One of the refrains at the moment is the cloud is where it’s at. Computing hardware, software, and things such as communications links have all inherently changed societal function but this thing we refer to as the cloud and cloud computing has enabled a completely new approach to the way society functions. Within a very few years the cloud has become this integral component of society and for generation z’rs they do not know of a society without the proverbial cloud.
The cloud is just a term we use to describe network computing or more specifically intelligent, centralized network computing. The cloud, powered by software sits on a hardware box to provide services and functionality across the network or more specifically the internet. Something as basic as a NAS (Network-attached Storage) could in essence be considered a component as it sits on the network and is remotely accessible.
The cloud has become so important that it must be considered as foundational or part of the fabric of our society. Cloud computing has changed everything and as such we all want a slice of the pie. We may get our slice several times a day simply by ordering a pizza on the web, music tickets to something we want to see or to store or retrieve a document. In the modern, industrial economy cloud computing is taken as a given now.
However, in addition to all the services we may use or access via the cloud we might want cloud storage capability for our own, personal use to say save documents and retrieve some thing important from them anywhere we are. If for some reason we leave the house in a mad scramble forgetting our document it is easily retrievable from the cloud.
Additionally, what we may want may now only reside on a cloud server. Yes, we can print a document but in many cases there isn’t the space for all the paper we’d store and a number of functions that are so easy now they wouldn’t make sense anywhere but on the cloud or a device to display what we need or are looking at.
Cloud Computing as a Product
Not only do we frequently access cloud computing established businesses (online) but we require our own dedicated cloud computing space. These products are marketed to us in a variety of fashions.
There are a number of companies that offer these services. To quickly go over them they are:
- Apple (iCloud)
- Microsoft (One Drive)
- Box (Box.net)
These services differentiate themselves on price and functionality. For the purposes of this discussion I won’t talk about backup services via the cloud but One Drive, along with being a great Cloud service provider, is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 platform/strategy. Cloud services can be more than generic offerings and as such differentiation of these services is often based on the use of a service for a specific function to enhance certain core functionality.
One more example would be Google’s Office docs wherein Google Drive provides the robust platform needed for their cloud applications. Many use these applications instead of local desktop apps very effectively.
Beyond the Big Boys
In addition to these primary services listed above there are many services in addition that provide generic and specific functionality to meet your needs. Some are for strictly backup; some for a mixed variety of things and others for remote computing.
Rather than dealing with all of these services such as Sugarsync for the purposes of this discussion I will address the capabilities of an end user product called pCloud, a very effective cloud service.
pCloud is a Cost Effective Cloud Storage Solution
pCloud is one of the most affordable of the cloud storage solutions. The following represents the current pricing of pcloud:
• Premium 500 GB – yearly subscription for $47.88 • Premium 500 GB – monthly subscription for $4.99 • Premium Plus 2 TB – yearly subscription for $95.88 • Premium Plus 2 TB – monthly subscription for $9.99
As an example 250 gigs of Sugarsync is $9.99 per month or just one quarter the size of pCloud for the same price. Google drive costs $139.99 per year Canadian for 2 TB. pCloud is one of the most cost effective solutions with a host of benefits such as:
- rock solid encryption via crypto
- Sync of all devices so that they are all running the same app data much like Sugarsync
- Direct Link of files for publishing purposes
- Embedded video
And on it goes. The recent upgrade pricing by Dropbox got a number of people very upset as they felt it was far too much data for their needs at an elevated price.
When you look at pCloud, it is highly functional for the price. You can do a lot with the service for the price. You can store documents you’re working on right on the system and work with them as if it was your local disk. You can sync documents sitting on your local disk to pCloud thus having both a backup and a place to retrieve them from another device.
More importantly, from sync you can keep two Macs local disks in sync automatically much the way Sugarsync does. That is, you set pCloud to sync say your documents folder to pCloud on your desktop then set pCloud to sync your portables disk to pCloud and voila everything is in sync.
If you have say iCloud drive on your Mac’s you might wonder what the value of this is. ICloud at the low end tier isn’t very expensive but a lot of iCloud is. pCloud gives you tons of storage for a reasonable price. You can offload a lot of what you’re doing with iCloud to pCloud saving on your costs but having all the benefits of inter systems sync.
Finally, pCloud gives you a couple of more things. You will have redundancy or your data stored in another location so data loss in one spot doesn’t mean data loss everywhere. Secondly, you can fully encrypt you documents that are sensitive using pCloud’s Crypto a large benefit in this day and age. You’d have to use a service such as Tresorit to do this which is quite expensive while pCloud does it as an extension of it’s overall service.
Not One Dimensional
Cloud services are not one dimensional. That is, not all cloud services are built identically. Some are well suited to certain tasks whereas others different tasks. Box.net is geared to the business user, whereas Dropbox the everyday user. pCloud though due to it’s scope of function could work very well in many environments including the general user, sharing user, team user and business user.
pCloud is a relatively new system designed well with price in mind yet its scope of function is broad. In fact, pCloud can sit on your desktop and look like a local drive. Upon startup, when you sign in a local drive icon will popup which says pCloud. This makes accessing it totally similar to accessing a remote drive on your desktop. It is very user friendly; geared to the existing user experience. pCloud is a very worthwhile service providing not only enhanced functionality but adding significant safety to your system all at a reasonable price.