Don't let those clouds become a prison
Don’t let those clouds become a prison

SkyDrive is a logical first choice if you run Office or other Microsoft applications. Likewise iCloud makes sense if you own Apple kit and Google Drive is the obvious route for those committed to Google Apps. 

While Microsoft, Apple and Google would love to hold you captive and own your entire online existence, there is no need to stick with just one personal cloud service.

There are arguments for staying in one camp. You’ll be able to keep all your information in sync all the time. Finding stuff will be easier. You only need to learn one set of commands, rules and idiosyncrasies.

This approach only works if you restrict all your technology choices. Living a pure Google-only life means Android phones and tablets and possibly a Chromebook. Sticking to Apple’s technology stack means Macs, iPhones and iPads, With Microsoft you’ll need to be one of the handful of people with a Windows Phone.

Sticking with just one stack is artificially restricting. And possibly counter-productive. Or at least not as productive as the alternative.

There’s also a risk. If you rely on just one provider, it may change things in a way that’s not to your taste. Remember all the squealing when Google killed Google Reader? Don’t think that can’t happen to other free online services.

You may also be giving the service providers a little too much information. It’s bad enough that you are constantly tracked by large technology companies – to have just one know everything about you spooks many people.

Perhaps the biggest reason for being catholic in your choice of cloud services is that one size does not fit all. Different services excel in different areas. By mixing it up, you can get to choose the best-of-breed for each function.

And you don’t have to stick with just the big providers. Dropbox sits outside all three camps and is arguably the best online back-up tool. Mega now offers encryption – a level of security not seen elsewhere.

Syncing between services isn’t too hard – you may come up against the occasional barrier, but they are rarely insurmountable.

There is one thing you need to watch for. Make sure you can export information from any service you use before committing vital data. Otherwise you may have to painfully reconstruct important information later.

Otherwise, don’t let a cloud be a prison.

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