The cloud, in a broad sense, is now an umbrella term for several different types of services that have vastly different uses, so it's important to pick the right service for the right purpose. If your primary goal is to backup and protect your data, then you'll want a cloud service that's optimized for that, and not a service that's geared for general-use storage. You wouldn't store your priceless jewelry in a rented storage garage or warehouse; you'd keep them in a bank safety deposit box. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a service:
1. What do I need to store, and how much space do I really need?
Your first step should be analyzing your needs. If you absolutely must have a place to upload your calendar or your email and contacts, then you need a service that allows it. Additionally, you don't want to pay for more than what you'll use. Having said that, you also want to make sure the cloud service you choose grows with your business. Most of the cloud services in our guide offer seemingly unlimited space, but be prepared to pay for it, which leads to the next question:
2. What am I willing to pay?
While you can get free storage from some cloud services, it's limited. The convenience of cloud storage extends to the cost – most cloud services let you pay a low monthly fee for data storage and access. These prices generally range from $3 to $10 per month and increase as your data needs grow.
3. Is it important that I access my files from different access points (i.e., Android, iPhone, Windows, etc.)?
Each cloud service lets you upload, download and access files via an internet browser. So, really, all you need is an internet connection to get to your data. However, it may be preferable to choose a service that offers an app for both iPhones and Android devices. If this is necessary, avoid cloud storage providers that only service Mac users.