Five cloud sync apps that rise above the rest

Jack Wallen shares his five choices for best of breed cloud sync apps.

The cloud is the limit - at least for the moment. Along with the cloud comes the ability to sync your data between desktops. This service allows a much more seamless flow of work between home and business, home computers, desktops, and mobiles, and much more. But no matter what you're syncing, it all starts with the desktop and the syncing app. Some of the apps, associated with cloud sync, are much better than others.

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With so many cloud sync apps available, which should you be looking toward for your solution? I have rounded up those that I consider to be the best of breed. Some of these services are best suited for business and some for personal, but all can be used for either. Each offers something unique as well as upgrade plans to give you as much sync space as you need.

Five Apps

1. UbuntuOne

UbuntuOne is my cloud sync service of choice. Why? It's ready to serve, by default, on all Ubuntu desktops (starting with 11.04) and does an outstanding job of not only syncing the files in my user UbuntuOne folder, but music purchased from the UbuntuOne Music Store as well as other folders configured in the UbuntuOne Control Center. Each account comes with 5GB free. You can purchase 20GB more storage (plus Streaming Music Service for your mobile) for $3.99 per month.

2. SpiderOak

SpiderOak is one of the most flexible cloud sync apps/services you will find. Not only does SpiderOak allow you to configure precisely what is sync'd to your cloud (from any folder on your system), but also serves as a solid desktop backup platform. The business version of the service can even be deployed through LDAP or Active Directory. SpiderOak is available for nearly every platform on the market and offers a free personal plan all the way up to a 1TB hosted business plan. Check their Business Plan page for pricing.

3. SugarSync

SugarSync offers both a personal plan as well as an unlimited data business plan. Similar to SpiderOak, SugarSync offers both cloud-syncing and backup that doesn't relegate you to a single root folder. You'll find sync'ing apps for your Windows and Mac desktops, but not Linux (this is a bit short-sighted on SugarSyncs part) as well as Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and even an Outlook-specific client. There is a free service (which gives you 5GB) as well as 30GB ($4.99/month) up to an Unlimited business plan ($55.00/month).

4. CX

CX is as much a way to manage a team's work (in terms of files) as it is to simply sync to the cloud. Just download the app, add people to a team, and share files out. Any team member with the CX app will have a sync'd copy of the files to be worked on. CX also offers the ability to password protect files and add a discussion to a file, group, or project. CX offers a free personal plan all the way up to 30 user enterprise plan (1TB of storage with unlimited groups). Check out this page for more information on plans.

5. Syncplicity

Syncplicity is a secure file sharing and sync designed around the needs for business. With Syncplicity you can opt for a hosted plan or even bring the cloud server on-premises. Syncplicity also allows IT managers to set file sync and sharing policies from a centralized management portal. Syncplicity also offers personal plans that run $15.00/month for 50GB of space. Check out the Syncplicity Product page for more information on the various plans.

Software as a Service offers irresistible benefits for organizations of all sizes - from cost savings to scalability to mobile accessibility. We offer guidance on avoiding the pitfalls of the cloud and choosing your SaaS partners well.

Bottom line

If you're looking for a solid cloud-based sync service, look no further than one of the five listed here. Not only do they offer free plans for you to test out their systems, they also have plans to appeal to individuals and nearly any size company. No matter your needs or your platform, you can have a solid cloud-based sync/storage tool up and running in no time.

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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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