A casual comment from a friend prompted this week's Les is More! blog. 
It was about cloud storage and what was the best to go for. 
So I was minded to do a bit of reading/research about it all. 
So here's something to help you decide which one suits you ... 
 
How does it work and what are the broad issues? 
In general, they all create a local folder on your PC or device which syncs with an online version on the Provider's server – just like when you copy a file to another folder but via the internet. This can be done on the fly as you work or you can sync when you want. What it means, though, is that your files are available online or offline because you may want to edit the files when you don't have internet access. If you do this then the updated files will be synchronised when you next go back on line. 
 
The other common concern is data security but despite scaremongering in the media all the main players have adopted laudable strategies to combat these problems. (See below.)  
 
Comparisons 
I found it interesting to read the comparisons about the different offerings and I've put it all together in a table down below.  
Hope this is useful to you all! 
 
 
 
Who are the main players? 
There are more than a dozen providers to choose from, but I've decided to compare the big four – DropBox, MicroSoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Apple iCloud. 
 
These offer Free storage options ranging from 2GB to 15GB typically and if you are a home user then this will probably be OK for you. If you need more space then you will have to spend some money to upgrade and to take advantage you can pay annually or monthly. 
 
Of course, we've always been able to back up to an external hard drive as an alternative. However, this still brings up the question about being happy with the risk of susceptibility to damage or loss or even data corruption. 
 
Financial considerations aside, cloud storage wins it for me because of the convenience of being able to access my files from anywhere on a range of devices. And I've had only a very few minor issues to deal with - nothing serious. But I have had hardware disasters that have given me a real headache.  
 
DropBox 
MS OneDrive 
Google Drive 
Apple iCloud 
Space & Cost 
2GB to 16GB Free 
1TB on DropBox Pro (£79 p.a./£7.99 p.m.) to 
Unlimited on DropBox for Business (£15 p.m. per user) 
5GB Free 
50GB (£1.99 p.m.) up to 
1TB (Office 365/OneDrive for Business £? p.m. per user) 
15GB Free 
100GB (£24 p.a.) up to 
Unlimited (Google Apps Unlimited £120 p.a. per user) 
5GB Free 
50GB (79p p.m.) to 
1TB (£6.99 p.m.) 
Works on 
Windows, Mac, Linux, 
iPhone etc, Android,  
Windows Phone, BlackBerry 
Windows, Mac, 
iPhone etc, Android,  
Windows Phone 
Windows, Mac, 
iPhone etc, Android, 
iCloud via web browser 
File size limits 
10GB via website 
No Limit via PC or Mobile apps 
10GB 
Depends on file type 
1GB 
Security 
(See below) 
• SSL 
• AES (256-bit) 
• SSO 
• 2FA 
• AL 
• PFS 
• 2FA 
• Custom data center servers 
• 2FA 
• SSL 
• AES (128-bit min) 
Pros & Cons 
• Benchmark application 
• Rock solid 
• Wide compatibility 
• Folders/files can be shared 
• Free plan not able to stop permissions editing/deleting 
• Paid plan can prevent this 
• 2GB free storage OK for docs Not OK for media files (photos, music, videos etc) 
• Tempting for Windows users 
• Popular and well endorsed 
• Recent changes not so appealing for non-Office 365 users 
• Windows 10 has selective sync so can keep different files on each laptop/PC 
• Easy to share files 
• Access files on other PCs via the OneDrive website 
• Privacy? Microsoft may scan your files for “dodgy” content 
• Great for Google Docs users 
• Has selective sync – keep diff-erent files on each laptop/PC 
• Smart and simple to navigate 
• Catching up on rivals 
• No selective sync 
• Apple users pay at least 79p p.m. to take advantage of it 
• Might prefer another player? 
• No app for Windows Phone, Android or Blackberry 
The next list explains a few of the abbreviations and technical words I used in the above. 
Term 
Description 
Encryption 
Translates data with secret code or key to achieve data security. 
Encryption Key 
A secret key or password used to encrypt/decrypt the data. 
AES 
Advanced Encryption Standard 
Extremely secure encryption system preferred by governments, banks and other high security organisations around the world. The data is encrypted using blockciphers (blocks of 16 bytes) repeated several times before transmission. So secure that a powerful supercomputer would take billions of years to crack it!  
PFS 
Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption 
Encryption keys change often while encrypting/decrypting meaning only a small portion of data is exposed if latest key is compromised. 
SSL 
Secure Socket Layer encryption 
Provides encrypted link between web server and browser to keep data private and secure. Two keys used and checks the activity is trustworthy. 
SSO 
Single sign-on 
Uses one set of login credentials (eg name & password) to access multiple applications 
2FA 
Two-factor authentication 
Needs password, username, and information only known to user  
AL 
Audit logs 
Provide documentary evidence of activities affecting data security. 
Phew! I hope that wasn't too technical. 
As I said, there are a few more players that I haven't looked at but I think there is more than enough above to get you thinking. 
 
That’s it for now. Don’t get your heads stuck in the clouds! 
 
 
I would love to hear your reaction to this. 
Text me on 07973 507371 or email me les@101systemworks.co.uk 
 
See you next time. 
Don’t forget – “Les is more!” 
 
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