Of course, when it comes to business-friendly webmail services, Gmail has been the go-to tool for as long as anyone can remember. Gmail already has legions of fans and a solid reputation as a versatile, reliable mail service.
Proof positive that you cana€™t judge a book by its cover, Gmail is almost certainly the worlda€™s ugliest webmail service. Even the online Outlooka€™s ads look nicer, with thumbnail photos that pop up when you mouse over deals that catch your interest. For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots.
PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done.
Our first observation: External hard drives have a much more linear pricing structure than cloud services. In the chart below, glide your mouse over the blue bars to see specific cost-per-gigabyte specs. In contrast, online backup services vary widely, with features and plan types influencing the overall cost significantly. Glide your mouse over the blue bars in the chart below to see these wild pricing differences among the cloud storage services.
If you only need to back up a dozen gigs of photos and documents, we dona€™t need to crunch any numbers. Just keep in mind that these basic plans tend to have several drawbacks, like file size limits and restrictions on the number of devices you can include.
Todaya€™s average consumer will likely need storage somewhere in this range, enough for a small family or one HD movie enthusiast. Here, the median cost for an online service per gig (per year) is 42 cents, compared to 41 cents for an external hard drivea€”virtually dead even.
Yes, therea€™s a 10 percent chance your external hard drive will fail in those first three years, so a cautious consumer might consider the extra 82 cents an insurance policy. In the end, cloud-based solutions are the overall winner, proving either comparable or better cost per gigabyte in all but one category. Cloud Chronicles is written by Network World Senior Writer Brandon Butler, who tracks the ins and outs of the cloud computing industry. Backing up files is one of the most important things a computer user can do to ensure that no document is lost to the many problems that come with the use of technology. When looking at the benefits of cloud storage providers, many people do not understand what exactly these services can do for them. While these are just some of the most important benefits, you can be assured that any data is always available, even if you lose your equipment to unforeseen disasters.
There are variations of cloud services that are free and can meet most of your storage needs, but if you have a lot of files to backup, then this can be a cost-effective way of keeping your data secure. We engaged the best cloud experts in the world to conduct a review on each cloud provider and find the top 10 services. Although you can use the former to manage multiple mail accounts (both business and personal), as you can Gmail, it cana€™t import Outlook PST filesa€”only Outlook contacts exported to a CSV file. Anyone new to it would likely be put off by its cluttered and unintuitive layout, its confusing sidebar, and its text-heavy design. You can quickly switch among a dozen color schemes, all of which accentuate the interface without overwhelming it. Gmail continues to mix in largely text-based ads, without so much as a shaded background to help separate them from actual inbox matter.
Mobile devices with their small and sleek form factors have limitations on the internal storage available on them.
Produced by FindtheBest, a company that aggregates specs and features in a centralized database, this weekly guest column will share data-drivenA discoveries and surprises, and attempt to expose common misconceptions. External hard drives are fast (everything backed up in minutes!) and safe from hackers (you control the data), but are susceptible to theft, fire, and hard drive failure. Assuming your data will not be hacked, stolen, or burnt to a crisp in a house fire, which solutiona€”cloud storage or an external hard drivea€”is more cost effective, byte for byte? Ita€™s just that youa€™ve got 40,000 family photos and a temperamental desktop that might crash any day.
A 100GB drive will end up costing you between $1 and $4 a giga€”highway robbery these days.

Consider, however, that 90 percent of external hard drives will last for three years without failure.
But for those willing to take the risk, an external drive is more cost-effective for backups in this range. Based on our data, three years of an online service in this range will cost you about 36 cents per gig, while three years of an external hard drive will clock in at about 21 cents per gig.
External hard drives in this range are certainly efficient (only about 12 cents per gig, on average), but cloud-based plans are even better. What's more, online backup services are becoming cheaper and more accessible every year, which will likely make the choice even easier over time. Businesses are even looking at this valuable service as a way to save money on storage equipment and making those client documents available to their employees around the world. If you have ever lost your files to corruption, viruses or hackers, using a cloud storage service will come in handy. You can make a determination of whether this service is for you if you know everything about these providers.
With so many saying they offer you the best service, you can get confused about which ones to join.
We gave each one of these experts a list of the quality standards we expect from a cloud service and these experts graded them on this criteria.
Learning your way around Gmail isn't harda€”and there are rewards for doing soa€”but it isn't pleasant, either.
Gmail, on the other hand, has lots of themes, but most of them merely add extra distraction to an already cluttered interface. Meanwhile, cloud solutions provide ongoing, reliable service, but are slower than on-site solutions, and (theoretically) more vulnerable to hackers. In the end, nearly all hard drives end up costing about 10 to 50 cents per gigabyte, with just a few exceptions on either extreme.
Many big-name backup services, like Box and DropBox, offer plans from 5 to 10GB of storage at a cost of $0. Unfortunately, the 20 to 100GB range is a bit awkward, with few free solutiona€” and upcharges for those extra gigs. The math says an external drive is the right choice here, but that insurance policy is suddenly only 15 cents. Once you hit a full terabyte, the incremental cost of more space becomes less and less of a factor. The prevailing wisdom tells us to back up bothA onsite and offsite, but soon, the external hard drive may just go the way of the compact disc.
However, once you find the right one, then you will discover that the benefits outweight the risks, if it is the right provider. Vying the huge potential in online storage space, many cloud storage services are providing free storage to lure new customers.With free cloud storage services you can store your videos, music, movies, photos and files in the cloud for free and access them from anywhere on the go through internet.
As such, the cost per gigabyte for online backup can range from a fraction of a penny to $10 or more. So leta€™s take a look at the full range of backup scenarios, from a tiny backup to a multi-terabyte solution. Google released the beta of a new service named Cloud Dataflow a€“ allowing customers to create a€?data processing pipelinesa€? that scale dynamically based on the amount of data thata€™s loaded into it. Your data is safe with the cloud storage providers and you don’t run the risk of a crashed or stolen hard disk. In each case, wea€™ll pick the better optiona€”assuming your goal is simply to save money, and nothing else.
Google says this is ideal for large-scale data processing scenarios such as ETL, analytics, real-time computation and process orchestration.The day after Googlea€™s news, Microsoft released its own big data announcement with the general availability of Azure Stream Analytics. Listed below are the top 10 best free cloud storage services.Top 10 Best Free Cloud Storage Services1. Microsoft pitches Stream Analytics as a tool for processing a€?Internet of Thingsa€? data by a€?helping uncover real-time insights from devices, sensors and applications.a€?Streaming analytics and machine learning tools can mean big money for these vendors, which is one reason they are making a big deal about big data. Dropbox provides 2 GB of free cloud storage to every user and you can also earn upto 16 GB of additional free storage by referring Dropbox to your friends. Google Drive: The cloud storage service from the search giant Google provides you with 15 GB of free storage which is shared among its various services like Gmail, Google Plus etc. Box: While Dropbox is popular among individuals, Box is popular among business and enterprise users.

With a personal account you can only upload files smaller than 250 MB to the cloud which is a major inconvenience if you are looking to store movies or large files. Copy: Barracuda Networks, the computer data storage company has made a foray into the cloud storage space with Copy. Copy provides 15 GB of free cloud storage to every user and you also get a whopping 5 GB free space for every friend you refer. But, with the free account you miss out on the best features of ADrive like 16 GB file uploads and also have to bear with the ads on Android and iOS apps.6. Bitcasa: Bitcasa is a cloud storage service that lays emphasis on the privacy of your data. Bitcasa provides 20 GB of free cloud storage and you can access your data from 3 different devices.7. In its attempt to gain a foothold in the industry and drive hundreds of millions of its customers to OneDrive, Microsoft is giving away 7 GB 15 GB of free cloud storage to its users. You can get an additional 5 GB by referring your friends and 3 GB more by enabling photo backup.8. SpiderOak: This is one more cloud storage service that lays more emphasis on your data privacy.
SpiderOak provides a meager 2 GB of free cloud storage which can be expanded upto 10 GB by referring friends (you get 1 GB for every friend you refer to the service).9. Tencent Weiyun: Tencent is a very huge Chinese internet company that is offering a whopping 10 TB of free cloud storage to every new user! Qihoo 360 Yunpan (Cloud Drive): Qihoo 360 is a reputed Chinese internet security company that offers loads of free cloud storage space. The Qihoo 360 Cloud Drive used to offer a whopping 36 TB (36864 GB!) free cloud storage space. Stop worrying about privacy and use this Chinese cloud storage service to dump non-private stuff.
So, share your opinion about these services and also are there any other services worth mentioning here? I’ve used Copy, then after time got not comfortable with their security and privacy, specially after I read their Privacy terms, I immediately quit. February 22, 2015, 14:33Copy had some issues back in 2013, but all that stuff has been fixed since. Reply Link James February 23, 2015, 03:32Actually, all of the issues that I described happened in November of 2014. A person named Leland Ursu at copy was willing to give my password to someone else in November.
From what i have seen so far, it’s the best service out there (unlimited referral storage, no upload size limit, owned by Barracuda, better than box and onedrive) .
You start out with 20gb of free storage if you sign up from a referral link, and each peron you refer gets you 5gb more.
Those providers who guarantee 100% security of your files should be your first priority Reply Link spooky October 2, 2014, 16:23I was wondering which of these services is ideal as the storage for torrent or download.
You can stream music from it, the desktop app allows you to paste a shortcut into your Copy sync folder and Copy will backup everything that the shortcut links to. Their Privacy Policy makes it sound like nobody will see your data unless it’s the FBI with a court order. I used it and logged in and found all of my stuff was gone and someone else was using the account.
Apparently you can send an email to them and ask for a manual reset to any account that you want and they will do it.
Anyway to cut a long story i was asked to install two different media players, both of which have bad reputations.
So I’m using the site still, but will be interested to see if i get asked to install anything again.

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