The cloud holds features and functionality for a vast array of services. The most common service however, is file storage and transfer. In the past, everyone was limited to the file sizes permitted by the software, application, or email service they used. When storage was needed, everyone used CDs, DVDs and flash drives. This limited users and created a need for additional hardware and accessories that could easily be lost. With the cloud, that is no longer an issue, however, not all cloud services are the same.
One of the most important characteristics to consider when choosing a cloud storage service is the size of the files you are able to upload. Even with the vast amount of space these services have, many still limit your individual file sizes. For most users this isn’t an issue, however for users who want to upload large media files, database files, or extensively large documents, you will need a service that allows larger files.
Most file size limits range between 2GB up to 10GB per upload. When considering your cloud storage service, consider the types of files you will want to upload prior to signing up. This will help avoid the need to upgrade your cloud service to a higher priced plan or the headache of not being able to upload the larger files at all.
As with any service, cloud pricing is competitive. Depending on the amount of space, users, and features you need, you may be able to find a cheaper service that offers everything you want. For users that require more, the services can be a bit pricey. Take the time to compare each cloud storage provider, the different pricing plans they offer, and determine your needs beforehand to avoid paying too much for something you don’t need.
As the cloud offers a lot of functionality and options, cloud service features may vary. If you are constantly on the go and utilize mobile computing or your smartphone, you may want a service that offers mobile access. For those who want to stream audio or video from their cloud storage, you will want to assure the service you select offers that option.
As with file sizes, many cloud service plans have a storage limit. These storage limits are often dictated by the pricing plan you choose. If you know how many files you will be uploading and the amount of space you need, you will have a better chance of avoiding overpaying. If you are unsure about how much space you need, most services will allow you to upgrade your plan later, so choose a lower cost plan in the beginning and upgrade if needed.
Just like any other service on the internet, there will be enticing gimmicks offered to rope you into a service. These can include introductory offers that are cheaper for the first couple of months before charging full price, free service trials that will auto-bill after a certain amount of time, or a discount on trying their highest priced service for “X” amount of time. Though these can be opportunities to save money, a majority of consumers often forget to cancel or downgrade when the trial is over and are hit with a large charge for features they didn’t even use.
Cloud storage is a great way to gain access to the files that are important to you. As mobile computing grows, tablets and smartphones evolve, and the cloud becomes a computing standard, you may be looking into getting a service of your own. Take the time to compare each service and read the fine print before getting into a plan that is more than you need or want to spend.
Jim Daniels is a tech-savvy freelance blogger who experiments with cloud technology. A great business tool, Jim recommends using the cloud to send large files to your co-workers.