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Depositphotos_13707160_xs copyMirco Wilhelm spent five years creating his photography portfolio on Flickr. In a matter of a few minutes, a customer service rep at Flickr accidentally deleted his account, and all 3,400 photos, reported the Observer. After several days of excuses, Flickr managed to restore Mirco’s account. There were no other backups. When adopting the cloud into your backup and storage plans, research the reliability, security and privacy levels of each provider you consider. Don’t leave yourself open to Mr. Wilhelm’s frustrations.

Free Accounts Can Be A Dead End

Many cloud services offer free accounts that give you from one to five GB of storage. But once you’ve reached your limit you may find that the next paid account option is more expensive than other providers. Check and compare the account levels at all cloud providers you’re considering. Find one that gives you incremental room to grow over time.

Photographers need more storage than non-professional photo-takers, Agnostica reminds us. A few simple jobs could require a terabyte or more to backup all of the images. Look for any data upload or download caps that might make a service unusable in your specialty.

Automate Your Efforts

It’s too easy to forget to run a backup of your files to the cloud. Look for cloud-providers that have automated backup processes that you can just set and forget. Review frequently asked cloud questions and compare the backup tools each provider offers. Some have a browser-based dashboard from which you can control the backup schedules. Other providers have mobile apps so you can manage your files from your smartphone or tablet.

How Easy Is It To Share Files?

The ideal cloud provider makes it easy to store your files and easy to view and share them. Some providers have their own slideshow-style viewers, such as Dropbox, while others give you links to create a slideshow on your website. It should be easy to share files with other people while maintaining security so the files can only be viewed, but not downloaded.

Are the Right File Types Support?

Some providers support only the most popular file types, such as JPEGs and PNGs. Fewer support RAW or TIFF files. According to Peta Pixel, the provider Stream Nation supports RAW and TIFF but also has a viewer and downloader specifically for those formats. Other providers may have a provision for “other” file types but offer no tools to work with them. You’ll be limited to uploading and downloading with no sharing or viewing capabilities.

Mobile Access May Be Important

Find out what mobile tools and apps are available to access your files in the cloud. It’s convenient to be able to work with your files from your smartphone or tablet while on the road and not have to go back to your office. A provider that offers mobile apps should also support the major operating systems, Windows, iOS (Apple) and Android. Should you swap out your iPhone for an Android device, you won’t want to discover that you can no longer access your files.

Reliability and the TOS

Look for reliability reviews on any cloud-providers you’re considering. Don’t take a chance with an inexpensive provider with poor reliability. You may not have access to your portfolio at some crucial moment in your business.

Everybody hates to read them but make sure you read and understand the Terms of Service (TOS.) The provider may have provisions that allow them to use your photos for their marketing. Protect your photos by avoiding a provider that can access and use your materials.