Automatic backup of your files.
  • Undelete files and folders.
  • Restore previous versions of your files.

Internet Access Security & Privacy

  • Shared folders are viewable only by people you invite.
  • All files stored on servers are encrypted and are inaccessible without your account password, and file transfers are encrypted via SSL
  • Public files are only viewable by people who have a link to the file(s). Public folders are not browsable or searchable.

Mobile Device Access

  • Access your files on the go with applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
  • Download files for offline viewing.

 

Contact Computer Techs if you need help selecting and setting up an appropriate file sync service for your needs. We can also install it on all of your devices, and show you how to use it.

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File Sharing

Sharing files is simple and can be done with only a few clicks.

  • Shared folders allow several people to collaborate on a set of files.
  • You can see other people’s changes instantly.
  • A “Public” folder that lets you link directly to files in your Dropbox.
  • Control who is able to access shared folders (including ability to kick people out and remove the shared files from their computers).
  • Automatically create shareable online photo galleries from folders of photos in your Dropbox.

Online Backup

Dropbox backs up your files online without you having to think about it.

  • Automatic backup of your files.
  • Undelete files and folders.
  • Restore previous versions of your files.
  • 30 days of undo history, with unlimited undo available as a paid option.

Web Access

A copy of your files are stored on Dropbox’s secure servers. This lets you access them from any computer or mobile device.

  • Manipulate files as you would on your desktop – add, edit, delete, rename etc.
  • Search your entire Dropbox for files.
  • A “Recent Events” feed that shows you a summary of activity in your Dropbox.
  • Create shared folders and invite people to them.
  • Recover previous versions of any file or undelete deleted files.
  • View photo galleries created automatically from photos in your Dropbox.

Security & Privacy

Dropbox takes the security and privacy of your files very seriously.

  • Shared folders are viewable only by people you invite.
  • All transmission of file data and metadata occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL).
  • All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES-256) and are inaccessible without your account password.
  • Dropbox website and client software have been hardened against attacks from hackers.
  • Dropbox employees are not able to view any user’s files.
  • Online access to your files requires your username and password.
  • Public files are only viewable by people who have a link to the file(s). Public folders are not browsable or searchable.

Mobile Device Access

The free Dropbox application for iPhone, iPad, and Android lets you:

  • Access your Dropbox on the go.
  • View files from within the application.
  • Download files for offline viewing.
  • Take photos and videos and sync them to your Dropbox.
  • Share links to files in your Dropbox.
  • Export your files to other applications.
  • Sync downloaded files so they’re up-to-date.

A mobile-optimized version of the website is also available for owners of Blackberry phones and other Internet-capable mobile devices.

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