If you are shopping for a cloud storage provider, you may be tempted to simply choose one that is well known or has been recommended by someone you know. After all, how different can one online backup product be from another? Well, the answer is “very”! There is a popular misconception that all online backup solutions are more or less the same whereas, in fact, they have distinctly different features, security standards, and pricing. Thus, it is imperative to do your research and compare various product offerings to determine which one best suits your specific needs.
Upon comparing CrashPlan and Carbonite, for instance, it is clear that each of these solutions is more suitable for a certain category of customer. While Carbonite supports Windows and Mac, CrashPlan covers these two as well as Linux and Unix. Blackberry, Android, and iOS are supported by both. When it comes to mobile applications, Carbonite is definitely superior; with Android, Carbonite users can even upload certain files. CrashPlan only allows for viewing in mobile. In terms of ease of use, CrashPlan comes with a complex interface and multiple options, which can prove cumbersome, while Carbonite has a clean and basic interface that is extremely simple to operate. What about security and speed? While both products have similarly moderate file transfer speeds and password requirements, Carbonite has an edge in terms of data protection thanks to its double-encryption process. CrashPlan comes with other advantages, though, such as the fact that it allows all file types plus external hard drives to be backed up in each of its plans. These features are available in Carbonite only by paying an extra fee. Both products offer unlimited storage.
Businesses, wherein data is often the most valuable asset, can definitely reap multiple benefits from the use of cloud storage. Carbonite is an excellent option for companies due to a number of factors. Reputed and reliable, this solution also comes with great customer support, which can prove critical in the professional context. While the price seems high (the business plans start at USD 269 a year for 250 GB), this is quite a reasonable price for keeping precious data safe and secure. While 250 GB may sound less, remember that only your absolutely critical files need to be backed up in the cloud. Businesses that rely on Windows will be able to work easily with Carbonite although Mac-based companies may face slight issues while using the advance features.
Two other popular cloud storage solutions that can be compared are SkyDrive and Dropbox. Thanks to its close systemic integration with Microsoft, SkyDrive supports Windows Phone (unlike Dropbox) and lets users edit Office documents directly through the storage service. The OneNote mobile application syncs your notes and uploads them to the cloud automatically. On the other hand, Linux and Blackberry are not supported by SkyDrive but they are by Dropbox. Dropbox also offers interesting features such as Facebook group integration, which allows users to upload files onto Facebook groups. As far as security is concerned, both products’ encryption standards for transfer and storage are quite similar although Dropbox requires two passwords while SkyDrive requires only one. Basic users will probably prefer the easy functionality of SkyDrive, while those who value high file transfer speeds will favor Dropbox, one of the fastest cloud storage services (while SkyDrive is one of the slowest). If your budget is limited, however, Dropbox might prove too costly. With 100 GB of data priced an annual fee of USD 99, this product is substantially more expensive than SkyDrive, which has a yearly charge of USD 50 for 107 GB. (Keep in mind that you can earn extra storage space through referrals on Dropbox.) Users with minimal storage needs can consider a free account – 2 GB from Dropbox or 7 GB from SkyDrive.