Sharing in the Cloud: Avoid the Fog

Whether you want to share your latest holiday snaps with your family or are working on a project with a colleague on the other side of the world, file sharing has never been easier in the “cloud” and is a lot more efficient than emailing files backwards and forwards.

The Cloud
You can share files in the cloud through centralised servers on computer networks:

A server is a physical computer used for storing files – “centralised”, so authorised users can connect to that server location / network through their own computer or device.

For more information about “Cloud Computing”, check out our previous blog post:
 “Every Cloud has a silver lining – or has it?”

Avoiding the fog
There are plenty of companies offering you space on their servers to help you share your files with others – or even with yourself from different locations or devices – but the vast variety of packages on offer can be a little overwhelming.

So, how do you choose the right package?

How much:get a clear idea about how much data you are planning to share in terms of data size

Reputation:

choose a reputable name – you are trusting this company with your personal data!
Trial:always try before you buy (with non-valuable data)

 

Most companies give you (limited) free space to entice you to sign up with them and there is nothing stopping you from signing up with a few different companies to help you build your ideal cloud sharing solution.

Tried & Tested
As always, PC Harmony has trialled some of the free packages and these were our favourites:

Google Drive (was Google Docs)
• internet browser based, installation of additional software optional
• changes are in real time so collaboration with other people is easy- intuitive
• first 5GB free

SkyDrive 
• internet browser based, installation of additional software optional
 (pre-installed on Windows 8 )
• Microsoft owned, so compatible with all MS Office products
• first 7GB free

Dropbox 
• software has to be installed
• well known and used in the industry
• no real time collaboration so conflicted file copies are the norm
• first 2GB free but can be easily upgraded by recommending to friends
 Check out this excellent blog by Theverge.com comparing the above in more detail.

How safe is File Sharing? 
Probably just as safe and vulnerable as data on your computer.

Although some might argue, that a cloud server is more likely to be attacked maliciously, the argument is outweighed by the fact The Cloud is likely to be maintained by professionals, with data usually backed up regularly, first class Anti-Virus in place and another server ready if one goes down.

Obviously, make sure you set up safe alphanumeric passwords including symbols and lower and upper case where possible – and change your passwords regularly.

Lifting the Fog…
The most difficult decision will be which package and company to go with, but once you get to know your chosen file sharing package,  sharing through the cloud is really fairly simple…

 

 

Have PC Harmony,
so you can concentrate on the more important things in life…

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