Having your files accessible on any device from anywhere is an essential element in living the Working from Anywhere lifestyle. In this post I will summarise the advantages of moving your files to the “cloud” and outline the steps that you need to take to get you there.

You may have considered doing this but don’t really know where to start.

Is my data safe?

The no 1 reason why people hold off moving their files to the cloud is “My data is not safe in the cloud, hackers will be able to get to it”

Not so, the cloud service providers have much better security systems in place than the average computer owner. Your online data is encrypted using complex algorithms to conceal cloud-protected information. Most cloud providers also have highly skilled security specialists 24/7, biometric security to access their data centers, physical security guards on site and redundant power.

So is your data safe? No-one can guarantee 100% security but rest assured your data is safer in the cloud than on your hard drive.

The advantages of moving to the cloud

Storing files in the cloud has many advantages

  • View your files from your phone, tablet or any other computer with an internet connection.
  •  No loss of data in the case of a computer crash.
  •  Share files simply by sharing a link instead of sending large files by email.
  •  Collaborate on documents with changes synchronized so other users always see the updated document.
  • Documents can also be saved on your local device for offline access, any offline changes are synchronized to your online storage when next online.
  • Cost savings on hardware and maintenance.
  • It’s scalable, any changes in resource demand can be catered for by upgrade or downgrade of your plan.

Are their any disadvantages of moving to the cloud?

I’m really not sure that there are any real disadvantages. Possibly file conflict issues if 2 people happen to work on the same document at the same time. The only other problem I see is accessibility to files if you don’t have an internet connection, this can be managed by having some files available offline.

Bottom line is the pros far outweigh the cons, so what are you waiting for?

The basic steps to get you started are:

Step 1 – Assess your needs

How much storage volume do you require?
How many users will need to access the files?
What software do you use?

Step 2 – Identify the best providers for you

Compare the services and value offer of the various providers based on the assessment of your needs
Most providers have a free level of data storage, you may well be able store all of your data for free by taking advantage of the free data storage offered over a range of providers.
Here is a comparison of the main players:

[table id=8 /]
Step 3 – Let’s do this

Next up it’s time to install your chosen solution:

OneDrive – OneDrive is a Microsoft product but can also be used on Mac’s. The good news is, if you’re using Windows 8.1 and above OneDrive is already installed on your computer.

Windows 8.1 and RT 8.1 setting and information
Download OneDrive for PC
Download OneDrive for Mac

Dropbox – Dropbox is compatible with PC and Mac.

Download Dropbox for PC
Download Dropbox for Mac

Google Drive – Google Drive is compatible with PC and Mac.

Download Google Drive for PC
Download Google Drive for Mac

Step 4 – Load up your mobile world

Next up you will need to install your chosen solution/s onto your mobile devices, mobile phones, tablets, ipads etc.

This is the easy part, simply go to your device app provider Google Play or Itunes and download the relevant apps. Once downloaded sign into your relevant accounts and edit any preferences.

Step 5 – Migrate your files to the cloud

You’re just about there, all you need to do now is migrate your files to your chosen solutions. The easiest way to do this is to move your folders and files to the cloud related drive on your local device, these will then be synchronized to the compatible online storage.

Step 6 – Save it in one place and access it from any device, from anywhere, at anytime

That’s it, you’re good to go!

My suggested basic process for use goes something like this:

  1. Organise your OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive into folders on your local machine, some of this will already be done if you have copied your folders over from your previous location.
  2. When you create a document or save a file, save it to the relevant folder within your cloud folders on your local drive.160217 File upload status
  3. If you are moving or saving large files make sure you stay connected to the internet long enough for the files to sync to the relevant online storage solution. This is usually indicated by a green tick beside the file and folder.
  4. Voilà, you’re good to go!!

Today’s Tip of the Day!

You now have a great opportunity to free up some space on your local hard drive, you can choose to save some of your files to online access only ie. These selected files or folders will only be available in the cloud and not from your local drive. This is easy to do:

Make OneDrive files available online only
Make Dropbox files available online only
Make Google Drive files available online only

You should now be well equipped to get started, if you do however need some further help:

Andy Willis
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Andy Willis

Andy is the founder of WFA.Life, he has a passion for unlocking freedom in peoples lives by finding, testing and sharing the tips, tools and advice to allow people to live the "Working from Anywhere" Lifestyle.
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.
Andy Willis
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