One of the biggest developments in recent years that has helped people to work remotely with greater ease is the ability to work in the cloud. Much of the software that I use is cloud based, and this provides me with the freedom I need to work from anywhere and collaborate on projects in real time.
Another great benefit of the cloud is the storage capabilities it offers. There was a time not too long ago when everything had to be stored on CDs and external hard drives to stave off complete disaster in the event of a computer meltdown. Now, however, you can store everything that is important to you in the cloud (but it still doesn’t hurt to make a physical backup as well to be doubly sure).
You can pay for cloud storage, but most of the big providers all have free limits. So how much free storage can you get access to when working abroad?
Google Drive: 15GB
Google Drive is the free cloud office software of choice for many businesses and freelancers the world over. I love it, and I also love the fact that I can store up to 15GB of files on it. This limit is shared between Google Drive and Google Picasa, so if you store a lot of images this could take up your allowance more quickly.
Microsoft SkyDrive: 7GB
SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based service, and when you sign up to a free account you get an automatic 7GB of storage space, which you can use to store anything you want.
iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage solution, and although it is available for Windows users it is more useful if you use a Mac or iPad for your work. It is not great for storing images, but it can be a useful way to store your documents in the cloud.
Flickr was recently updated by Yahoo!, and part of the refresh gave users a massive 1TB of storage space for their images. It will take a lot of images to use that up, but the space cannot be used to store other types of files.
Dropbox: Up to 16GB
Dropbox is one of the biggest names in cloud storage, but the storage limit is fairly paltry – when you open a Dropbox account, you only get a free 2GB. However, every time you invite someone who then signs up, you can earn more storage space (500MB for every referral). You can keep on inviting people to get a maximum of 16GB.
Evernote: 60MB a Month
Evernote is not really a contender when it comes to free online storage as it only provides you with 60MB a month. However, that adds up to 720MB a year, so if you keep using it for a number of years the storage starts to add up. The beauty of Evernote is not its storage facilities but its organisation of notes and excellent syncing capabilities, but it could be a consideration for storing smaller files.
Box is a rival to Dropbox, and allows you to get larger initial free storage allowance of 5GB compared to Dropbox’s 2GB. It does pretty much everything Dropbox does, so it’s worth having both.
Store Everything Online
As you can see, that’s a lot of free storage. Don’t forget that if you want more free storage, you can always open a new Google account, which is currently free and easy to do. Once you create a new account you will get the same 15GB of storage for Google Drive completely free.
If the free limits are not enough, you can always purchase premium plans instead. Most of the above have their own premium options, which can provide you with more storage than you could ever realistically need.
Of course, the benefit of storing things in different places is that you are spreading the risk. Anyone working remotely should ensure they can get access to all their most important files in case the worst comes to the worst. By keeping your files in different places in the cloud, you can protect yourself should one company disappear overnight.