2014 was the year when cloud storage stopped being a novelty and became a useful tool for all computer owners. I have become more productive in the past year because of the ease of having all my data with me wherever I go.
At the beginning of the year, 5 to 10 gigabytes of online file storage space was standard and 100 gigabytes was something to brag about. Only the moderately wealthy could afford 100 gigabytes of online data storage on January 1, 2014.
Then, in March, Google cut the price of a terabyte (1000 gigabytes) on Google Drive to $10 a month. Microsoft soon responded by including a terabyte on OneDrive with every subscription to Office 365, even with the $70-a-year Personal subscriptions. Dropbox lowered its prices in August to $9.99 per month for one terabyte of storage space and even a bit cheaper if the account was paid in advance: $99.99 per year ($8.33 per month).
As if that was not cheap enough, late in the year Microsoft removed all storage limits from OneDrive and OneDrive for Business accounts for anyone with an Office 365 subscription. That’s right, unlimited online storage space.
At the moment, the biggest hurdle to actually using all that storage is bandwidth. Even on a relatively fast connection in the United States, it can take weeks to upload a terabyte of data.
The availability of safe and secure online storage available at very low prices has changed the way I work forever. My personal backups are in Google Drive with additional copies backed up on Dropbox and on Amazon Glacier to make sure everything remains available in case Google Drive ever becomes unavailable for some reason. Yes, I have backups to my backups. I suggest you do something similar also.
I haven’t given up local backups, of course, because old habits die hard. I also keep backups of every file that ever existed on my Macintosh systems by using Apple’s TimeMachine backup software and external hard drives that plug into each Mac. That includes my laptop and the two iMac desktop systems I have at my two locations.
In the not-so-distant future, we’ll marvel at the old-fashioned idea that people used to keep terabytes of data on big hard drives where they were subject to hardware failures, fires, floods, and other things that destroy such drives.