Cost-Effective Cloud Storage -- Savings Experiment

Conduct Your Own Energy Audit
Conduct Your Own Energy Audit

Remember when clunky external hard drives used to set you back hundreds of dollars? Luckily, the days of paying big bucks for drive space are coming to an end, thanks to cloud storage. But what exactly is cloud storage, and is it really a more cost-effective way of backing-up your files? Let's take a closer look.

In a nutshell, cloud storage is a simply another way of archiving your photos, music and other files, except your files aren't stored in a physical drive in your home. They're stored in remote data centers typically owned and managed by hosting companies, like Google Drive, DropBox or iCloud.

Backing up your data this way has some distinct advantages. First, cloud storage allows you to access your archived files from multiple devices -- anyplace where you have an internet connection. And because your files are being saved remotely, your data will be protected and easily restored in the event your computer breaks down or gets lost.

The good news is, most cloud storage services will get you started with free storage space, with no strings attached. For example, Google Drive and OneDrive both start you off with 15GB of free space, so you can try things out and see if you like it.

If you decide you want more room, you can then sign up and pay a regular storage cost. Prices can vary, but many services will offer up to 1 terrabyte for only $10 a month.

While the advantages of cloud storage are clear, it might not always be ideal for all users. If you're a person who typically needs frequent access to large photo or video files, a newer flash drive with USB 3.0 transfer speed might be the best bet. Since Cloud storage relies on your internet connection, you won't be able to open up those heavy files as quickly.

So, before you can decide what storage option works best for you, determine what your needs are. With a little homework, you can store your files and save a few bucks, as well.