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Sunday, 01 September 2013 16:10

Space wars - attack of the clouds


Online cloud-based storage is becoming increasingly accessible with providers like Dropbox, Microsoft, Google and others providing more free space to entice users. Here's a new tip for an extra 1Gb in your Dropbox account as well as a massive 5Gb with Barracuda Network's Copy, and some news from Box.

I use many cloud services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Box and others. Such services serve very valuable purposes in keeping files in sync between multiple computers as well as providing a backup of local files. In my view, that aspect alone of cloud-based storage has been a huge public benefit to computer users worldwide who otherwise may have had no backup.

In March this year Dropbox, the company, acquired an iOS Gmail app called Mailbox. It took a few months for synergies to be established, but all iOS users can gain an additional permanent 1Gb of free Dropbox storage by installing the free Mailbox app, then linking it to Dropbox within the Settings menu. There is no other work or cost involved. Download the app here.

Meanwhile, relative newcomer Copy is delivering a massive referral credit of 5Gb per person.

Copy, like Dropbox, is unobtrusive and provides a folder on your computer where you may save or drag-and-drop files which are then silently synchronised across any other machine connected to your account.

While it is prudent to be concerned about entrusting your files to a third party, Copy is a product of Barracuda Networks, a well-established business that has been providing security, networking and storage products for over 10 years. Copy is built on top of proven Barracuda technologies.

Where Copy differs from Dropbox is with its 256 bit AES encryption and with its attitude towards sharing. With Dropbox, each member of a shared folder has the total amount of space counted against their individual quota. Copy, by contrast, divides the space amongst each user - so a 4Gb folder shared between four people means each person only uses 1Gb of their individual quota but has full access to all items in the folder.

While DropBox plans begin with a free 2Gb of space, Copy is offering 15Gb now plus 5Gb for each referral. To sign up using my referral code, click here - giving both you and I an additional 5Gb. That's 20Gb to start with!

To make the best use of Dropbox or Copy, I strongly recommend making it your de-facto 'Documents' folder. Don't save files to different places on your computer and later drag-and-drop to your cloud folder; instead set in place the practice of saving all your work into the cloud folder from the beginning. Make it your working storage. This gives you the benefits of backups, version history and more from the onset.

Meanwhile, Box has announced a new Personal Pro plan which offers 100Gb of storage and the ability to upload files up to 5Gb in size for $10 per month. This contrasts with the free plan limit of 250Mb per file which, unfortunately for Box, is more restrictive than its major competitor's free plans.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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