According to PC magazine, cloud can refer to any network, and is often used to refer the public internet. Commonly, that is where most things end up when stored in the “cloud.” Storing your important data in the cloud has several advantages. It can be retrieved from anywhere on any device that can access the Internet. It adds infinite capacity to your home/office computer or laptop. It’s always there, even when you’ve forgotten your thumb drive. And it can even be used to update or “synchronize” files automatically.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these features.
The first step is to download the cloud provider’s application that connects your computer’s filing system with the cloud service. For example, a PC user can download the Dropbox app and a folder will automatically appear in the File Manager on that computer. Then it’s easy to drag and drop files into it, or just use save-as from your productivity applications and save files directly into the Dropbox folder. Now you can see it from other devices. The Dropbox desktop app will also constantly check your files for changes and synchronize them automatically. Note: The Dropbox mobile app does not do this.
Tip: For safety (and peace of mind), save your files to another source as well. This could be a USB stick, memory card, etc. Redundancy is the best way to protect yourself from the inevitable crashes, glitches, fire, theft and other hiccups that are going to occur.
Synchronizing is another term you may come across. It simply means when you save a file to your cloud account (Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive) you can access it from other devices. Simply browse the folder from inside the application. It doesn’t mean that the same file stored on your flash drive, or even the hard drive of your computer, gets updated. So you have to be alert or you’ll end up with multiple files having the same name in differing stages of completeness. But it does mean that you can finish a letter you started at home in MS Word, by opening Word on your office computer and going to the folder it was stored in on the cloud, Dropbox for example. Voila! There’s the document you worked on at home last night, just the way you left it, now in front of you at the office.
Many services offer free storage. For example Google Drive and OneDrive both offer 15GB at no charge. iCloud is not so generous at 5GB and Dropbox basic users get 2GB free. Of course, more space is available for a fee. Currently, OneDrive has the best deal at $7/month for a terabyte (TB) of storage. At Dropbox and Google Drive you can get an additional terabyte for $10/month, and iCloud will charge you $20 per TB per month.
If you currently use more than one service, consider the Otixo app. Its file manager lets you search for files in all you cloud folders and copy or move them between folders without first downloading them to your computer or device. This can be helpful if you encounter slow download times or face data usage charges from a mobile provider.
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Source: Jeff Bertolucci, Kiplinger