10 Ways To Start Taking Advantage Of Cloud Storage

cloud storage

The Book Creator for iPad support team answers questions about sharing ebooks every day. We will often default to suggesting Dropbox when we direct people to using cloud storage, but Dropbox is by no means the only option within the cloud storage world.

This article looks at some of the main players in this field, giving you the information to help you make your choice.

Note: we’re not looking to endorse any particular service, we’ll leave the judgement up to you. Please leave a comment if you think there’s a service that’s been missed off, or any other details you think should be added!

Why use cloud storage?

Before we look at the options, let’s just clarify why it’s a good idea to invest in a cloud storage solution for the classroom (and beyond).

Sharing

We are often asked by teachers for ways in which they can share the books their students have made, and one of the most effective ways is to save it to a cloud service. That way, the teacher can send a link to the file for parents to download the book themselves, or if the login credentials for the cloud service are shared, then books can be opened on multiple devices.

Collaborating

Likewise, many teachers ask us for the best way to enable students to work on the same book, or how students can share a book with the teacher so she can annotate it.

By using a cloud service and sharing the login credentials across multiple iPads, students can access the same files and in theory work on the same book by downloading it, opening it in Book Creator and then saving it back to the cloud service.

Backing up

Another good reason to use a cloud service is to backup your books. If for some reason your iPad got lost, stolen or broken, you can replace it and still have access to the books you created. Phew!

Don’t forget the terms and conditions

Schools will need to be extra careful about which service they choose, as there can often be data protection implications (for example schools in the UK have to store data on servers within the European Union to be compliant with the Data Protection Act). Always make sure you read the service’s terms and conditions to make sure you’re complying with your local laws.

Dropbox

Dropbox for iOS>> Dropbox for iPad
By: Dropbox

 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Mac, Windows, Linux

Pricing options:

  • 2GB free, 500MB added for each referral (up to 16GB)
  • Pro: 100GB, 200GB or 500GB options available starting at $9.99 per month
  • Also a Dropbox for Business option, plans starting at 1TB and 5 users

iPad app features:

  • Add a security passcode to the iOS app to access the app
  • Automatically upload photos taken on the iPad
  • Add files to your favourites to be able to view them without a Wifi connection
  • An extra 3GB free when you automatically backup photos and videos

Conclusion:  Dropbox may have stolen a march on its rivals, and certainly seems to be the most well-known of the cloud service solutions. Teachers may regard this as a safe choice given the level of investment it has received as a business, and there are tonnes of other apps which integrate with Dropbox, across all platforms. [hr]

Google Drive

Google Drive for iOS>> Google Drive for iPad
By: Google

 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web browser

Pricing options:

  • 15GB free (to be shared across Google Drive, Gmail and Google + photos)
  • 100GB for $4.99/month, 200GB for $9.99/month, and more options all the way up to 16TB for $799 per month!
  • Note: the iPad app has standalone pricing of 5GB free and an in-app purchase for 25GB for £17.49 for 1 year

iPad app features:

  • Can edit Google Docs documents and spreadsheets within the app
  • Save files for offline viewing
  • Integration with your Google account

Conclusion:  This will be a popular choice with schools because so many of them will already be familiar with the Google ecosystem. It’s certainly very useful to be able to edit files within the app, albeit that makes no difference for Book Creator books, which cannot be edited in-app. [hr]

SkyDrive

SkyDrive for iOS>> SkyDrive for iPad
By: Microsoft

 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows

Pricing options:

  • 7GB free
  • 20GB for $10/year
  • 50GB for $25/year
  • 100GB for 50$/year
  • 200GB for $100/year

iPad app features:

  • Not much to say other than it’s fairly simple and easy to use!
  • Camera backup available for photos taken on your iPad

Conclusion: One of the key benefits of using SkyDrive is that you can edit Microsoft Office documents using their free web-based apps. Not that means anything for iPad users, but hey. An obvious choice for schools that rely on the Microsoft environment, but would obviously complement a Windows Surface tablet more than an iPad.[hr]

Box

Box for iOS>> Box for iPad
By: Box, Inc

 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows

Pricing options:

  • Personal use starts for free with 10GB, up to 100GB for $10/month
  • Starter, Business and Enterprise packages available for teams and businesses
  • Bonus: Box recently upgraded its iOS app and currently offers 50GB free space for users who sign up and install the iOS app.

iPad app features:

  • Tutorial video included
  • PDF included – ‘top 10 things to do in Box’
  • Take photo and video from within the app
  • Offline storage
  • Hi-resolution document viewer (will not display ePub though)
  • Library of associated apps to improve Box

Conclusion: It seems as if Box are ramping up the competition. They already offer 10GB of free space but the 50GB promotion is a must-have for iOS users. The new app is feature packed and very nice to use. The only put-off might be the 250MB limit for transferring individual files.[hr]

Copy

Copy for iOS>> Copy for iPad
By: Barracuda Networks

 

Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi

Pricing:

  • 15GB free (plus 5GB added with each referral)
  • Copy for Companies free for first 5 users
  • 250GB for $9.99/month or $99/year

iPad app features:

  • View recently modified apps by file type
  • “Fair storage” - a 20GB folder synced between 4 people only counts as 5GB per person
  • No limit to the file size that can be transferred

Conclusion: Copy is a fairly new kid on the block and the generous free storage and referral scheme reflects Barracuda’s intention to muscle in. Probably the nicest feature is the “fair storage” policy, which unlike most other cloud services, will share the storage between different users who share the same file.[hr]

Any others?

Well, actually there’s a plethora of other cloud services you might like to try, here’s just a few of them:

3 Comments

  1. BobM

    April 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Hey this is a nice piece, I just got some points to add here since lately I had to do some experimenting with cloud solutions because of my thesis project: Microsoft renamed its cloud storage to OneDrive, because of copyright issues. Also Sugarsync does not offer free plans anymore – so may not be a great fit for a student on budget (and I feel like i was all the time on budget…).
    And also I really miss Tresorit from this list: it is fast, and easy to use. I can edit(! not just view) all my docs stored in Tresorit on my nexus tablet so it is more than effective for me. No need to take notebook for class.. Also I am writing my thesis on political activation patterns and I already took a bunch of survey. Tresorit keeps all my data in the cloud securely, so I don’t have to worry about loosing such sensitive information. Ok, I am really pleased with their service – you may have realized that by now – and just wanted to share my oppinion. Thanks for reading.

  2. SimonC

    April 21, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    MS Office Mobile has been released for android,windows phone, iphone and ipad.

  3. cloud storage online

    June 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Nice post, i think that Dropbox is ideal for me and very simple to use