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The question is no longer “if” but “which” cloud storage is right for you.

Not very long ago I had a bunch of USB drives. I used them to keep backup, transfer information from one device to another and in some instances for storing an operating system. USB was a great thing that offered freedom from desktop. You could have your data in your pocket all the time. At the time the internet was not very common or not high-speed enough.

Things have changed now though. High-speed internet is no longer a luxury with average download speeds peaking at 45Mbps in Korea. Koreans are the first adopters for most of the technological advancements. In the USA, higher and higher internet speeds are available at much lower costs compared to few years ago.

As bandwidth increases more and more services pop up to make use of it. One such service is cloud storage. The term “Cloud” is indeed broad and encompasses a wide range of services from computing to infrastructure and virtualization of both but for a non-techy user the storage part is often the only interface to the cloud hence the preamble about USB drives. Since, for most of us, USB was a revolution in itself the Cloud has potentially taken over and for all the good reasons.

Cloud offers the benefits of portable storage and much more. It is ubiquitous and highly available. The distinction is so significant that moving towards the cloud seems like the only obvious choice.

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Therefore, for the benefit of all, the cloud storage providers offer free hook-on-to-us services. DropBox can be considered a defacto pioneer in cloud storage services and has been thus far the best on the market for easy storage and retrieval. Coupled with efficient clients for Mac, PC, Linux, Android and iPhone, DropBox offers so-far the best all-round service. The DropBox leadership is due to its simplicity – it just works. The drawback however is that it offers only 2GB free storage which can be increased to 18GB with referrals.

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Other services such as SkyDrive, Drive, iCloud are backed by behemoths like Microsoft, Google and Apple respectively. Given the rivalry among the three, it is understandable that either these services often face issues on a competitor OS or are completely absent. This never-the-less is one of the biggest reasons why they could not compete DropBox despite offering considerably large free storage space.

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A new comer, and a rather good one, is Mega. The service is hosted in New Zealand and offers encrypted 50GB of free storage. There is an Android app but Mac and PC clients are still in the factory. The web client is THE best of all. It beats DropBox by miles in both storage space and the web app. Whether the Mac and PC clients (to be released soon according to their website) are also as good as DropBox remains to be seen but the encryption is an added benefit.

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