I’ve owned my new Microsoft Surface Pro for a little over a month now, and I would say I use it for equal amounts of fun and productivity—just as I figured I would. It’s a tremendously entertaining and responsive media device, but it’s also a powerful laptop replacement that’s particularly effective on the go. Whether I’m on an airplane or in a coffee shop, I can quickly start up the Surface and get work done, picking up wherever I left off before. And one of the indispensable engines of that kind of productivity, it turns out, is Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage solution. And it’s about time, because cloud connectivity and productivity is perhaps the Holy Grail of the connected home.

Last year, in “Why Are We Scared of the Cloud”, I started a conversation about cloud storage, discussing the security fears that many consumers have about storage as a service. I laid out some pointers for taking the plunge into this kind of technology. One of my main points was to choose a trusted provider, a company that’s been around the block a few times. There are many young upstarts in this arena, and when it comes to the security of your data, you might not want to invest in a brand-spanking-new startup that promises to keep your stuff safe. Their promises are big, and their marketing dollars are bigger, but maybe it’s a better idea to go with a trusted entity—especially if you’re just starting out.

And what better trusted entities than some of the big boys offering cloud storage these days? Microsoft is not the only huge player in cloud storage today; there’s also such names as Apple, Amazon, and Google. But for the purpose of this article, I want to focus on my first forays into Microsoft SkyDrive cloud storage, and the convenience it brings to my own computing. (SkyDrive has been around for a while, but it has really come into its own in Windows 8, integrating fluidly with the experience.) But all of these benefits can be had, for a price, from all these other vendors, as well as some of the high-profile newcomers, such as the highly regarded DropBox.

(Read the rest at Residential AV Presents: Connected Home.)