Thinking inside the Box: Cloud Storage a Key for Mobile Workers

By Rich Steeves June 13, 2012

Remember the days when it was vitally important that you keep all of your books, notebooks and folders with you at all times? Or when you had to keep track of all those floppy disks that held every vital scrap of data you needed for that important project? Can you recall frantically calling work to mail or fax you a vital document because you forgot to take it with you?

These days, thanks to the wonders of cloud storage technology, mobile workers can relax a little bit, as now their documents and files can be accessible from any place that has an Internet connection. With the right cloud storage service, road warriors can access their Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and the like at any time from almost any device. As we’ll soon see, not all cloud storage options are created equal. So what is the best service for a remote worker? Let’s take a look, shall we?

For those mobile workers beholden to the Google empire, the Google Drive service is a strong choice. It integrates seamlessly with your Google account and starts with 5 GB of free storage and can store files up to 10 GB, one of the highest maximum file sizes of any offering. On the minus side, it only has a mobile app for Android and has a somewhat loose privacy policy.

If you are more of an Apple aficionado, you might be drawn to iCloud. One advantage to mobile users is that the service has an automatic backup feature for Apple devices, so work on your iPad, iPhone or Mac can be automatically saved. However, the service is designed to work on Apple products, so if you have an Android phone, you are out of luck. Also, the max file size is a rather paltry .025 GB.

Another offering from a tech giant is Microsoft SkyDrive. It offers the greatest amount of free storage at 7 GB and, if you are using a Windows Live or MSN account, it can be far greater. Plus, if you have a Windows phone, it is the only storage solution that works for you. On the other hand, it does not play well with your Mac if you have one, and also needs a third-party client to work on Android.

There are many other options out there as well, including Dropbox – which is one of the few services to support Linux – though it has a rather small free storage offering, that is, unless you invite a ton of friends. There is also SpiderOak, which has one of the most stringent privacy and security policies and no file limit, though it requires the installation of a desktop app to use. SugarSync also has no file size limit, and it is preparing to offer a Windows Phone app any day now, though its higher tiers are quite expensive. Finally there is Box, which has the cheapest paid tiers, but does not easily sync with your desktop.

The good news for the mobile worker is that there are a lot of choices for services that will allow you to access your files in the cloud from anywhere at any time. The bad news is, depending on your choice of mobile phone operating system and the size of the files you wish to upload, there may not be as many options as you’d like. Still, it’s better to have too many choices rather than too few and, if it cuts down on the anxiety of thinking you lost that 3.5” disk with your entire presentation, then it may just be worth it for peace of mind alone.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

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