Which provider to choose for your Digital Document Management?
This is a follow up or prerequisite post for How to become more efficient dealing with your personal paperwork? Digitize! In this post I’m writing about efficiently working with providers for Cloud Storage, which one(s) I chose and how I use them.
2021 update: Instead of changing the entire post, here’s a video from friends of mine, who cover the topic in even more detail:
3. Providers for Cloud Storage / Filesharing / Backup / Archiving
First of all: There is no “one solution fits all” for me, so I use a mix of tools and providers. Yes, I do use Google Drive, Dropbox aaand *drumroll* OwnCube*! Let’s go through them use case by use case. (*Yes, this is an affiliate link and if you sign up, I’ll get a 10% commission. 🙂
Emailing and short-term ordered cloud storage
Meet the master of efficiency: Google Drive! For obvious reasons the integration between GMail and Google Drive is seamless, making it easy to
- attach files from storage to emails
- store email attachments into my cloud storage
- well structured cloud+desktop document storage
Another advantage is the incredibly huge free quota with Google services. For private use there’s 15 GB available. I earned another 2 GB for doing a security check on my account in 2015, boosting me to 17 GB. Of this I use ~5GB, so not even a third. This quota is more than enough to stay on the free account. Paid plans range from 20€/year for 100 GB (20ct/GB) to 100€/year for 1 TB (10ct/GB) as of https://drive.google.com/
Sharing pictures, bigger files with one or many people with Dropbox
If you’re starting from scratch, Dropbox might not be your best option anymore, with only 2 GB free storage.
Photo sharing -> Google Photos (unlimited free quota, yes, because they want your photos, I know, I know…)
Huge file sharing -> WeTransfer
The most effective file sharing solution for me is Dropbox. The usability is just great, many people (still) use it. In fact I think there was a time when it was more popular than Google Drive. That may or may not have been due to the excellent Dropbox desktop client. One of my requirements to file sharing and cloud storage is the ability to work offline — Dropbox desktop client did that before Google Drive had a desktop client and thus grew a big user base.
My (free!) Dropbox storage quota is 21.88 GB of which I use 16.5 GB. 19.88 GB of that quota was earned by recommending friends. I was an early adopter and back in 2010, when Dropbox starting approached the 10M users mark (now they have 500M), had invited my entire email address book. Over the years 40-50 of my friends did sign up and I got loads of the early 250MB per referral and some of the later 500MB per referral. By the way: If you’re not a Dropbox user, please sign up via this link -> https://db.tt/VAThtElV 😉
Paid plans range from 100€/year for 1 TB (10ct/GB) to 200€/year for 2 TB, so it won’t become cheaper than Google Drive — just bigger. The devil is in the details. Both Google Drive and Dropbox have loads of features and integrations.
Long term file storage / archiving
At the start I mentioned growing awareness for data protection. Do I want Google or Dropbox to have all my files? I kinda don’t. (Do they still have loads of them? They kinda do…) Still: For long term file storage, archiving and backup of huge amounts of data, I use OwnCube <- affiliate link again (sign up there and I get a share)!
OwnCube is an ownCloud hosting provider.
OwnCloud is basically open source Dropbox which you could set up on your own dedicated server. Since I studied Computer Science, but then “only” became an Agile Coach and Project Manager, I don’t want to do all the administration around that.
So OwnCube hosts my ownCloud for me.
And they do it in a data center I choose. So I chose one in the EU. Or Iceland (is that EU?). I forgot.
– worse usability than Dropbox
– worse integrations than Google Drive
OwnCube (remember: The company hosting ownCloud for me) has
– every now and then great LIFETIME UNLIMITED DISK SPACE deals making it the cheapest provider ever, whilst hosting in Europe
Right now and since 2014 I’m running on an unlimited disk space and lifetime plan that cost me 300€ 4 years ago. I have ~600GB of data backed up in a data center of my choice, easily (and selectively!) available with a desktop client across multiple of my devices.