Picture Perfect Clouds

Google-Cover-2120x1192Cloud storage seems to be the hottest trend in storage today, and there are so many digital items that users love to store. This is not only confidential or private information – there are baby videos, photos that show the progression of a family, even your grandparents’ weddings and other photos that have survived the tests time and nature. How does one back these up, let alone an entire hard drive?

With your photos and movies, there are several online options to choose from. First, we have Flickr, which is a popular site with free membership where account holders share and store their photos online. With free membership, you can upload 300MB monthly, but you can only view the last 200 photos uploaded, even while the others are safely stored. Other options of this type include: Photobucket and Smugmug. However, if you are not in the market for a photo-specific service and the library is a modest size, take a look at Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google Drive, Box or Dropbox. Many of these offer up to 5GB of free storage, and allow you access to your photos 24 hours a day through a viable internet connection anywhere.

Another option, if you need to store a computer hard drive but aren’t looking to accrue monthly charges, is to look in to Pogoplug. With Pogoplug, a user would pay once for the hardware, allowing you to create your own “personal” cloud at home, thereby supplying your own storage. Your basic Pogoplug device will cost you $50, with a USB 2.0 slot to connect external thumb and hard drives, along with an SD reader slot. Whereas the $100 “Series 4” version comes with an added 3.0 USB and supports USM storage, setting up is simple. Plug the Pogoplug into a power outlet, before hooking it into your router, and then connect the hard drive. After that you’ll need to install the Pogoplug’s companion software for Window’s, Mac or Linux. The go on the site to activate the device and set up your account.

The desktop software that Pogoplug uses looks like a cross between Dropbox and SugarSync, where in it creates a separate drive for your computer, allowing you to drop and drag files or to select folders to backup automatically. Pogoplug allows you to access your files on the go as well, through mobile apps for the Android, iPad, or iPhone.

Cloud storage is very popular because it is easy to use and an affordable way of making sure that your files and media are securely backed up. Regardless of the option you choose you should make sure that you choose a provider that works for you – and of course your budget.