File Sharing Options to Consider
Dropbox is currently the most popular file-sharing software available on the web. Because of its developer-friendly application programming interface (API) it has apps available for download for nearly every platform. The way Dropbox works is relatively simple. Once you download the program, Dropbox will create an icon that opens like a file browser. The user can drag-and-drop the files they want to share (or backup) and when they appear in the Dropbox file-folder, you can then access it from any other device where the Dropbox application has been downloaded. You can also go to http://www.dropbox.com and sign in with your username and password and access the files you’ve shared. Its predominance and cross-platform reliability does come at a cost. Dropbox is one of the more expensive programs of its kind. A user can get 2GB of space for free, with the option of more free space for referring the service to other users.
•2 GB – Free
•25GB – $9.99/month
•100GB – $19.99/month
Google’s long-awaited answer to Dropbox finally launched earlier in 2012 and it doesn’t disappoint. After updating the iOS version with editing capabilities in September, Google Drive it is now available and completely functional on Android, Windows, and Apple devices. The aforementioned document editor allows you to create documents and spreadsheets on your mobile device with even more options (such as the option to create presentations) on your Mac or PC. Google Drive is also considerably less expensive than some of the other services; you can get 100 gigabytes of Drive space for only $4.99 per month.
Google Drive Pricing:
•5GB – Free
•25GB – $2.49/month
•100 GB – $4.99/month
Microsoft SkyDrive has been around for a few years, but has been aggressively upgrading its capabilities in 2012. It’s available on most devices and offers the most value of any of these options as a business solution. SkyDrive is accessed with an established Hotmail account, and like Google Drive, includes an editor for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. SkyDrive goes one better by offering a “fetch” option. Say you forgot to sync a particular file that you desperately need that’s still on your home computer; SkyDrive comes equipped with an option to make your system remotely accessible so that you can “fetch” the file you need. SkyDrive is the least expensive of the three services reviewed here. A user can save around 15% per year if they subscribe to the SkyDrive service as compared to other inexpensive options, such as Google Drive.
Microsoft SkyDrive Pricing:
•7 GB – Free
•50 GB – $25/year
•100 GB – $50/year
There are literally dozens of other cloud-based options for file sharing. Programs such as SugarSync, Box, MediaFire, Cubby, iCloud, Egnyte offer essentially the same services as the three listed above. Another option, if you don’t want to pay for file sharing, is to create your own cloud. Since a cloud can be an offsite or onsite storage solution, this could be a cost effective way to backup and share your data without the assumption of an additional occupational expense that subscribing to a service like the ones outlined above provide. Plus, if your business utilizes it’s own cloud, you control everything about it, from the backup, to the security, to the uptime.
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