It wasn’t all that long ago that collaborating with people on documents was a huge hassle. You’d make multiple copies of a file and have to add a stupid ending to the filename, like “-edited-JD-final-final,” in hopes of keeping track of everyone’s changes. Equally painful was managing versions of your own documents as you emailed them to yourself from your personal computer to your work computer. Who misses that? No one has to mess with those problems anymore, largely thanks to online file storage and syncing services.
File syncing and storage services provide seamless access to all your data—Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, and any other digital assets—wherever you are. Syncing and storage services also add safety and security to your online life because when you sync your files via the cloud, you by default create a backup of them as well. If you lose your laptop, all your files are still accessible to you if you log into your syncing service from any browser.
If you don’t yet have an online storage and syncing service, you should seriously consider getting one. Which one you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with others, and which devices you own. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general. Most of these services are extremely user-friendly, while others offer advanced customization for more experienced techies. Find our best picks below, followed by a detailed guide to understanding cloud storage and file-sharing services.