Drop the File Like It’s Hot: The Pros and Cons of the Cloud for File Sharing

Let’s say you want to share a file with someone across the country. You don’t want to copy a file to a USB drive or a DVD disc and then mail it. You want to use the magic of the cloud, with all its fluffy, cloudy, goodness. The good news is that you have a few options.


Registered Services

Your first option is to open a registered account, like a DropBox account, and load up your files and then send a special link to the recipient. If that sorta sounds like a hassle, it’s because it is. You have to create a DropBox account, which some people don’t mind doing. But, if all you’re looking to do is send a few large files, it’s a lot of work for the end-result.

That’s pretty much how it is with all registered services though. The account creation is meant to suck you in and make you feel like part of the family. That way, when they ask you for money for the paid version, it’s difficult to turn them down.

Unregistered Services

Services like Box came on the scene to solve the problem of registered services. With these types of cloud services, you just upload your file and then share a special download link with whomever you want. There’s no account creation, no money changes hands, and it’s actually pretty simple to pull off.

Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based Services

The benefit of using a cloud-based service is that you don’t have to coordinate the file sharing yourself. You let a third-party handle all the backend, complicated, technical stuff. All you do is upload the file and share. So, in that sense, it’s easy – even for registered services.

The downside to these cloud-based file transfer services is that you lose control over your files, to some extent. They’re up there in the cloud, somewhere. And, that scares a lot of people, especially now that we know that the NSA spies on innocent Americans.

Finally, a major disadvantage to cloud-based file sharing schemes is that you’re often limited on the file sizes you can share and you have to abide by terms and conditions that can change at any time.

The Alternative

Many people have turned to an older technology, called P2P file sharing. Sites, like www.Vuze.com, let you download a client – a software program that helps you find and share torrents. Once the client is installed, you can “seed” or upload content directly to other users.

So, instead of having a third-party handle your file sharing, you manage this yourself.

It’s not actually very complicated. You do have to configure the ports on your computer, but a lot of the settings are actually accessible through the client so you don’t have to figure this out on your own.

Plus, you usually get pretty good customer service and instruction on how to use a bittorent client. So, if you’re looking for more control over your file transfers, and you want the ability to share files of an unlimited size, P2P is definitely the way to go. Just remember not to infringe on copyrights.

About the Author: Jason Boger

Jason Boger’s skills for managing digital data has served him well over the years. With a mind for technology and a great passion for organization, he loves blogging about storage, sharing, and securing files in the digital age.

The DNetWorks Team