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Amidst the chaos and strangeness of self-isolation, lockdowns, and shelter-in-place orders, many people are also getting a novel and oft sought-after experience – working from home. As fun as working in your pants might be, there are still some obstacles to overcome with this new way of working, and one of the biggest is how to get files moving between your team that are too big to attach to an email. With the recent rise in remote working and digital nomad culture, the once painfully technical process has become super simple. 

Rae Hodge put together a list of some of the simplest file-sharing services, in an article that originally appeared on cnet. We’ll go through them all here. 

Google Drive

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For those of you whose employers use Gmail as your corporate email, you’ve probably seen Google Drive bouncing around your system, and maybe even already have access to it although possibly you’ve never used it. If it’s not part of your company’s suite of software, Google Drive is still likely to be one of the easiest systems to use in terms of compatibility across your team’s devices.  

Google Drive gives 15GB of storage for free when you first sign up. For more space in the cloud, you can pay $30 every year for 200GB extra. For your home-based business, storage on a Drive Enterprise account runs at $8 per month for each user and the storage space is unlimited. Using a business plan also means you get phone and email support 24/7 as standard. Google Drive works across Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. 

The best thing about Google Drive is that it’s flexible and compatible across systems and files. When you add the Google Drive client onto your desktop you can set it up to sync your files automatically to the cloud so you’re constantly backing up your data. You don’t need to stress about sorting out your filing system; the search bar in Google Drive makes hunting down what you need really easy. You can share all of your files, folders, documents, or photos with anyone else who uses Gmail and they can work with you on the information in real-time. 

OneDrive

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Microsoft Outlook is another common email system that your office might be using, and its version of Google Drive is called OneDrive. Again, you might already have an account and access without really being aware. In the same way as Google Drive, you can collaborate on your Word and Excel documents in real-time and there are Android and iPhone apps available too.  

When cost is a big consideration, the free version of OneDrive comes with a 5GB storage limit. You can pay as little as $2 per month for 100GB and Office 365 Personal customers are entitled to a full terabyte at a cost of $70 for a year. If you’ve got Office 365 Home version, 6TB of storage comes in at $100 per year, spread over six users.  

24/7 phone support is available and some of the great little extras include ransomware detection and some very handy document recovery features.  

Dropbox

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When you ask someone about file-sharing apps, Dropbox won’t be too far from their thoughts, and its reputation comes from its reliability. The desktop client will happily run in the background and has auto-syncing settings. There are plenty of third-party app integrations offered by Dropbox, which is great when you have to move files across different companies that use different systems for file management. 

Upon sign-up Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage for free, not huge in comparison to the 15GB Google Drive gives. However, the files you have in Google Drive, and your Microsoft Office files, will all be compatible with Dropbox, so you’re getting a lot of flexibility and practicality. The entry-level subscription comes in at $10 per month and that gives a personal 100GB of storage. If you sign up as a home business, Dropbox Business is still $10 and you get a huge 2TB storage allowance.  

The best bits you get with Dropbox? The business plans have additional layers of encryption and you can recover files for up to 120 days, which is pretty decent.  

IDrive

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For an easy setup, look no further than IDrive. As well as having a super simple client set-up there are most of the same features available as the big-hitters we’ve gone through above. You have options for auto-syncing on your computer and phone, bulk uploading for lots of files at once, and a useful search feature. On top of the solid basics, there is good encryption, handy data restoration, and desktop clients and phone apps that cover the major operating systems. With all of this goodness, there’s a trade-off, and that’s the price. 

You’ll get 5GB for free and the lowest personal plan costs $70 per month but that gets you 2TB of storage. To boost that up to 5TB you’re going to be paying $100 each month. To get a two-year 2TB plan it’s $140 and for 5TB it’s $200. There are some rather nice discounts available a lot of the time with IDrive, at the moment there’s a deal of $53 for 2TB for one year.  

Up at the business level, you get unlimited user accounts with prices at $100 for a year for 250GB and the top level is $1,000 for 1.25TB over two years.  

MediaFire

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Overheads and outgoings are being monitored very closely as the market isn’t sure what’s going on at the moment. For a budget-friendly way to move your files around the internet, check out MediaFire. It might not be as popular as the other’s we’ve looked at, but it’s the cheapest of the easy-to-use file-sharing options that are out there.  

You automatically get 10GB of free storage, and for $4 per month, you get 1TB of storage as the opening deal. That also gives you the option to automatically scan for viruses and download complete folders in one go, as well as upload from any website and not have to suffer through adverts. For $40 there are business plans that give up to 100 user accounts and a very impressive 100TB of data storage.  

Of course, there’s a trade-off. With MediaFire, the virus scan runs slower and it’s not available across quite so many platforms. There’s no desktop client, but you do get iPhone and Android apps.

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