The Beginner’s Guide to the Cloud

When most people think of cloud computing they probably think of services like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. However, the cloud is more ubiquitous than these services. A popular example is your e-mail accounts. If you’ve ever looked through your e-mails with your web browser, you are using the cloud. You’re not accessing Microsoft’s or Google’s servers directly, you are using your web browser to connect to those servers. Cloud computing is popular with many businesses nowadays for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important is the cost-effectiveness. You avoid up-front infrastructure costs and only pay for what you need. Need more storage? Not a problem, cloud based services are very flexible and scalable.

The cloud in all its glory. Source: saturdayeveningpost

There are many cloud storage services out there and if you’re interested in using one of them but don’t know where to start, I’ll provide a short write up on a few of the most popular ones. This way you can learn about them and pick which one suits you the best.

A few of the most popular cloud storage services. Source:


Dropbox is focused primarily on ease of use and accessibility. Dropbox is easy to set up and has applications for every operating system out there. They offer 2GB of free storage (the least of the 3) with a paid version that offers 1TB of storage for $130.00/year, making it the most expensive of the big 3 services. While other services offer more free storage and better bang for your buck, Dropbox is relatively simple to use making it a good option for those looking for an easy service with many ways to access it.


Microsoft OneDrive has gone through quite a few makeovers over the past years, most recently being known as SkyDrive. OneDrive is integrated with Windows 10, which recognizes it like a file folder. Many users love it for its photo presentation. OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage and its paid service offers 5TB in total storage (1TB for 5 users) and includes Microsoft Office 365 for $100.00/year, which is much better bang for your buck compared to Dropbox. OneDrive would be a good option for those who own a PC with Windows 10 that enjoy the built-in functionality as well as avid users of Microsoft Office that would take advantage of it.

Google Drive

Google Drive is focused on not only being a cloud storage provider, but a collaboration suite. It is unmatched in the way that it lets users create and edit files online with its Google Docs, Sheets and Slides applications. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage and its paid service offers 1TB of storage for $100.00/year. If you need a lot of storage space, Google Drive offers up to 30 TB. If you take some time to learn how to get the most out of the Google productivity applications, Google Drive is an excellent choice. If you don’t need terabytes of storage, it also offers the most free storage of the big three services.

A YouTube video I found explaining some of the benefits of different cloud services.

While I’ve only covered three of the most popular services for the average user, if you’re more concerned with security there are other great alternatives such as Mega and SpiderOak. Enjoy the cloud!

Hah. Source: Agent-X Comics