Five years ago, if you would have asked your friends what they thought about cloud storage, most would have replied nonchalantly that they hardly needed it. Cut to 2016, and now it is unthinkable that important documents should not have a cloud backup.
In the ever-expanding market of paid and free cloud storage systems, find out which provider has it in them to make it to our list of top ten. These cloud storage services are good to use on multiple platforms, including your computer, smartphone, tablet as well as other supported devices.
For most average users, Google Drive is the go-to drive for all their personal file storage and backup. With 15GB of free data storage available on Google’s secure cloud servers, users have the option of choosing between collaborative projects, sharing and editing documents real-time.
The several associated apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, Forms and Drawings with full functionality features from Google helps in effective file management and editing. Those with more hardcore requirements also have the option of purchasing additional storage from one of two packs: 100GB at $1.99/month, or 1TB at $9.99/month.
Most businesses and universities are aware of DropBox, the online cloud-based system which enables cloud-sharing features with convenient “Folders” and 2GB free storage. DropBox for Business provides added features like admin controls, remote data wiping, account transfer tools, password-protected link systems, etc.
In general, it also enables file sharing, updating, and editing. Safeguard features include the option to restore previous versions in case files are accidentally deleted, which is beneficial especially when sharing amongst large groups. Photos, documents and videos may all be shared conveniently through DropBox, and there’s also an option to increase storage by sharing invites, or by purchasing additional storage.
One of the latest additions to the Microsoft platform is OneDrive, which enables automatic backups from any Windows machine to the Microsoft account-connected Drive. It is a secure storage facility for files, pictures and videos. There is a limit of 10GB file size, and 15GB free storage space, although additional data storage may be purchased (1TB for each of 5 users at just $6.99/month).
The feature that is most important with regards to OneDrive is its intrinsic Office platform that makes it compatible with the most widely-used document suite in today’s market. Plus, with every purchase of 1Tb storage space, a Microsoft Office 365 bundle is included.
Apple iCloud Drive
Apple’s cloud server game is strong, with the Apple iCloud drive being the preferred platform of choice for most iOS users. While it is the most expensive of the cloud storage mediums, it lacks support for Android users and is thereby an exclusive platform only for Apple customers. There’s free storage worth 5GB and file limits of 15GB, but additional storage may be purchased online at $0.99/month for 50GB, $2.99 for 200GB, and $9.99 for 1TB.
HighTail specializes in e-signatures and e-deliveries, making it a unique offering for most users looking for cloud storage and communication facilities. With a free account, users get only a 250MB file-sharing ability and 2GB storage space, but most people prefer upgrading to a 10GB professional account for $15.99/month. While this is not the cheapest option on the market, there’s a reason it is compatible with most businesses: there’s an app for businesses that makes it easy to share cross-platform files, and an audit tail is built up automatically in the process. Enterprise users also get additional support.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive is a surprising entry to the list, especially since it is not the most commonly known of these platforms. However, it packs in a punch by delivering unlimited storage facilities for any kind of file at all: be it pictures, music or documents. Secure storage under the “Unlimited Everything” plan comes for $59.99/year, which is a good bargain considering the prices from its competitors.
Photographers can benefit from the “Unlimited Photo” plan that allows unlimited photographs, plus 5GB video/other document storage at just $11.99/year. ACD works on multiple platforms that enables most users to carry their documents with them, no matter where.
When it comes to cloud storage services, Box is a great and reliable platform that provides businesses with additional security. Managing and sharing files is made easy across platforms, and centralized control is provided for administrators. Box also complies with international business standards such as SOC 1 and SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI, FINRA 17a-4. It is integrated with most of the commonly used apps and productivity tools, including Office, IBM, Google, etc.
There’s a 14 day risk-free trial, beyond which customers can opt for a $6/month (Personal), $17/month/user (Business) or Premier Enterprise account.
One of the earliest players in the game is MediaShare, and it is more commonly used as a personal platform for hosting and sharing photos and videos. Free membership features include file sharing, free personal website, online storage starting at 1GB, contact books and invitation options.
There are plugins available for seamless integration with MovieMaker, while the Pro option enables better security for users. Plans may be extended to allow unlimited storage for users, but that comes at an additional cost.
This is one of the few services that offer encrypted data storage facilities for businesses, which is crucial in an age where data theft is a global phenomenon. It enables collaborations on multiple platforms and devices, including iOS, Blackberry, Windows and Android.
It provides the option of “Unsending” emails if required, which is an added bonus for most users. It offers Swiss privacy and EU Data centers for the complete safety and security of digital content, and comes in multiple packages including a 10€ / month (1user) plan, a 20€ / month (2-4user) plan, and custom pricing options for more than 50 users.
Copy Cloud Services
Copy provides cloud services that are free from file size restrictions, thus becoming one of the few to do so. It provides 15GB free storage, with the option of earning additional free storage, besides offering paid plans at $5/month (250GB) and $10/month (1TB).
It works on multiple platforms, including Linux, which is worth noticing. Copy makes it easy to sync files across computers, multiple-user support, backup and restore facilities, etc. The only flipside to it is the lack of personal encryption systems, but that is forgiven considering the amount of free storage it provides.
These are just some of our personal favorites, and provide a mix of features for both home and business users. Because of the very nature and scope of these products, there’s always something for everyone.