Online cloud storage choices grow daily, and for good reason. The Cloud is safe, easy to use, and meets most of the requirements of an online data storage solution. How much cloud space you’ll need depends on your budget and a real need for added space.

Consumers rarely need more than 1TB (terabyte) of space unless a definite need for more exists. Perhaps photo storage or large downloads not easily accessed through other means will necessitate more storage space. Music and video files also add to storage requirements, and can raise the requirements over 2TB most times.

For the average 1TB plan, $10.00 per month is the more common choice among consumers. However, IT pros and techies like extra space reserved for computer or server backups. Each of these could add several TBs to a plan and increase the cost.

Many cloud services offer plans starting at 1TB or more, up to 10TB, with enterprise options reaching unlimited storage. Typically, very large storage plans are for businesses, but they must consider the high cost for these massive storage plans.

Determine How Much Space You’ll Need

After using your computer for a time, you have a feel for how much you need. Notice the word need. There’s a big difference between what space you need and how much space you want. While it’s OK to pad storage space, costs ramp up quickly as space gets added to your plan.

Look at your current level of storage. If it’s comfortable, it should give you an idea of cloud storage to start with. If you’re deleting files to make room for more, increasing cloud storage makes sense.

As your calculating storage requirements, ask yourself how important those old files are. If you haven’t used them in a long time or forgot they were there, it’s a sign you don’t need them. Financial, income tax, and timeless photos have their place and you shouldn’t touch them.

Why it’s Not OK to Buy Storage You Don’t Need

Look at the plans offered for cloud storage. Most plans are scalable, meaning you can increase or decrease storage whenever the need arises. Always start with a level about the size of your current hard drive. As your space requirements change, your plan will have the flexibility to change with you. Try that with a hard drive!

Unless you don’t mind paying extra for space you won’t use, it’s a better idea to start with what you need, and grow into a larger plan when your needs change.

Suggestions about File Types

Photos, videos, pictures, and saved downloads have their place in the Cloud. How much of each is up to you. To make sure you don’t max out your plan’s storage limits, decide which of these you can access in other ways.

Remember most plans sync with your computer and use hard drive space to sync with the Cloud. Turn sync off and upload your files directly to the Cloud to prevent a rapid decrease in hard drive space.