Using cloud storage services

As a person who is practicing remote working, freelancing and working with distributed teams, using cloud storage services like Google Drive is inevitable. Each service has its own pros and cons especially when you live in place that has serious Internet constraints and international sanctions.


Using cloud storage services helps you to be more organized and productive. You want to send a copy of a file to colleagues and after updating it, sending updated copies again? Using emails are tedious and error prone. You can put the file into a cloud storage system and share it with colleagues. So everyone have access to it. If you or your colleagues update the file, so no need to send new file to each other, everyone just get new file automatically. Cloud storage services save history of file for you, so you can see changes over time or download an older version if you want.


Cloud storage services provide good ways for notifications to collaborators when someone changes a file or adds new files to a shared space. They also keep track of conflicts and are good for alone people that just want to share their own files among their own devices like PCs, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones.


Not using a cloud storage service in a distributed team is in some degree like not using source control systems among developers of a team.


Despite all advantages of using cloud storage services, there are also disadvantages. They tend to consume huge amounts of your bandwidth. Some of them are expensive. Using cloud storage services speeds up you get confused with different operating systems, file formats, utilities, etc. You are using MS Office while others put Libre Office file formats into the shared space. You can edit a specific file in your PC but your tablet does not have an editor for it. Your MacBook machine works well with a cloud storage system while there is no suitable cloud storage client for your tablet. And don't forget that security is a big concern.

cloud storage
cloud storage

For many users specially those who has Android devices, default selection is Google Drive. It has online editors and have good integration with Android devices but its big problem is US sanctions. Due to sanctions, its desktop client for windows can not be downloaded from sanctioned countries. I guess if you download it with some work-arounds there would be still restrictions using it because APIs are still on the Internet and you must hope they are not restricted for sanctioned countries.


Another popular choice is Microsoft OneDrive. It has excellent integration with Micorosoft Office Online. Its services are many less expensive than other services. But there are some problems with it. It has no official client for Linux. There is an un-official project for it called onedrive-d, but it is not working very well. OneDrive stopped its service to sanctioned countries from October 2016.


For Linux users residing in sanctioned countries, DropBox is a good choice. It is accessible from these countries, it is easily installed on Linux and even works good with Android. Though it is an expensive service. It also have Office Online for editing files online.


If you are a Linux user using LibreOffice and wants to be able edit your files in Android and in online DropBox be careful. There is no Android version and no Online version of LibreOffice. You have to save your files in MS Office format and use MS Office for Android and MS Office Online.


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