Recently, I’ve been looking at various sites claiming to have the largest amount of free or low-cost storage space on the ‘net. The concept is simple enough: you can backup your critical files off-site to any number of repositories that promise absolute security, 24/7 access, blah-blah-blah. For someone who in the past relied on Xdrive (once a standalone company, then several years later, taken over and subsequently driven into the ground by AOL), the concept of being able to store videos, music, and other types of files off-site so that I could access them “anywhere” is still appealing.
Some really cool ones I’ve checked out recently:
www.adrive.com: offering 50GB of free storage, or for $6.95/month, that same level of storage with bells & whistles including FTP, WebDAV access, and additional goodies.
www.icloud.com: offers a “virtual computer” operating system from within a browser window. Free 3GB storage space with WebDAV (but apparently not FTP), but offers 100GB with another 100GB of backup for $39.99/year.
Windows Live SkyDrive: offers MSN/Windows Live members 25GB free storage. No native WebDAV or FTP, only accessible from a browser interface… unless, of course, you download third-party WebDAV enablers for your SkyDrive.
Now, I know that there are others out there, but my basic rule of thumb was this: if you ain’t payin’ for it, it’s probably not secure. Not like I’d EVER entrust such things as financial data, tax forms, etc., to off-site storage, no matter how secure they claim to be, I don’t see anything wrong with using such storage sites to store non-critically secure files, personal music & videos, etc. And while I’m not a big fan of P2P stuff and “stealing” er, downloading something for free from multi-user shared sites, I don’t see anything amiss with using such offload sites for storing and accessing your personal media files.
With the iPhone (don’t get me started) and Windows Mobile (excuse me, “Windows Phone”) so prevalent these days, more needs to be done to incorporate offsite storage sites into the mobile environment. Kinoma did some of this with their “iDisk” applet in Kinoma Play (I don’t think it’s available in the free version) but it’s limited to the Apple Me subscribers’ iDisk, and to some other common WebDAV systems (iCloud works with this, but ADrive doesn’t). Resco Explorer, as well as Total Commander, have FTP access built in, and shame on Resco for not making Explorer 2010 with WebDAV capabilities, which their freeware competitor Total Commander does (as a plug-in). But someone out there needs to keep this going, and not just drop this concept off, since I think the use of offsite storage, whether paid or free, will continue to grow in the future, as more mobile users get added to the total number utilizing their mobile devices and laptops for increased storage needs. And let’s not forget about the newer mini “netbooks” that don’t come with massive GB of storage to begin with, and don’t have CD/DVD drives anyway. People who use netbooks (like my wife) need to have access to large amounts of relatively secure, consistent offsite storage that’s quick and easily accessible.
Is there ever enough? Someday there may be, but for now, I’m still looking for that one single all-in-one offsite storage solution that incorporates FTP, WebDAV, mobile, and browser access, has lots of storage, and is pretty cheap.
Who’s got it?