Cloud backup solutions – your data, your choice
We live in a era where every other day information gets leaked, hacked or is simply not stored securely by entities we are meant to trust. And other times, devices may get damaged, stolen or the hard drive corrupts.
You’ve heard the saying “always have a backup for your backup”. This applies to any valuable information you’ve stored digitally.
In light of the news that Google Drive Files are Disappearing and Nobody Knows Why, which you can read on the PCMag website, I thought I’d share ways you can keep important information stored in more than one cloud location. The article says: “Some Google Drive users are reporting all their files uploaded since May have disappeared from the cloud storage service without warning.”
Whether you’re using Google Drive, or another option, refer to this list to see what your other options are as a backup to your backup.
I followed a make-up artist who once posted that she lost all her PDF files she sends to clients. My first thought was why wasn’t it saved in multiple locations, or simply emailed to yourself.
This post will cover how to save important files for things like, but not limited to:
- Legal docs (passport, ID, visas, drivers licence, certificates, etc)
- Important business files, templates of any kind
- Branding files for entrepreneurs
- A novel, thesis, recipe book, research, etc
- PDFs you send out, whatever field you’re in
- If you’re an IG business, client names and contact details outside of DMs
You get the idea; I can’t list every case scenario, but make sure you protect yourself. Especially if you run a business on a social media account (my opinion, bad idea), but if it gets hacked or you get banned, you lose everything. To reiterate, never rely on social media solely for anything, PLEASE.
In no order, here are cloud storage options you can look into. I use at least four, I recommend you have more than one:
iCloud Drive (Apple)
If you’re on Apple’s ecosystem, consider upgrading your iCloud subscription. You get 5GB free, which is nothing. I was pretty annoyed that after my 200GB of space ran out, I had to upgrade to 2TB because there was no 500GB or 1TB option.
Apple iCloud prices in SA:
- 50GB – R15pm
- 200GB – R60pm
- 2TB – R200pm
- 6TB – R600pm
- 12TB – R1200pm
Your universal iCloud sign-in will sync your data across your devices (iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc). You can also use the “Files” option on these devices to store stuff. Locations on iPhone include iCloud Drive (accessible on all devices), On My iPhone, and Recently Deleted. If you’re on Mac, you will see iCloud Drive, Desktop, Shared. All are synced to each other, except for localised folders. I put everything in my iCloud, which has shortcuts on Finder on Mac, so I drag and drop files.
I’ve been an “Office for Mac” user for as long as I’ve been on Mac, which is more than 15 years now, when it was still called that. It underwent a few name changes when I switched to the cloud versions, formerly Office 365 and now Microsoft 365. This is an annual business expense, which I religiously pay for.
Microsoft 365 Personal prices in SA:
- For one user at R1 099pa or R109pm
- Sign into 5 devices with 1 account (PCs, Mac, phone, tablet etc)
- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Editor, Teams, OneNote, Skype, etc
- 1TB OneDrive storage (key)
- Apps with premium features; offline access
What I love about this is the 1TB OneDrive storage. I have a shortcut to my OneDrive folder on Mac, so I drag and drop everything into it. I access it from any of my 5 linked devices. The Teams access is limited though, as this is a Personal price plan because I’m just one person. I don’t use Outlook or half the apps. Word is where I do all my writing.
There is a Microsoft 365 Family option for R1499pa or R149pm for 2-6 users to consider for larger families.
Dropbox is popular with well over 700 million users in over 180 countries as it was the first to make cloud storage mainstream. But not without controversy. It had data leaks internally and externally, security issues, etc. You can read more here.
I use it for filing images for work stories, which I delete when it gets published, and storing a bunch of legal docs (not the only location I store this), amongst other things I want quick access to. It is also available as a shortcut on my Mac where I drag and drop files to. You can easily share a folder or make it available offline.
I’ve been using it since it came out with the free 2GB option and earned extra storage through referrals. The basic free plan can be access here: dropbox.com/basic. If you want to use it as one of your backups, here’s my referral link to earn an additional 500MB of storage. You can share your code with friends and family after you sign up to earn more:
Dropbox Referral for 500MB extra storage:
If you deal with lots of images and video files that need you to share, consider a paid plan.
Dropbox Plans (prices in US$):
- Personal 2TB plan – $10pm
- Professional 3TB plan – $18pm
- Business 9TB plan for teams – $20pm per user
- Business Plus 15TB for teams – $26pm per user
While this service is the reason for this article, I want to touch on it because it is one of the options I use. I only file stories on it if my editor requests I do, otherwise all go via Word docs. I don’t use the free storage for anything important, but I do have the app on all my devices to transfer photos between test phones.
You have to remember the golden rule: if a service is free, you are the product.
Google uses you to learn and train their algorithms when it comes to their free products. I often get asked why I don’t use Google Photos and it is for this reason.
- Free 15GB storage with every Gmail account
- Used across Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive
- If you are on Android, chances are you make use of this
What I do give money to Google for, is Google Workspace, to host my professional email. You get it on the Gmail interface, which is superior – the spam filters, rules, interface etc is unmatched. I don’t use (third party) clients for email. You know the saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket? This is it for me, I will pay for Google Workspace but have everything else elsewhere.
I’ve shared options I use and am familiar with. Hope this helps!
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. firstname.lastname@example.org