Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Why you should store all your files on the cloud!

Monday, April 25, 2011

When I sent my daughters off to college, I installed DropBox on their computers, setup a folder that is backed up to the cloud and told them to make sure they save all of their files to that folder.  What a great way to backup their files without them having to do a daily backup. Lost laptop- No Problem. Hard drive crashes- No Problem.

With Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net,  SugarSync, Skydrive, and the Amazon Cloud... you can automatically backup your files, share files and even play music on your Android Phone all at my favorite cost... FREE.  In this article I will give you a short synopsis of each service and let you decide what services will fit your needs.  I will also share a great tool I just installed that adds a drive to your computer that shows up as a local drive, but is really storing files online.  (Yes, a drive that is in the cloud.)

DropBox:  I will share my favorite app first. You get 2 gigs of free online storage, software that installs on your computer and auto syncs your files, phone apps, web access, iPad apps, and more. This program is awesome and easy to use.  Install it from here, and you get an extra 250 meg too: http://db.tt/h3jihFm

Google Docs: You can store 1 gig of non-Google docs, and unlimited Google Doc files. If you are not using Google Docs and all of the other Google tools, you are just missing out period.  Sign up for a Google account, right after you setup your DropBox account.

Box.net: They give you more free space (5 gig) but do not offer the free syncing that some of the other service do.  But hey... 5 Gig free and they do offer phone, iPad, and other apps.

SugarSync: Similar to DropBox, with a lot of the same features. You get 5 Gig Fee!  Sign-up here: https://www.sugarsync.com/referral?rf=cn5enxxbm938n

SkyDrive: This is a free 25 gig online storage area by Microsoft.  You do need a Microsoft Live ID to sign up for this free service.  Combine this with the the Glad.net program (described below) and you have a 25 gig on-line flash drive connected to your computer at all times.

Amazon Cloud Drive: Another 5 gig of free space. They have a great Cloud music player for your Android mobile device that allows you to easily play your music you store on this cloud storage. Combine it with the Glad.net program and you can easily drag and drop files to this service.  (Amazon's web site does not have a great interface for managing this. So use Glad.net to do it!)  The Android phone app fro playing music is awesome. https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore

Gladinet.com Cloud Desktop:  This program adds a drive letter to your computer that really maps that drive letter to your SkyDrive, Amazon Clud Drive and more. Easily drag and drop files just like you would to a flash drive.  The free version will do about anything you need, but the pro version adds some nice bells and whistles if you want to part with a few greenbacks. http://www.gladinet.com/p/moreaboutdesktop.htm

Most of these online storage services offer the ability to share folders to the public along with other great features. Using the above sites and tools, you can easily backup over 40 gig of files and automate many of your backups and tasks using these free services.  The one's listed above are established companies, that should be around for the long haul.

Now is the time to use the cloud for you and your students!

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