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In search of the best Dropbox alternatives

A confession: Dropbox is probably one of the most -- if not the most -- important tools I use as a freelancer.

Hmm...so...simple...

Hmm...so...simple...

I use Dropbox mainly as a way of transferring or sharing files between my multiple devices (which, at the moment, consists of two laptops, one desktop, three phones, and two tablets), and as a way of keeping important documents and files close at hand.  I love the fact that I can start working on a project on my desktop, save it to my Dropbox folder, and walk 20 steps to my bedroom to continue working on it on my laptop.

I also love the fact that if I'm stuck somewhere without one of my devices (Heaven forbid!) I can sign into Dropbox's web platform and access any of my work materials from anywhere.  Heck, last year I did this from the 24-hour Apple Store in NYC, because I needed to quickly re-send a blog post to my editor (and I happened to be trolling Madison Avenue for sales at the time I got her phone call -- not diligently typing away at my desk like I, ahem, usually am).

Long story short, I am a huge fan of Dropbox, and it definitely helps to keep me productive and looking (sort of) professional.

But Dropbox isn't the only cloud storage provider on the block anymore.  Tons of services, from Google's ubiquitous Drive to Microsoft's newly-minted SkyDrive, are popping up all over the place.  Most of these services are fairly similar to Dropbox, with ever-so-slight tweaks, such as a couple of extra gigs of storage space, or a slightly different encryption process.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm a Dropbox fanatic...but I got my start as one mainly because Dropbox was the only player at the time, not because it's inherently awesome (although it is, obviously).

Were I to start using a cloud storage provider now, I'd do some shopping around first.  And I did do some shopping around -- for a recent article I wrote for PCWorld's Business Center, called

Four excellent Dropbox alternatives for your small business storage needs

.

Do you want ALL THE GIGABYTES? This paper crane totally has your back.

Do you want ALL THE GIGABYTES? This paper crane totally has your back.

I found quite a few nice Dropbox alternatives, all of which are similarly set up (their desktop clients offer up a native "sync" folder where you can place documents and files to be automatically shared), but many of which have different, useful features.  I'm particularly a fan of Barracuda's new service Copy, which offers 20GB of storage (if you sign up through this link), plus an extra 5GB for each referral.  There appears to be no cap on how many referrals you can get credit for (I believe Dropbox offers 500MB for each referral, and caps the free referral space at 18GB), as evidenced by my current Copy space of 670GB.

The party is certainly on...

The party is certainly on...

Anyway, go ahead and read the full story over at PCWorld -- and let me know what you think!  Do you use Dropbox or a different cloud storage provider?