Best Cloud Storage – 10 Greatest Heavyweight Platforms
Dropbox released its cloud storage service in 2007, and the Internet’s transformations back then have redefined how everyone, from students to government agencies, stash, process, and create on the web.
Cloud technology has changed digital efficiency in almost all markets, with significant jumps starting in 2012. By then, just 53% of businesses were using the cloud, compared to this day, where 93% of companies are adopting the technology. But what exactly is the cloud storage, and what is the best solution?
The following rows will explain everything you need to know.
What is Cloud Storage?
It’s a model of computer data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools. The physical storage covers multiple servers, and the physical environment is owned and maintained by a hosting company.
This term refers to the ability to garner data and software packages on servers located in remote facilities instead of locally. The Internet becomes the main channel between the remote servers and the end-users, utilizing the cloud storage provider’s online file backup services.
How It Works?
Cloud storage services operate as a system of connected data servers conjointly employed to share and access the files across devices. As we said, cloud storage providers own and manage the offsite servers that create this network at their data centers. You can upload files to the servers and access your cloud data through the website, mobile app, or desktop app.
There are 3 main cloud-based storage architecture types: public, private, and hybrid.
- Public – It delivers a multi-user storage environment that’s most appropriate for unstructured data. Files are stashed in global data centers spread across multiple areas or continents. You’ll generally pay on a per-use model similar to the utility payment basis;
- Private – This on-premises storage service gives a dedicated environment guarded behind an organization’s firewall. Private clouds are appropriate for people who need customization and more control over their files;
- Hybrid – This model is a combination of private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with synchronization between the platforms for management. It offers businesses flexibility and more data deployment choices. A company might, for instance, store actively used/structured data in an on-premises cloud, and unstructured/archival data in a public cloud.
There are myriad reasons why individual users and organizations turn to cloud storage as their preferred solution. Some of the chief advantages of these systems are:
- Loads of space – When you use it, you’re no longer limited by the internal storage capacity of your PC or device. Instead, your provider manages these concerns for you, and you can scale your space up/down depending on whether your business or personal needs to execute your data change;
- Data protection – Due to the redundancy problem mentioned above, even if your computer system or software fails, you don’t need to worry when you have your crucial information backed up by this system. You can easily access a backup copy of your data from the cloud even when your originals are missing or damaged;
- Flexibility – From easy file sharing to cross-device support, these platforms provide plentiful flexibility. It means teams can work from anywhere—on any type of device or computer—and still get access to stored documents;
- Collaboration – This high grade of flexibility enables coworkers to collaborate on projects seamlessly. So, for example, if a team is using office software to create or modify documents together, the providers wipe out typical headaches of remote work like wondering if users are working from different versions of a document;
- Cost savings – Many folks turn to this method when they realize how much money could be saving through a cloud option. It eliminates the expense of maintaining in-house servers. Through outsourcing data storage to a third party, businesses can make considerable savings in both hardware and maintenance costs.
How to Choose Cloud Storage?
Here’re several core factors to consider before buying this service.
- Capacity – Clearly, you’ll need as much storage as you have data, plus a little or possibly a lot more if you need to track changes and save previous files’ versions. Some solutions keep multiple versions of data, some don’t. In many cases there’s a time limit;
- Cost – Almost all online storage services are charged for a maximum allowable amount of data, and generally, uploads are free;
- Features – Besides storage, you may want to share the files with other people, work with data from mobile devices, or edit them with office applications. If you intend to work offline, it’s recommended to maintain a local copy as a backup, and a hedge against Internet downtime;
- Privacy – If you’re concerned about the confidentiality of your data, ensure you use a service that enables the use of a personal encryption key that you define. Don’t lose it, as it’s absolutely needed to restore your data;
- Reliability – Data centers are backed up to the hilt, and some of the larger ones even back up to different geographical areas. 24/7 availability can also be critical. However, all the high-quality services are near-100% reliable;
- Speed – Speed in many events is much more dependent upon your broadband connection than the speed of the online service. Still, the geographical location of the storage and the equipment in between can make a huge difference. Inspect the location of the data servers if speed is crucial to you;
- Device/OS support – Most platforms include client backup software for the major operating systems such as Windows, OS X, and Linux, as well as iOS and Android. Be sure the service you sign up for supports your entire collection of computers and devices.
What is the Best Cloud Storage Service?
Storing your essential data, photos, videos, music, and documents in a cloud is a superb method to ensure that you always have easy access to the files without filling up the local storage on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
With so many different solutions now available, it can be tough deciding which one is the #1 for your specific needs. Therefore, we’ve picked out the 10 best cloud storage solutions available on the market.
1. Dropbox – Best Cloud Storage for Photos
For such a famous name, Dropbox doesn’t do itself any favors with just 2GB of free storage allowance, one of the least generous offers around. Still, there’re many ways to gather up additional such as – completing the starting guide (250 MB), referring family, friend, or coworkers to the service (500MB per referral, up to 16GB), and contributing to the Dropbox Community forum (1GB).
Once you get past that initial downside, Dropbox reveals some nifty tricks. For example, Dropbox Paper is a collaborative tool that lets seamless sharing files between different users and syncs the photos to the cloud automatically via the desktop app.
Furthermore, you can request users to upload directly to your Dropbox account with the File Requests module and edit files without downloading when working via the web version.
The solution also features serious flexibility with a host of mobile and desktop apps that involve all the regulars and also platforms like Kindle and Linux. This enables access to your storage platform from practically any device, followed by a wide range of supported third-party applications and services.
- Encryption security;
- Extend storage capability;
- Easy accessing and sharing files;
- Tool availability;
- Adds comments to files;
- Share screenshots promptly;
- Apply selective sync to save space;
- Backs up all pictures.
2. pCloud – Best Cloud Storage for Videos
pCloud’s lifetime premium subscriptions offer you either 500GB or 2TB of online storage for a quite reasonable one-off payment – after all how many companies from just 10 years ago are still around today. Still, this looks like a great deal for users.
With no visible limit to the file sizes you can upload, this platform is an excellent option for sharing huge media files, and it includes a built-in video player/streaming, and an audio player complete with playlists.
For your serenity, this service hosts 5 copies of all your files via different servers, applying 256-bit AES encryption. For a tiny extra monthly payment, you can also use pCloud Crypto, allowing you to password-protect your data.
- Data security;
- Client-side encryption;
- Project collaboration.
- Multiple file-sharing options.
- File history/backup/management;
- Access and synchronization;
- Pay with bitcoin;
- Quick file sync;
- Multimedia playback.
3. Google Drive – Best Free Cloud Storage
For both personal and professional tasks, Google Drive is the natural go-to platform for plenty of Android and G Suite users, thanks to flawless integration and versatility.
You can use Google’s office suite to create and keep documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more, and also store your mobile-based high-quality images by Google Photos.
Also, the platform is the ideal tool for collaborating on documents, as anyone with access can make changes in real-time. Even though you can’t actually edit videos, you can still leave comments, which is a useful feature when working on creative projects.
The ample 15GB of free storage will also appeal to users of other platforms as well, even if the web interface is somewhat unsatisfactorily performed and not as user-friendly as elsewhere. Anyway, native clients allow Mac and Windows users to execute file storage by drag-and-drop easier.
- Works offline;
- Restores previous versions;
- Scans documents with Android phone;
- Locates images and PDFs by their text;
- Streams your videos from the drive;
- Converts images and PDFs to Docs;
- One-tap phone backup;
- Back up a folder on Mac or PC.
4. Microsoft OneDrive
Since OneDrive (5GB of free storage) is embedded into Windows 10’s File Explorer, you don’t need to download an additional application – it’s there to use out of the box, which is very handy for those who have made the jump to the newest operating system.
As a Microsoft platform, the solution works closely with Microsoft Office and Office 365 suite, which is rather fruitful if you’re looking to increase productivity.
Its Photos app can also use OneDrive to synchronize pictures across all your devices. Since late March, Autodesk AutoCAD has been integrated with OneDrive, which is good news for folks using the software’s drafting tools.
Plus, you get a feature called Personal Vault, which provides you with an extra layer of protection. There’s an app for iOS and Android devices, and there’s even one in the App Store for Mac people.
You can upgrade the available storage to 50GB for $2 per month, but the best deal is an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, which includes 1TB of storage for up to 5 users.
- Adapts video playback to Internet speed;
- Saves notebooks;
- Edit Office docs online simultaneously;
- Browse animated GIFs and search for text in photos;
- Online viewing for Office documents;
- Upload multimedia from mobile devices;
- Create and share folders;
- Automatic camera roll backup.
IDrive (5GB of free storage) provides continuous syncing of your data, even those on network drives. The web interface supports sharing files via email, Twitter, and Facebook. Click-happy or cautious technophiles will be pleased to hear that files deleted from the PC aren’t permanently deleted from the server, so there’s less danger of removing something pivotal by accident. Up to 30 previous versions of all data backed to your account are preserved.
For photos, you’ll have a neat facial recognition capability that automatically organizes them along with syncing them via all the linked devices. It also offers IDrive Express, which sends you a physical hard disk drive if you lose all your data, letting for the quick restoration of all your backed up files.
A business version offers priority support, single sign-on, and unlimited users/server backup. Moreover, IDrive Cloud, an enterprise-level cloud object storage is also available.
- Cloud backup;
- Multiple device backup;
- Multi-device compatible;
- Social media backup;
- Open/locked files backup;
- Mapped/external drives backup;
- Automated backup;
- Remote computer backup.
- Supports multiple operating systems.
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If you want to back up iPhone to iCloud, you’ll need more than the free 5GB allowance this brand gives you, but compared to others, iCloud prices are very competitive.
The Mac Finder app integrates iCloud, where you can stash any files you want. Documents made in the iWork office suite are also saved to iCloud and can sync across your devices. Windows users can also synchronize their files with iCloud Drive by the official client, and access the iWork applications on the iCloud website.
Another great feature is, unlike many other cloud backup services, iDrive doesn’t lock you down to a single PC. You can use one account to back up your macOS and Windows desktops, Android smartphones, iPhones and tablets, and network drives.
- Cross-platform capability;
- Worldwide access;
- Video streaming;
- Reasonable fee;
- Easy to use;
- Quick backup.
- Real-time device syncing;
- iCloud keychain.
Box currently seems to be pushing its Business tiers as clicking ‘sign up’ leads you to the cloud storage pricing page, where for $15 by the user, you can benefit from advanced collaboration solutions and unlimited cloud storage. But there is a 10GB free option, also.
It’s supported by a number of native apps such as Office 365 and Google Docs. The service is also integrated with G-Suite, which means Docs, Sheets, and Slides are automatically saved and managed in this platform. Plus, it comes with AutoCAD.
Its sync client feature is available from the downloads page for Windows/Mac, and there’s also an official Android client.
This solution excels at data encryption and file privacy. You’ll have full read/write permissions control across your files and directories. Additionally, you can connect Box to several business apps, including NetSuite and Salesforce.
- Seamless document sharing;
- Setting permissions for secured file-sharing;
- Easy collaboration
- Flawless offline syncing
- Integration with other apps
- Privacy and compliance;
- Data protection;
- Compatibility with all browsers.
With a generous 50GB of free space and a simple drag-and-drop interface, Mega is one of the leaders in the industry. There’s a cool mobile app that enables you to upload files and photos, as well as sync clients with desktops. The brand also has business tailored plans.
The company claims that all data stored in its cloud is encrypted on your device before it reaches their servers. As the Mega has launched the source code to its sync client, experts can check that there’re no vulnerabilities.
This solution lets you keep files using an encrypted connection and maintain control via your encryption key. That efficiently prevents others, including the provider, from scanning your content. Also, the sync client is open-source and open to vulnerability inspections, further adding to an already secure cloud storage platform.
- You can instantly access 50 GB of free space once you sign up for the service;
- Downloading multiple files/folders in the form of a zip file;
- Sharing of files and folders with the public;
- Uploading of files from the mobile app is possible;
- Pausing uploads are supported;
- It has good speed;
- Encrypted link sharing.
Sync integrates with devices easily and shows itself as a folder on your OS. From there, files can be saved to the cloud and shared readily with both clients and colleagues alike.
For sharing, it’s good to note that all you will need to provide is a link to the file or folder you need to share – your coworker doesn’t need a Sync account to access it. Individual users get the short end of the stick with accounts at $10 per month, but this platform really is made for businesses in mind.
It also offers unlimited data transfer, and the system has an application for all devices, meaning you can access all the videos while on the go.
Companies can benefit from lower price-per-user packages, which come with administrative management tools that will allow you to manage all accounts from the central console. It includes adding/removing users, checking activity logs, resetting passwords, and more.
- No credit card required;
- Earn up to 25 GB for storage space by referring your friends;
- Sharing and collaboration included;
- File version history and deleted file recovery;
- Vault storage;
- Free apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and the web;
- End-to-end encryption, no third-party tracking;
- Fast email support and customer service;
- Access your files from anywhere.
10. NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN212 – Best Personal Cloud Storage
This is a 2Bay diskless personal cloud network-attached storage (NAS), which is compatible with desktop and mobile apps. RN212 ($999.00) has a 12TB capacity of NAS and runs on a 1.4GHz Quad-Core Processor with 2GB RAM.
Its processor features 200MB/s read, and 160MB/s write speeds, plus supports SATA/SSD drives with the maximum storage capacity of 16TBs.
- You can share individual folders with users without gaining access to other files;
- Quad-core Cortex A15 1.4GHz processor with 2GB of RAM;
- Great desktop app for complete file syncing and automatic backup;
- Dual-gigabit Ethernet;
- Ready CLOUD portal-based user interface and app on PC, Mac, smartphones, and tablets;
- 3 years warranty on chassis.
As you can see, the best cloud storage should offer the space you need, on the operating system you use, at a price you’re ready to pay. It must be easy to use/navigate so you’ll be able to dive right in without having a crash course in the basic use of the solution.