Cloud storage has been on the move for several years. It is quickly overtaking more traditional storage styles like hard drives and servers as the most popular way to keep files safe, organized, and shareable. Let’s dive into cloud storage and the available options you have waiting for you.
With the big boys like Amazon and Google getting into the cloud storage game, it makes a lot of sense that more and more businesses are turning to them for their small business cloud storage options and solutions.
That being said, there are actually quite a few available cloud storage options out there. Sure, you know the big two mentioned above, but are these actually the best options available?
Hang on, we will get to that.
What is a Cloud Storage Service?
Cloud storage stores all your files, documents, photos, videos, and other digital assets on a series of physical offsite servers known as “the cloud.” A business that hosts servers will own this setup and operate all of these storage devices. You are able to store your files on these servers for a small fee.
Despite being called “cloud services,” think of this type of storage system in the same way you would a physical storage unit.
You see, people and businesses rent storage units from the unit owner or owners. They can use these units to store whatever they want. Family photos, physical items, valuables, and more.
That is the exact layout of cloud storage, except for the fact that we are dealing with digital assets instead of physical or tangible goods.
Why Should You Store Data in the Cloud?
Well, first and foremost, cloud storage is usually very safe. Aside from that, the main reason to store data in the cloud is for business file sharing. There are not many things that are more important than being able to share your work documents remotely with your team members or coworkers.
Business cloud services play a huge part in the process of online file storage, syncing, and sharing. They make it easier to accomplish all of this and more. As I stated in the first paragraph, cloud storage has become ever more popular and continues to do so.
Computer systems have been slowly but steadily moving away from a local storage setup, to server-based storage and processing, which is also known as the cloud. However, it is not only businesses that are moving more toward a cloud storage setup, consumers are directly affected as well.
Think about it, we now stream almost all of our video and music from servers, instead of playing them from our discs. Cloud storage allows you (consumer) to keep your documents and media in the cloud, which you can then access and enjoy from any location, at any time.
If you are looking at different cloud storage options, or are starting to consider this as a valuable option, then the suggestions below will help you sift through all that is available and make a solid choice when it comes to trying to find the best cloud storage and file-sharing services that are available today.
What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?
There is actually quite a bit that cloud storage services can do for you. The very best solutions will play very nicely with outside apps and other services. This makes the overall experience of viewing or editing your files easier and more natural.
This is even more true in business settings. You want other software products and apps that you may be running as part of your business to be able to retrieve or access your files. Cloud storage gives you a way to do this, as several services like Box and Dropbox will easily authenticate with other tools.
Furthermore, the range of capabilities that come along with the best cloud storage and file-sharing services is actually quite incredible. While a lot of them offer certain things, they all also specialize in certain areas.
This will help you along with the one you choose below.
For example, cloud storage services like Dropbox and SugarSync focus on keeping synced folders everywhere. Others, like SpiderOak, focus more on the security aspect of things.
And then you have the generalists, like Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. These offer not only folder and file syncing, but also media-playing and device syncing.
Online Backup vs Cloud Storage
Oftentimes these two get put into the same category. This should not be the case. While most cloud services do indeed offer some level of backup, it is only a consequence of their intended function, i.e. save files for access when needed.
An online backup service actually focuses on disaster recovery when it comes to computer hard drives and files. A good example of this is Carbonite. They will sync with your machine and provide you daily backups. If anything happens to your computer, you can access all the files you have chosen to save in your account and reinstall them.
Both of these are great options for backup, recovery, and saving files. However, they are usually used in a different way, for different reasons.
Is There Really a Cloud?
This is where it can get confusing to some. Let’s quickly clear up any confusion. The “cloud” part of cloud storage is referring to storing your files somewhere other than your computer’s hard drive.
There is no actual cloud, as you are storing your files on other servers. Having all that data in said cloud gives you the ability to access all those files through the Internet whenever you want to or need to.
Your data is encrypted before it makes any journeys to other servers, and while in transit to those servers, it is also encrypted. You can access your files through apps and other utility software that is installed on your computer.
The Best Cloud Storage Services Available
Kicking off our list is the powerful and popular IDrive cloud storage service. It is an excellent cloud storage system that backs up your files as well. Matter of fact, it allows users to backup everything from computers, mobile, and tablets.
IDrive works well for businesses that have massive amounts of data that need to be backed up. It offers continuous syncing of your files, even the ones on network drives. It also has an easy to use interface that supports sharing files by email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Backing up files is its specialty, as up to 30 previous versions of all files backed to your account are retained for you to access if needed.
IDrive also allows IT admins to have access to the IDrive Thin Client application. This allows them to easily backup and/or restore, manage settings, and perform other applicable functions for all their connected computers via a centralized dashboard.
- Fast and spacious
- Easy to use interface
- Good security
- Backs up 30 versions of files
- Free option available
- Unlimited devices
- Facial recognition feature for photos
- IDrive Express
- Basic: 5GB Free
- IDrive Personal: 5TB $52.12 per year, 10TB $74.62 per year. One user, unlimited computers.
- IDrive Business: 250GB $74.62 per year, 500GB $149.62 per year, 1.25TB $374.62 per year. Unlimited users, computers, and servers.
pCloud is another one of the best cloud storage and file-sharing services available today. One of the more unique things about this option is that they are one of the few, and the only one on this list, that offers lifetime subscriptions. What this means is that if you go this route, you get a virtual, permanent cloud drive.
It has a very user-friendly interface that shows you where everything is and what all the functions do. The service comes with a 30-day trash history, so if you need something back, you have a month to access it after you delete it.
You also get unlimited remote upload traffic. However, you are limited in download traffic to 500GB for the premium package and 2TB for the premium package plus every month. Which should be more than enough.
There are some bandwidth limits in place, but you probably won’t ever come close to hitting them. That being said, there is no limit to the size of files you can upload, so you can sync all the large media files you would like.
- Elegant interface
- Easy to use
- Up to 5 devices
- Offers lifetime subscription plans
- Unlimited upload traffic
- Premium Annual: $47.88 per year, 500GB
- Lifetime: One-time payment of $175, 500GB
- Premium Plus Annual: $95.88 per year, 2TB
- Plus Lifetime: One-time payment of $350, 2TB
Zoolz is considered by most to be the best service for those individuals and businesses that are looking for unlimited everything. The product offers an easy to follow and use interface that combines with excellent web management options.
This cloud storage company actually uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure to deliver a solid price-to-performance ratio for all those interested parties.
By doing things this way, it allows them to offer prices that are cheaper than the competition, while at the same time having the ability to add more features like instant search or data policies.
For businesses looking for all the data and storage they can handle, Zoolz actually offers a 100TB package that costs as little as $500 per month if you book it for 60 months (5 years).
You can also step this up by using their service called “BigMind.” This adds a layer of artificial intelligence, primarily for image discovery and facial recognition.
- File versioning
- Very affordable
- Easy to use
- Hybrid backup
- 100TB package available
- GDPR/HIPAA compliance
- 1TB: $14.99 per month
- 2TB: $29.99 per month
- 5TB: $74.99 per month
4. Google Drive
The main thing when people think Google Drive is that they think, free storage. While they do have a very nice option for free storage, they also have some even better paid options for you to dig into.
Lots of different features are made available to you by Google Drive via “One.” This is what ties everything into Google’s Cloud platform. You can also use a companion app like Google Photos to store unlimited high definition photos on your mobile phone.
Google Drive is a well-known and very popular option for cloud storage because they offer a lot of options and is easily accessible for most people. Plus, most of us are already using something tied to Google and their other services, so integrating Google Drive is another logical step.
- Very generous amount of free storage
- Android integration
- G Suite integration
- Companion apps
- Affordable paid tiers available
- Free storage option available
- 2TB Tier: $99 per year
5. Microsoft OneDrive
As is the case with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive will be perfect for anyone who is dedicated to using all of Microsoft’s services. For example, it will easily integrate with Microsoft Outlook, which is their very popular email service.
They also provide a very generous amount of free cloud storage space for users as well. Not that 5GB is overwhelming, but it is a very solid amount for free. Plus, you can easily increase the amount of space to 100GB for a relatively low cost.
There is a storage capacity limit of 6TB. But if you are using that much space for something, then you can probably afford more. You will be able to use this on up to 30 devices and it rounds out our list of the best cloud storage and file-sharing services that are available right now.
- Very generous amount of free storage
- Comes with Microsoft 365
- Edit files online without downloading them
- Up to 30 devices
- Integrates with other Microsoft products
- Family Option: $9.99 per month, 6TB of storage up to 6 people
- Personal Option: $6.99 per month, 1TB of storage
- Office, Home, & Student Option: One-time purchase $149.99
There you have it, our list of the 5 best cloud storage and file-sharing services that are available to you right now.
If you are looking for a solid cloud storage solution, then you will be in good hands with any of the options above. It will make more sense to invest in cloud storage services when it comes to things like:
- Saving Money
- Creating Backups
- Accessing Files From Anywhere
- Flexible Storage
IDrive made it to number 1 on this list. However, if that doesn’t suit you, then take a look at the other options. There is sure to be one that is perfect for what you need.