Thursday, 16 July 2015

Leveraging the Power of Cloud Storage and Exploring Options they Don't Want You to Know About

To Be or Not to Be on the Cloud?

Ah! That is a silly thing to ask now a days I guess. Well the thing is that, if you are connected to the Internet via multiple devices and gadgets, what other option do you have for universal acess other than the Cloud Storage? So there is no question of Not to Be in the Cloud. But the question should be which Cloud Storage company should you choose and why, and should you stick to one provider only? So yeah it is... To Be on the Cloud.

What is Your Purpose for Availing Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing?

Document Storage and Online Edits:
If your main purpose is to store documents and edit them online from any Internet Enabled Device, among many, there are two providers you can bank on...
  • Google Drive with Google Docs: This used to be a personal favourite of mine till the time I was using a desktop computer or laptop. But things have changed now and I am using an Android Device to access net these days. In this Tab the device manufacturer Datawind has disabled Google Play Store and Google Services. So Google Drive App does not install in my tab and their browser version of both Drive and Docs makes me go crazy, trying to use it in a 7 inch Tab. So if you can install the official Google Drive App then it should be nice. What can be more convinient than being able to edit documents while collaborating with others and being able to access it from any Internet Cafe and even from an Office PC or any Internet Enabled Device? So yeah this is a good option, for both working with and storing the documents.
  • One Drive with Microsoft Office Online: An offering from Microsoft which can take on Google head on in this aspect. What I liked in the new offering is the enhanced security feature, which has an option for Two Step Authentication using your Mobile (Google also has it). I think the online docs and spreadsheets are little better when it comes to in comparison with Google Docs. So idea is to create a Microsoft Account and create various docs in Office Mobile or Office Online and connect it to One Drive and store there. Situationally am more happy with Microsoft solution in this case. And in fact am writing this in Office Mobile. I like it.
Please do note that you can use these services for picture and personal video storage also, but the way the size of the pictures are incresing its getting very difficult to be content with 15 GB free space that these companies provide. So now let's talk of Cloud Storage Companies who give you loads of space for free to you, to store pictures and videos.

Picture and Video Archiving and Access from the Cloud:
Well if you are looking at loads of free space for your snaps and videos there are three serious contenders which you should try out.

  • Mega: This company is the offshoot of Megaupload which was shut down by US Telecom Regulators. Available at Mega.Co.Nz they offer you nice and big 50GB of free storage on the cloud, which you can access via various devices via its App which is available in all major App Stores. Remember to create a nice and strong password as you can't change it later as its part of your encryption key. So encryption key is unique to each user. As a result of this in case you get hacked you have to delete your account. I liked the Mega App which is very user friendly. 
  • ADrive: Available at ADrive.com it is another solution for you where you get 50 GB of free storage. What is good is you can FTP your files and also Auto Sync. What I did not like is the App is not very user friendly and I found it to be lil clunky and old school. Am sure they will come up with a better version soon. 
  • Degoo: Available at Degoo.com this is another robust file hosting company that gives you up to 100 GB of free storage. Its coming at third position here courtesy its lack of support for mobile phones and tabs. Only supports Windows and Mac machines so its a PC targeted solution
Now hold your horses we are going to venture into discussing some companies about whom the Western IT companies do not want you to know about. Let's go East and explore Cloud Hosting facilities in China!

Companies They Don't Want You to Know About:

While the companies in the West are trying to win over customers with 2 GB to 15 GB accounts the companies in China have embarked on a Cloud War and it has become so huge, the competition, that they are even offering few Terrabites of cloud storage for free. Yep, you heard me right, few TBs free and not GBs.

I am sure Google, Microsoft, Mega, ADrive and likes do not want you to know about these companies.

It's real cool deal right? Imagine 10 TB free storage for your videos and snaps! But unfortunately all these Chinese sites are in Chinese and the Apps are also in Chinese over that to filter out non mainland China surfers they ask for Phone verification. But there are exceptions, so let me talk about those two where you can open an account.

  • Baidu: The Chinese search giant ventured into Cloud Storage sometime back and presently offers 2 TB for free for its users. Its available at Pan.Baidu.Com. You can run Google translation in their Sign Up page and get an account. They do not ask for phone verification but they do ask you to solve a Chinese Captcha, which you can... after you find out which Chinese Letter matches the letters in the boxes. They will also give you a Chinese word in English as part of the Captcha for which you have to find the corresponding Chinese letter. Once you have verified your account by passing the Chinese Captcha stage, you need to download their Mobile App from pan.baidu.com and install that in your ohone and log into that with your ID and Password. Once you do that, you can finally claim your free 2TB account. If you want, you can download another App called EZ File Explorer, and upload files to Baidu via that using its Connect to Cloud Interface. That way you don't have to deal with the Chinese App. 
  • Huawei: This Chinese Telecom giant is known world over for its Mobile Phones and Data Cards and Dongles, they too have started up with their own Cloud Storage service. Huawei gives you unlimited cloud storage facility, but it requires phone verification but accepts verification from close to 15 countries apart from China. Registration is in English Language and is available at HiCloud.Com. 
Some other Chinese companies who are giving free cloud storage solutions to the extent of few Terrabites are...
  • Tencent: 10 TB Free 
  • Sina: Free Plus Paid Unlimited 
  • Kingsoft: 100 GB  
  • Qihoo: 36 TB Free 
But mind you, all these sites are in Chinese and most to them will ask for Phone Verification, where they will send a text to your number and chances are will say service not available in your country or your IP is not supported if you are not from mainland China.

What I suggest is do your own research on the companies I talked about and then choose one player to store your files and actually there is no harm in storing files in multiple places also, to be on the safer side of having double backups. 

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