Cloud storage has been on the move for several years. It is quickly overtaking traditional storage styles like hard drives & servers as the most popular way to keep files safe, organized, & shareable. So without further ado, let’s dive into cloud storage and the available options waiting for you.
With the big boys such as Amazon & Google getting into the cloud storage game, it makes sense that more & more businesses are turning to them for their small business cloud storage options and solutions. That being said, there are quite some available cloud storage options out there. Sure, you know the big two mentioned above, but are these the great options available?
What is Cloud Storage Service?
Cloud storage stores all your data, including files, photos, documents, 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 & operate all of these storage devices. You can store your files on these servers for a small fee. Despite being called “cloud services,” think of this sort of storage system simultaneously, you would need a physical storage unit.
You see, people & businesses rent storage units from the unit owner or owners. They can use these units to store whatever they want. Family photos, valuables, physical items, and more. That is the exact layout of cloud storage, except that we’re dealing with digital assets instead of physical or tangible goods.
Why Should You Store Data in the Cloud?
First and foremost, cloud storage is usually very safe. Apart from that, the main cause to store data in the cloud is for business file sharing. There are not many more essential things than sharing your work documents remotely with your team members or coworkers. Moreover, Business cloud services play a considerable part in online file storage, syncing, and sharing. They make it easier to accomplish all of this & more. As I stated earlier, cloud storage has become ever more popular & continues to do so.
Computer systems have been slowly but steadily moving away from a local storage setup to server-based storage & processing, also known as the cloud. Although, it is not only businesses moving more toward a cloud storage setup; consumers are directly affected.
Think about it, we now stream almost all of our video & music from servers, instead of playing them from our discs. Cloud storage enables you to keep your documents & media in the cloud, which you can then access and enjoy from any location, at any time.
Suppose you’re looking at different cloud storage options, or are starting to consider this as a valuable option. In that case, the suggestions below will help you sift through all that is available and make a solid choice when trying to find the excellent cloud storage & file-sharing services available today.
What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?
There’s quite a bit that cloud storage services can do for you. The great solutions will play very nicely with outside apps & other services. It makes the overall experience of viewing or editing your files more straightforward and more natural.
Furthermore, it is even more true in business settings. You want other software products and apps that you probably be running as part of your business to retrieve or access your files. Cloud storage provides you a way to do this, as several services such as Box & Dropbox will easily authenticate with other tools.
Additionally, the range of capabilities that come along with the best cloud storage & file-sharing services is quite incredible. While a lot of them provide certain things, they all even specialize in certain areas. It’ll help you along with the one you choose below.
For instance, cloud storage services such as 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, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive, & Microsoft OneDrive. These offer not only folder and file syncing, but even media-playing and device syncing.
Online Backup vs. Cloud Storage
Often these two get put into the same category. It should not be the case. While most cloud services do indeed provide some level of backup, it is merely a consequence of their intended function, i.e., save files for access when required.
An online backup service focuses on disaster recovery when it comes to PC hard drives and files. An excellent instance of this is Carbonite. They will sync with your machine and offer you daily backups. If anything happens to your PC, you can access all the files you’ve chosen to save in your account and reinstall them.
Both of these are the best options for backup, recovery, & saving files. However, they are usually used differently for different reasons.
Is There a Cloud?
It is where it can get confusing to some. Let’s quickly clear up any confusion. The “cloud” part of cloud storage refers to storing your files somewhere other than your PC’s hard drive.
There’s no actual cloud as you are storing your files on other servers. Having all that data in the said cloud allows you to access all those files via the Internet whenever you want to or need to.
Besides, 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 via apps & other utility software that is installed on your computer.
Best Cloud Storage Services Available
So, with all the above info in your arsenal, what are the best cloud storage and file-sharing services available today? Well, there are five that I admire and personally like right now. Below, you’ll find some info on all of them. The one you choose will be based on your setup and what you may or may not need. That being said, this will give you five excellent and top-notch cloud storage services to look at and consider.
Kicking off our list is the powerful & popular IDrive cloud storage service. It is an excellent cloud storage system that backs up your files also. It enables users to backup everything from computers, mobile, & tablets.
IDrive works well for businesses that have massive amounts of data that need to be backed up. It provides 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, & Twitter.
Moreover, 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 required.
IDrive also lets IT admins to have access to the IDrive Thin Client application. It’ll enable them to easily backup or restore, manage settings, & perform other applicable functions for their connected computers via a centralized dashboard.
Fast & spacious
Backs up 30 versions of files
Free option available
Facial recognition feature for photos
- Basic: 5GB Free
- IDrive Personal: 5TB $52.12/year, 10TB $74.62/year. One user, unlimited computers.
- IDrive Business: 250GB $74.62/year, 500GB $149.62/year, 1.25TB $374.62/year. Unlimited users, computers, & servers.
pCloud is another one of the excellent cloud storage and file-sharing services available today. One of the more quirky things about this option is that they are among the few and only on this list that offers lifetime subscriptions. That means if you go this route, you get a virtual, permanent cloud drive.
Besides, 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 even get unlimited remote upload traffic. However, you’re 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 will not ever come close to hitting them. That being said, there’s no limit to the size of files you can upload to sync all the large media files you would like.
Up to 5 devices
Offers lifetime subscription plans
Unlimited upload traffic
- Premium Annual: $47.88/year, 500GB
- Lifetime: One-time payment of $175, 500GB
- Premium Plus Annual: $95.88/year, 2TB
- Plus Lifetime: One-time payment of $350, 2TB
Zoolz is considered by most to be the best service for those individuals & businesses that are looking for unlimited everything. The product provides an easy to follow and use interface that combines with excellent web management options.
Additionally, this cloud storage company 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 enables them to offer prices that are cheaper than the competition, while at the same time having the ability to add more features such as instant search or data policies.
For businesses looking for all the data & storage they can handle, Zoolz provides a 100TB package that costs as little as $500/month if you book it for 60 months (5 years).
You can even step this up by using their service called “BigMind.” It adds a layer of artificial intelligence, primarily for image discovery & facial recognition.
100TB package available
- 1TB: $14.99/month
- 2TB: $29.99/month
- 5TB: $74.99/month
4. Google Drive
The main thing when folks think Google Drive is that they think, free storage. While they have an excellent option for free storage, they even have better-paid options for you to dig into.
Great different features are made available to you by Google Drive via “One.” It is what ties everything into Google’s Cloud platform. You can even use a companion app like Google Photos to store unlimited high definition photos on your phone.
Moreover, Google Drive is a well-known and trendy cloud storage option because it provides many options and is easily accessible for most people. Besides, 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
G Suite integration
Affordable paid tiers available
- Free storage option available
- 2TB Tier: $99/year
5. Microsoft OneDrive
As is the case with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive will be great for anyone dedicated to using all of Microsoft’s services. For instance, it’ll easily integrate with Microsoft Outlook, which is their top-notch email service.
They even provide a very generous amount of free cloud storage space for users. Not that 5GB is overwhelming, but it is a substantial amount for free. Besides, you can quickly increase the amount of space to 100GB for a relatively low cost.
There’s a storage capacity limit of 6TB. But if you’re using that much space for something, then you can probably afford more. You’ll 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/month, 6TB of storage up to 6 people
- Personal Option: $6.99/month, 1TB of storage
- Office, Home, & Student Option: One-time purchase $149.99
If you’re wondering for a reliable cloud storage solution, you’ll 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 such as:
- Saving Money
- Creating Backups
- Accessing Files From Anywhere
- Security Flexible Storage
IDrive made it to number one on this list. Although, if that does not suit you, then take a glance at the other options. There’s sure to be one that is perfect for what you need.