Cloud storage services: Share and Collaborate
Emailing documents back and forth or using an FTP server to collaborate on projects is slow and cumbersome. Collaborating in the cloud is fast and easy. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
Google Drive: As you might expect, the assumption behind Google Drive is that everyone lives in a Google universe. If you and your colleagues often find yourselves knee-deep in Google Docs rather than Microsoft Word, Google Drive won’t interfere with your mojo.
If the reverse is true, however, Google Drive makes collaboration difficult. Upload a Word .docx document, for instance, and the file will appear as read-only in Google Drive. To make any changes, you must convert the file to Google’s document format. Now you have two versions of the same file taking up twice as much space in the cloud, and leaving everyone to wonder which file they should work on.
Office 365: Microsoft’s Office 365 consists of web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Lync and SharePoint. The package is aimed at businesses whose employees are accustomed to using Microsoft apps, and a subscription costs £3.90 per month, per user.
The next version of Office 365 will target consumers as well as businesses, and it will be designed to run on tablets as well as on desktop and laptop PCs. Although Microsoft has not announced pricing for the new version of Office 365, but the company has stated that a subscription to the service will include licences to install Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite on up to five devices. Priced right, it could offer fabulous value.
Zoho: You might think of Zoho as the poor man’s Office 365. The service is free for personal use, and it has all the essential web-based apps, such as a shared calendar. Its interface is straightforward, and guides introduce you to various functions, such as reverting to a previous file version. If you despise Microsoft’s Ribbon, you’ll find Zoho a welcome respite. Although you need a premium plan to share files with non-Zoho users, you can collaborate with fellow Zoho account holders in real-time without spending a penny.
We aren’t smitten, though. Files are encrypted only in transit, not when they are on Zoho’s servers. And Zoho provides a meagre 1GB of storage; if you want more space, you must subscribe to a paid account at around £2 per user, per month (which also gives you a collection of features and administrative tools), and pay an additional £2 per month for another 5GB of storage.
Next page: Cloud services for sending large files