Cloud Photo Storage: Is it Worth It And What Are The Best Options?


Photographs and videos are more than just a series of pixels on a camera display. They capture priceless memories or moments of inspiration for major projects. Therefore, we need to protect these files and store them away somewhere safe. A folder on a laptop or external hard drive might not be enough. That is why many people now use cloud storage for their photos. There are pros and cons to doing this. This wireless solution can be user-friendly and efficient but there are still concerns about where those files actually end up. 

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Photo Storage

Pros

  • Keeping photos and videos safe from theft
  • Keeping photos and videos safe from loss or physical damage
  • Greater opportunities to share photos and videos between devices
  • Greater opportunities to share photos and videos between colleagues, family, and friends

Cons

  • Safety issues with security and hackers
  • Issues getting media if the company goes bust
  • Accessibility issues with poor user experience
  • Lots of pricing structures and expensive packages

Cloud Storage As A Backup

One of the primary reasons to store data on the cloud is the chance to have a secondary place to store and access your files. Back-up solutions are essential with any important data. If you have a lot of valuable data, you want to be sure that you have back up data in case of an emergency. There is no reason why the same rules shouldn’t apply to your photos. If you have holiday photos, shots for professional applications or other important files, you need to keep them safe. The cloud allows for these automatic back-ups if you schedule them correctly. 

The added bonus of an online cloud storage facility is that this secondary back-up is safe from physical damage. For example, you may have an SD card in your camera that holds your photos, copies of those photos on your laptop and then a back-up file on another hard-drive. This is a great approach for many people. But, it does mean that these files are still in one location. What happens if there is a theft and someone steals all your camera and computer equipment? What if there is a fire or a flood and everything is damaged. The virtual world of the cloud is protected from this sort of physical damage. 

Cloud Photo Accessibility

Access to files is also a key part of this cloud storage solution. There are two advantages here. First of all, you have a better chance of obtaining your files whenever you need them. A good cloud storage provider will offer easy access from any synchronized device. For example, if you have an Apple cloud service then you can access it through any of your synchronized Apple devices. Therefore, you can be out in town with friends and bring up holidays snaps on your phone. You can take something on that phone during a lunch break and access it on your work computer that afternoon. This sort of accessibility could really help those using their smartphone cameras as work tools. 

Another potential benefit here is that you can let other people access that cloud storage account – if they have the right password that is. Work colleagues on the same creative project can find the photos you took and use them with ease. This is brilliant for those working in different locations. Alternatively, you can let your family members have access to the files so they can obtain family shots and holiday snaps. This is a lot easier than trying to email over every photo that they ask for after they go back home. 

Most packages are designed to be user-friendly and cost-effective.

With so many companies providing their own version of cloud storage, there is a lot of competition for users. This means a range of cost-effective packages that claim to be the best, most user-friendly solution available. The idea here is that you should be able to sync a photo to your cloud provider with no effort at all, completely forget about and then retrieve it as needed. 

Security Isn’t Perfect With Cloud Storage

Of course, every one of these positive points has a negative counterpoint. There are still risks and issues to be aware of when it comes to secure storage, access, and ease of use. Let’s start with security risks. We talked about protection against physical damage and theft. But, what about protection from digital theft and disasters. Cloud storage solutions aren’t guaranteed to a kind of permanent, impenetrable digital lockbox. If the company providing the storage fails or has a disaster of its own, you could lose the data. If they have security breaches then it might affect your photos. You are still putting your images in the hands of someone else. 

The other security issue here is the risk of hackers. There have been a few waves of leaked photos in recent years. Celebrities have had their personal photos stolen and put up online. Some people may think that they were targetted directly because of their fame. In fact, these hackers could have an extensive selection of images stolen from cloud software. We just see the ones deemed to be of interest to the public. If a stranger manages to hack into your account, your private photos aren’t private any more. 

Ease Of Use and Accessibility

Cloud storage is designed to benefit those with multiple devices that are all synced up on a reliable internet connection. Ideally, you will take a photo on your phone, link it to the cloud and it will be uploaded in no time at all. But what if you have a massive folder of holiday photos from your digital camera that you want to duplicate? There are two possible issues here. The first is your connection from your device to the cloud. A slow or unreliable internet service might not be able to handle the request. There is also the fact that your cloud package might not have enough space for all those files.

This leads to the final drawback to consider here – the quality of the package that you purchase. There are lots of different options out there at different prices. Some companies will offer a free service with minimal perks and basic capacity. They then work up in tiers to help users find what they need. Therefore, you could end up with too little space in your affordable package or lots of features for a high cost. 

Is Cloud Storage the Best Choice For Your Photos?

By this point, you may have decided that cloud storage isn’t for you. Perhaps you aren’t that big of a technophile and just want a secure place to back-up shots from your digital camera. The physical approach may offer more peace of mind here if you don’t want the hassle of syncing devices and payment plans. Peace of mind really is the deciding factor here. Will you gain more of it by putting your photos on the cloud or lose some by worrying about hacks and security? If you have no concerns about the security risks and are confident in using the cloud, you need to find the right provider. 

Cloud Storage With the Company That Makes Your Devices

This is the most logical solution for many people that take lots of photos on their smartphone camera. If you are a proud Apple user and have an iPhone, iPad, Mac and any other associated device, it makes sense to have Apple cloud storage. Likewise, if you have Google devices you can use their software instead. This sort of compatibility should make it easier to sync devices and share photos. 

Apple iCloud

This is the perfect solution for those that want to back-up their photos and videos from their iPhone. It is quick, simple and the most compatible option. Users can sync up multiple devices with ease. The problem here is that while they do offer a free version, it is annoyingly limited. It is as though they want to tease users into upgrading from the first few files. Thankfully, the tiers are diverse and some of the most affordable. 

Google Drive

Google Drive is an option that makes a lot of sense for consumers that want a name they can rely on. It is also highly accessible for a range of user and efficient. This Google drive works on any device that can hold the app or account. This means phones, laptops and other devices made by different companies. The automated syncing process is straight forward and pretty reliable. There are different plans available in a tiered system. The most expensive also happens to hold a lot of data. 

Microsoft OneDrive

There is a similar benefit to using Microsoft. While Windows smartphones might not be that popular, many of us run Windows on our laptops and work computers. Therefore, it makes sense to use their OneDrive Cloud system. There is a free solution available straight away that syncs with Microsoft Photos. It is also possible to upgrade to bigger storage options as needed. It is easy enough to save digital photos and videos from your SD card into your OneDrive folder on your laptop. It really is just like another back-up solution. The files are also easy to access when you need them. Anyone that has a Windows device and access to the account can download the photos. 

Amazon

Amazon actually has a lot of different cloud storage solutions out there for users to take advantage of. Photographers with Amazon devices will appreciate the simplicity of the Prime Photo on the Amazon Cloud Drive. Then there is the Amazon S3 system and Amazon Glacier. While this choice is appealing at first, it is important to look at the pricing structure and fine print. Amazon S3 charges for uploads and Glacier for downloads. There can be sharp price rises and it can catch new users out. 

Cloud Storage Form Other Providers

There are lots of different companies and platforms with cloud storage solutions and some are far more successful than others. There is a lot of competition between providers to offer the best service and price. This next model is one of the best.

Dropbox

Dropbox is highly popular with countless users adding all kinds of files across the world. It means that you can add a photo, video, documents or other important items into this virtual dropbox and it can be collected anywhere. This is a commonly used tool in international projects. It also helps that there are two formats. The free option isn’t the most advanced or spacious but it works for basic needs. The Pro version offers more and isn’t as expensive or complicated as other solutions. 

Box

Before Dropbox, there was the company simply known as Box. Many people that jumped on the Cloud bandwagon early on will have tried this before switching to other providers. However, this option is still going strong – which means they must be doing something right. Their reputation and strong service mean integration with lots of platforms and apps. Take a look if you want an independent solution and have business needs. 

Be Cautious of Startups

There will always be a new company entering the market and making bold claims about affordable plans, brilliant security and user-friendly features. They may sound like a fun, cheaper option at first but it isn’t a good idea to dive in straight away. There is a good chance that they still have bugs in the system or will hike up the price if they struggle with their business plan. Also, don’t forget that there are lots of casualties in this industry. If a failing company shuts down with your data on-board, you may lose those images forever. 

Choosing the Right Cloud Photo Storage Solution For Your Needs 

Cloud storage isn’t going to be for everyone. Those that are keen to embrace this digital storage locker have plenty of options to choose from. While it may be tempting to stick with the most accessible option – such as the one integrated into your device – it doesn’t hurt to shop around. Take a look at the competition’s pricing structures, capacities, and business plans. There is a lot of competition here and some great deals to take advantage of.

2 thoughts on “Cloud Photo Storage: Is it Worth It And What Are The Best Options?

  1. I’ve been on the fence about cloud storage from the get-go because I really didn’t understand how it worked. But this article breaks it down. The truth is, there’s a risk in ANY sort of storage, whether it’s pictures, documents, spreadsheets, etc. But I have ample information now, about what’s strictly online and what is downloadable, and how all that works.

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