By Franco Orellana, MD, Yalda Lucero, MD, and Roque Sáenz, MD (WEO e-Media Committee)

Nowadays, with the advance of technology, GI endoscopists are able to create high quality images and videos, an important advance in the world of endoscopy in which imaging is of such importance. This has brought with it a challenge – not only how to store such large amounts of data but also how to share such files with colleagues, members of the team, and publishers.
Such data is very often too heavy to be transferred via regular e-mail, however, with cloud storage, the user is able to access, store and share all of his files on multiple devices, anywhere and anytime. This method is proving itself to be greatly beneficial for courses, patient care, teaching purposes, cooperative research, and much more.

A cloud-based system allows its users safe storage of any type of file – music, videos, photos, apps, documents, favorite websites and links, notes, e-books, contacts, calendars, schedules and more – while additionally serving as a platform for mail servers. An average cloud storage account offers between 2 and 15 GB for free. While there is a plethora of commercial options available, we assess five of the most common cloud storage options here. All are easily available, user-friendly, and of low or no cost:
1. OneDrive
Microsoft’s cloud storage system OneDrive offers 15 GB for free – until August, 2016, when the space is being reduced to 5GB for free. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you will get 1 TB of storage space at no additional cost.

2. Google Drive
Google Drive also offers 15 GB of cloud storage for free. You can buy up to an additional 30 TB.

Apple’s iCloud storage system allows easy access from any iOS device, as well as the PC. Users have the option to allow other people access photo and video files, and can also invite target contacts such as endoscopic groups of interest, courses, etc., who then will be able to share their contents as well. The iCloud Drive permits the safe storage and recovery of all your documents and grants you permanent access from all iOS devices, as well as the PC. 5 GB of storage are free; any additional storage space has to be paid for.

4. DropBox
This cloud storage system is also used to safely access, send, store and share large files that exceed the capacity of the average email program. As one of the most popular cloud storage and file sharing systems in internet, it offers 2 GB storage for free. If the user recommends the system to colleagues and friends, he/she can gain an additional 16 GB of space. Any additional storage space can be bought.

5. WeTransfer
WeTransfer is primarily a file sharing system that allows a maximum file size of 2GB in every mailing, but you can also turn it into a cloud storage space by upgrading to WeTransfer Plus. You can share files with up to 20 recipients for free for 7 days. A subscription to WeTransfer Plus buys you 100 GB storage space, and allows file transfers of up to 20 GB per mailing.