Which cloud-storage service features should I look out for?


Not all cloud-storage services offer the same functionality, so make sure you pick one with all the features you want. Here’s a list of some key ones to think about: Multi-device access You can use most cloud-storage services on your smartphone or tablet, as well as on your laptop or desktop. Check that a service has dedicated apps for your brand of tablet or smartphone.

Editing Perhaps surprisingly, some services don’t let you edit documents within cloud storage itself – instead, you open the file outside of the storage service, then it syncs automatically. Many give you the option of both, though, giving you a little more flexibility.

Some cloud-storage services, including Livedrive and Knowhow, let you edit pictures, too. File sharing Most services let you share your files with other people – for instance, you might like to share some holiday snaps with your family. Some don’t, though – so consider whether it’s something you’d like to do. Real-time syncing This means your edited files will automatically have their changes updated in the cloud-storage service.

Most modern services offer this, although you sometimes used to have to upload files manually afterwards, which isn’t as smooth a process. Rollback This lets you roll back to an earlier version of a document – useful if something goes seriously wrong. A few providers also let you roll back everything on your cloud-storage service to a previous time. Video and music playback Videos and music often take up a lot of storage space, so many people stick them on cloud-storage services to make room for other files. Some providers let you watch videos and play music within the service, too. Cloud storage versus external hard drives Backing up your data to an external hard drive only defers the worry of losing the files on your PC. Hard drives are every bit as susceptible to damage or loss, or data corruption. That said, if you’re saving a large number of files, it can be more expensive to pay an annual fee for cloud storage than it is to simply buy an external hard drive. But with the financial outlay comes the convenience of being able to access your files anywhere.

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