Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and the senior financial analyst at AAII and former editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


Alan from NJ posted over 3 years ago:

This is an excellent overview of an issue almost all of us will need to understand. It's difficult to imagine seeing an article that's better researched or more clearly written. Thanks, Mr. Thorp and AAII.

Wayne Thorp from IL posted over 3 years ago:


Thank you for those very generous comments. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA
Editor, Computerized Investing

Brooks Nolan from TX posted over 3 years ago:

Dear Wayne! Congratulations on a most remarkable article. It is very comprehensive in operational or utilization scope, at a really ideal level of technical depth for quick understanding, seemingly unbiased and very, very easy to comprehend. This is a true AAII service. There are many, many published papers on this subject, and I personally think yours is one of the absolute best. Many thanks – Homerun!
Brooks Nolan

Thomas from IN posted over 3 years ago:

Good article, Wayne. Very well laid out, and you covered all the major players.
Hope to see more articles online for the upcoming wave of tech savvy among us.

Anthony from AZ posted over 3 years ago:

I use Google Drive, MS Skydrive, Box.com and Sugar Sync. From the perspective of automatic sync over three PCs I use in three different States (yes I travel a lot) Sugar Sync is a real blessing. I do not know how I would do without it

Charles Mattson from NY posted over 3 years ago:

This was a very clear, well written and well researched article. It is one of the best that I have ever read on AAII. I was also glad that I did not have to log on to my AAII account to be able to read the whole article. Thank you, Wayne. Keep up the good work.

Matt from CA posted over 3 years ago:

I use both Google Drive and Dropbox continuously (and MS Skydrive and Box.com occasionally). I like Google Drive for the reliability and the low price for large storage quantities (I use 100GB), but on my aging laptop, the Google Drive Sync client will quite often exceed 30% of available CPU power. Strangely, even when pausing the Google drive Sync client, the system load it imposes will often remain very high for several minutes.

The Dropbox client, by comparison, seems to impose only negligible resource requirements.

Jonathan Brown from CA posted over 2 years ago:

Thank you, this is a first rate summary of options. I tend to use iCloud as a first order but have also used Dropbox and Skydrive and Box. I have also used Cubby - which allows 5 gigs and like many others as you sign up friends you get an extra gig of storage.

A couple of other comments. I like iCloud in part because of the iWork software (which competes with Google's Drive and Skydrive). I have spreadsheets, keynotes and pages documents all at the ready on all my devices. That is possible on the other services but since I am an Apple user I am more comfortable with the ecosystem. Among the three Skydrive is the least useful from my perspective (but then I have grown tired of the Office interface). The Google drive option is a bit clumsy. But I understand that the native web based apps on iCloud are also a bit less friendly than the native Mac options. For a Mac user each of the other services allows you to send a doc out and have the Mac read it. For iCloud you have a number of options to move docs to non-mac users. Since a good deal of what I produce in documents and spreadsheets is proprietary - I generally output to locked PDF. In the end I think this is a matter of personal preference.

I have used all of the above on my tablet(s) and found each works fine.

One final comment - I have begun to default to iCloud but I think one good suggestion is to primarily concentrate on one service - it is just simpler to not have to remember where all your docs are. I expect that as time goes on some of the services will sort out and also that storage capacity fees will begin to drop a bit.

Peter Asprey from CA posted over 2 years ago:

Wayne: As usual for your writings, this is a timely and excellent article. I read it with delight. I use SkyDrive, Google Docs, er whatever they call it, and DropBox.

It is worth mentioning that with Office 360, the "rental version " of Office ($99/year) you get 20G extra of SkyDrive space. For me, a heavy Excel, Word and OneNote user, SkyDrive is a no brainer.

I believe that "...only disappointing thing about SkyDrive is that you can’t access your files without an Internet connection..." is erroneous. The SkyDrive folder on my Windows 8 PC is accessible whether or not I have Internet access. It works similarly to DropBox's mechanism. I came to a different conclusion on which is best. I now use DropBox only for a special sharing of music with another player, but moved everything else to SkyDrive, which I find to be cheaper, more complete, intuitive, and aligned with my focus on MS Office. Perhaps most important is that I can "point" to an excel file on SkyDrive from my blog post and users see it as a live spreadsheet that they can manipulate in their browser. Not to get to rosy, it does NOT support Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) or I'd move all my non-sensitive apps there!

I'm not a Mac user. It fascinates me that the Apple's iCloud offering ties the output of an APPLICATION to whether files are in the cloud or no(if I understood). This could NEVER work for me! Some of my Excel files are for sharing; some never! Folder based seems more logical! The SugarSync approach of designating any folder/or file for synching is obviously the most flexible. SkyDrive's "Fetch" folders are a good idea and useful, but would be better implemented, IMHO, the Sugar has done it--at least as an option. Fetch DOES allow access to a HUGE amount of local data remotely.

RE: "As a writer for PCMag.com put it, if you are comfortable using Gmail, you shouldn’t have a problem using Google Drive."
This is a weird statement! It implies that what you email is, security wise, equivalent to what you keep in your most "secret" spreadsheets! I would NEVER grant access to all my financial information that I might WANT to share across devices with Google (or any other service who feels that it has the right to rifle through my files.) This shows that Cloud Storage is just not there yet. NO ONE has the right to my files except me, whether stored on my machine, in transit, or stored in the Cloud.

Thanks again for a great read.

Pete Asprey

Larry Culpepper from MA posted over 2 years ago:

Be aware that the usual current version of Dropbox is not perfect for syncing iPhoto libraries. Apple requires that photo libraries be stored on Mac OSExtended formatted disks. Otherwise the photo library can become corrupted. Also, in the past if the photo library was being accessed on two Macs concurrently this created problems for the cloud syncing. They are developing an advanced version (2.3.29 currently) that does support iPhoto syncing. Visit the dropbox user forums for more info.

Also,Dropbox cautions that the disk on which Dropbox resides must boot right at startup - eg not a USB drive that may have a delay. Otherwise, Dropbox may initialize and get confused and delete files from the server since it does not seem them on the local computer. All is not lost, since they can be recovered from the Dropbox archive.

Mary Kennedy from MI posted over 2 years ago:

I am a SugarSync junkie. One thing I like about it is that I can add a new folder from computer A while I am out of town using computer B. So if I figure out too late that I need something else from A, there is a good chance I can still retrieve it.

Abe Almonte from Florida posted over 2 years ago:

Thank you so much. This article helped me (and friends and family) understand more about this kind of service. Thanks again for the great information.

Abe Almonte

lb from fl posted over 2 years ago:

Which one has the best security? Which one has the best privacy policy?

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