To say I wasn’t happy with Barracuda’s announcement about shutting down Copy service, will be an understatement.

I’m what you may call a heavy user with more than 100GB of used storage, so finding a new cloud storage provider and moving all my data is going to be a pain.

Then I figured, I might not be the only one looking for Copy alternatives, and as TheGeneralistIT.com is all about sharing and caring, here are my two cents on the subject.

Cloud Backup vs. Cloud storage

Looking for Copy alternatives, or simply looking for a cloud storage solution, it is important to understand the difference between cloud backup and cloud storage.

In General – Cloud backup is used only for backing up your data to the cloud, essentially providing an “offsite” backup of your important data.

However, Cloud storage in most cases, will allow you some added functionality such as sharing your files, and pictures, with family, friends and colleagues.

Whether you’re looking for a Copy alternative, or simply looking to back up your files to the cloud you should first decide which solution is right for you.

The next step is to choose the right cloud storage or cloud backup provide for you.

But with so many cloud backup and cloud storage providers to choose from, choosing the right one might be confusing.

While I will leave the final choice to you, I have summarized some information that will help you decide.
I hope it will help you to choose the right solution for your needs.

Cloud backup – Crashplan by Code42

If you’ve set your mind on cloud backup, I think that you’ll do no better than Crashplan by Code42.
I say it with absolute certainty as I’m a Crashplan subscriber myself with over 1.5TB of backup storage.

I’ve searched long and hard before making my decision about subscribing to Crashplan and this is why I think they are simply better than the competition.

  1. It is very easy to setup Crashplan and configure backup settings
  2. Crashplan offers truly unlimited storage for backing up your data
  3. Continuous backup – You don’t have to remember to backup. Crashplans backup engine simply runs in the background and backing up your files to the cloud as they change.
  4. Great customer and technical support

Bonus:

The feature I like the most in Crashplan paid service is something called a “regret-free zone“.
Personally I think it is much more than a bonus, this is a “killer” feature that you simply can’t miss.

Ever (accidentally) deleted a file just to regret it a few months later? Say bye bye to such mistakes or regrets.
While most cloud backup providers require you to keep the source file on your hard drive in order to the backup copy,
Crashplan keep your deleted files forever (you can manually  choose to delete it from the cloud as well).
So weather it has been one moth or one year after the file has been deleted you can easily recover them.

Feel like your hard drive is low on disk space because of too many family photos?
No problem. Simply delete old pictures from your hard drive to free up the disk space.
Your pictures are still safe in your cloud backup copy.

 

Click here or on the Crashplan banner to get started with Crashplan

Cloud Storage – So many options to choose from…

While I was very decisive with my recommendation about cloud backup, this is not the case with cloud storage.
There are several well-known cloud storage providers, offering a variety of plans and features.
This is no doubt a tough competition and a much more difficult decision.

Lucky for us, all of the competitors have not one, but two things in common: They want us as customers, and they offer a free trial of a free version of their service,
so we can try before we buy. The table below shows the key features for each cloud storage provider in terms storage space and cost.

 
The comparison table is followed by a dedicated section for each provider with some additional information.

Microsoft OneDrive – Much more than cloud storage

As Microsoft investing more and more resources in cloud services, it comes as a little surprise to include her as the top choice for cloud storage solution.
Microsoft has several cloud storage plans that will fit your needs, whether you’re a lite home users with just a few GBs of data, or a heavy user with hundreds of them.

But the thing that turns Microsoft offering from simply another cloud storage provider to a leading solution, it that it comes with the full version of Microsoft office.
All you need to do is to pay for a 1TB storage plan, and office for your PC or MAC, plus one phone is included. That’s a winner, and the best value for money you can get!

Dropbox – Because years of great service can’t go unnoticed

Dropbox is perhaps the most well-known player in the cloud storage provider field.
Dropbox has a well know reputation for great service and collaboration features.

Unfortunately, today Dropbox free tier offer is the one with the least amount of free space you’ll find, only 2GB of free space for new accounts.

Personal paid (=pro) accounts cost $9.99/month for 1TB of storage space and integration capabilities for many other apps and cloud services.

Google Drive – Great for light users, and you probably have it anyway…

If you own a Google account; you own 15GB of free Google Drive storage space.
Just login to Google Drive with you Gmail account.

On the upside – It’s free, it is one less password to remember and it is easy to use.

On the downside, it is Google with its the data privacy and tracking reputation, so I will leave it up to you decide.

If you need more than 15GB of cloud storage than you can choose either the standard Google Apps plan ($5/user/month), or the unlimited plan ($10/user/month).
Note that for organizations with less than 5 users “unlimited” means a 1TB limit per user.

While this seems cheaper than Microsoft Office 365 with OneDrive, keep in mind that Microsoft 1TB plan comes with fully featured Office suite (which is always up to date!)
As I’m a heavy MS user, I think that Microsoft Office 365 offer wins hands down,
but if you are comfortable with Google Apps, or any other MS Office alternatives
such as Open Office or Libre Office then Google Drive offers really good value in terms of $/GB.

Mega – Because free is as cheap as you can get

In addition to a generous 50GB of free storage (best free tier available), Mega offers high-end security with end-to-end encryption for your files.

So if you are a light user with no more than 50GB of data to backup, Mega is probably the right choice for you.

Mega also offers pro account ranging up to 4TB of storage, but they are expensive.

Prepare for data migration

If you don’t already have a cloud storage account with copy or any other provider, you can probably skip this part, but if you do, here are some tips to help you migrate your data to a new service.

  1. Don’t wait for the last minute – Copy service ends on May 1st 2016. Subscribe as soon as possible to a new provider so you can test and migrate your data at ease.
  2. Create a new folder structure and migrate your data in “bulks”, not all at once.
    Each cloud service provider usually creates a “root” folder dedicated for him.
    I think this is an advantage as it allows for better data migration, and also eliminates conflicting changes.
    Install the sync client of the new provider you choose, connect the sync client, than move your data directories from their current location to the new one.
  3. Include the new location in your “documents” library – This will make you feel immediately at home.
    Windows users can specify the location of their “root” documents library, so when they click “My documents” in any application, the directory will open.

    1. Right-click the “Documents” icon in Windows file explorer, then click properties.
    2. Click on the location tab, and Enter the location of the Cloud storage root folder.
    3. As already said,  if you have many documents and or a lot of data, I recommend that you do not use the move feature to move all the directory at once.
      Move it manually yourself with better control on the process.

Conclusion

Whether you need Cloud backup or cloud storage there’s much more to consider than simply the price tag.
Storage space, quality of features, quality of service (including technical service and technical support) are also very important. After all,  it is YOUR DATA that you request the provider to protect.

For Cloud backup solution I recommend Crashplan, without hesitation.

For cloud storage – If you are looking to spend no dime and you don’t have much data, then Mega is your winner.

However, if you have a large amount of data and you don’t mind investing a few dollars for a peace of mind,
then Microsoft OneDrive offers the best value for money offer in the category.
1TB of cloud storage for just 6.99, it is the cheapest $/GB available today, and the Microsoft Office bundles to a superb package.

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Legal note: I’m a Code42 (Crashplan) and Microsoft affiliate.
If you choose to buy or subscribe to a paid service from them after clicking on a link in this post, I share some revenue.

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