For writers and speakers, if you’re using any kind of electronic device for your writing, data backup is as important as writing in the first place. Computers crash. House fires occur. Hard drives implode. Hackers destroy and steal.
Data loss is a hard reality to accept when it happens to people whose words aren’t their livelihood. For authors and speakers, however, realizing that your work is lost to the ages can be unbearable.
Luckily, the days of disks, hard drives and blank CDs are over. Cloud storage presents an easy, and often free, alternative. Even better, it puts the responsibilities of storage and security on a third party and gives authors and writers the mobility they need to succeed.
Why Cloud Storage?
When you store your work locally, you own the responsibility of keeping it safe and secure. Also, if you want to bring your work with you, you have to physically bring your work with you – or email it to yourself.
By hosting your data remotely, a professional service dedicated only to data storage takes over. They host your work on servers or databanks that are temperature controlled, protected both digitally and physically and available to you any time from anywhere. Cloud storage allows you to access your work from all your devices, or any computers, with nothing more than a password.
The Top Options
My personal favorite for cloud backup is the ever-present Dropbox, but other available solutions include BackBox, JustCloud and Google Drive. Each of them allow you to backup content to the cloud, as well as to share that content with others if you choose, but they do it in different ways, and have different pricing structures.
Did you know that 325 million files are saved on Dropbox every day? Probably the best known cloud storage service, its founder believes it will soon rival Apple and Google, and I wouldn’t doubt it.
The way it works is that you create a folder on your computer that’s specific to Dropbox. You can share folders on with others as well. When changes are made, they appear on all synced machines as well as in your own personal Dropbox account on the web. This ease of access and sharing turns Dropbox into a great home base for you and your collaborators.
The basic plan is free and starts with 2.25GB of available space. As you invite others to join your folders, Dropbox will increase your available storage space as a reward. There are other opportunities to increase your space as well, like following Dropbox on Twitter, telling them why you love them, etc. If you don’t want to play that game though, you can simply pay to upgrade your account to a Pro (100GB) or Business (1000 GB) level.
Right now, the paid plan for DropBox run $9.99/month, which gives you 100GB of space for whatever you want to store there and share.
Business accounts are paid per user per month, and require a minimum number of users. So you’ll have to look at the plan pricing to see if it makes sense for your organization or not.
Host of more than 60 security and network vendors, BackBox focuses on disaster recovery. As the company points out, 2013 had more than twice as many natural disasters resulting in data loss as in 2012.
Automatic backups and BackBox’s unique redundancy and virtual-site systems leave you prepared for recovering data lost in any situation. However, this system is geared more towards an organization than to the individual consumer. So, expect enterprise-level prices if you look further at this option. (Their pricing isn’t even listed on their website!)
Just Cloud comes with a free mobile app and can sync multiple computers at the same time. Not only does the service let you access your work from anywhere, but it’s an excellent option for writers or speakers who collaborate with others. You can share files on a PC or Mac and tech support is available 24/7.
The way that this differs from DropBox though is that Just Cloud isn’t just for file sharing. It’s designed for doing backups of your computer to the cloud. They make it easy for you to access the content from anywhere, but more importantly, in the event of a system crash, they have a utility that will enable you to restore your computer.
Whereas DropBox only syncs the content in its specially designated folder, Just Cloud allows you to specify which files and folders to include in the backup, or to simply do them all!
There are three different plan levels, based on the amount of data you want to backup. But the lowest plan level gives you 75GB of storage space for just $4.49/month.
Google Drive brings the brand name of the ubiquitous Google to your backup cloud storage. Drive has an easy drag-and-drop system that almost makes up for its relatively limited 2GB capacity. Unlike a lot of cloud backup systems, Drive lets writers and speakers upload more than just their words, photo and video backup is also included.
Personally, I’ve never liked how Google Drive works. You can install a local application that creates a folder, much like DropBox does, and you can manage everything from there. Or you can use the Google Drive website to manage your files. But to me, it’s still too cumbersome to be useful.
Add to that, the size constraints, and I only use Google Drive in a limited fashion.
Cloud storage removes the responsibility – and the worry – from you and puts it on a third-party host. More importantly, cloud storage gives you the ability to bring your work wherever you go.