While preparing for another post related to my online storage article, No more USB access to public computer,  a friend’s data file became corrupted.  In addition to that incident, a shared computer came down with a virus about the same time.  The corruption cause is unknown, but the file contained data that represented many man-hours of work and there was no backup.  He had a deadline and asked for my help with reconstruction of the data.  I helped him reconstruct the data.  Getting the reconstructed data from my computer to his computer. In most collaborative environments you have 3 options for sharing files.

File Sharing options:

  1. Email the file
  2. Copy the file to physical media (floppy, flash drive)
  3. Copy the file to a Remote Server somewhere

My collaboration options:

Option #1 works most of the time, the files are usually small so the average user doesn’t experience any problems using this method.

Option #2 works if you’re within a reasonable traveling distance.  however, this can become a pain when many miles are involved.

Option #3 is the preferred method for collaboration.  The file is easily uploaded & downloaded and if you have a backup system on the networked drive or server you get the file(s) automatically backed up as well.

In my case the traveling distance was too far to be reasonable and we didn’t have any online storage established.  So, having no other option,  I ended up emailing the data file to him.  It was a whopping 12MB.  That’s a pretty big file for sending as an email attachment.  I know if I was receiving a file that large, my computer would get bogged down and I would be thinking unkind thoughts of the sender.

A better solution would be to have shared online storage. Then instead of emailing the file which takes a lot of time, I could upload the file to a shared remote folder and notify him, of the new file waiting for retrieval in the shard storage area.

Reasons for online storage:

  1. Security Policy prohibits – external hardware (USB Flash Drives)
  2. Online Collaboration – sharing files online is easier than sending the files back and forth via email.
  3. Online Backups – Keeping backup copies of important files is a good thing.  As an added bonus some online storage will have backup facilities too.

This recent incident has really driven the point home.  I need to get online storage for my own backups and for project collaboration.  I have colleagues that need online storage too, so they can collaborate with me and other folks. So which online storage solution will I tell them to use?  I’ll have a better idea after I test them out myself.  I’m also open to suggestions.