Over time, cloud storage services have successfully managed to grab lots of eyeballs from different types of industries. The phenomenon has been around for quite some time now. It is so wide spread nowadays that approaching cloud service providers is the first thing most businesses opt for whenever data storage is in question.
As evident from statistics, 90% of the companies in US have planned to increase their budgets for cloud computing. No wonder, it’s gaining popularity by the day.
When talking about cloud, there are many concerns that pop in one’s mind. One of them being, the best cloud storage provider out there. Many different tools consider themselves to be the most suitable option for online data storage, but we know there’s no one size fits all.
In addition, when searching online, you’re swamped with a multitude of best cloud storage options which leave you more perplexed than ever. Furthermore, the high price tags associated with them act as the last nail in the coffin.
So, what exactly can you do to select the best free cloud service provider for you?
Well, for starters the right way to pick the best online storage is to weigh in the advantages, formulate an evaluation criterion, and then choose the cloud storage solution that fits rightly with your needs.
Sounds like a lot of work?
Fret not, as yours truly has done it for you!
First things first, let’s see how cloud storage facilities can benefit you:
Advantages of Cloud Storage
1. Cost Saving
Investing in a cloud storage service has a clear advantage over not having one. Moving your crucial data to cloud will save you from the hassle of hard disks and operating costs of storing it all in-house. You wouldn’t want to sign up for your precious resources to be used up like this.
Storing your data on cloud adds that extra layer of protection you need the most. In-house data storage makes you vulnerable to security breach and can make data accessibility easy for everyone. This is why you need to go extra miles to save your data, and cloud is your answer.
3. Automatic Synchronization
Cloud makes automatic data updates and synchronizations whenever any changes are made. These updates are done across all the affiliated files and devices, saving you time and energy.
4. Data Recovery
The biggest advantage of cloud service providers is the backup and data recovery they offer. In case anything goes wrong, or you’re at a risk of data loss, cloud can save your day. At any given time, you can always access the cloud and retrieve whatever information you need.
Another one of the important advantages of cloud is the level of flexibility it comes with. Almost all of the cloud service providers come with the option of pay as you grow. You just need to pay for the amount of storage you use – and ask for more in case your requirements change over time.
The story doesn’t end here. When you go into the nitty-gritty, you unveil a whole lot of other advantages too which might not be very apparent in a tool. Accessibility at all times being one of it.
Now moving on to the other side of the coin – the evaluation criterion.
If you ask me, I would rate a service on the basis of type and quality of features offered, alongside the price tag. But, there are many other critical factors that need to be kept in mind while making the decision.
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So, what are some of the essential features a best cloud storage provider must offer in order to shine? Let’s address them one by one;
Essential Features a Cloud Storage Solution Should Provide:
1. Automatic Backup
Undeniably, the automatic data backup feature tops the list for me. As much as data storage is the primary concern of cloud storage, the automatic backup acts as cherry on top. You might notice that there are many cloud service providers which ask you to save the data manually.
Let’s admit nobody’s got the time to manually transfer data to cloud specifically for backup purposes. Hence, the ability to automatically activate backup of critical information, along with seamless accessibility can make or break a deal. Get to know the best HR software solutions.
2. File Synchronization
Ok this might seem like an obvious feature, but trust me when I say this – it holds great significance. Automatic file syncing quite literally takes the burden off of your shoulders and up in the cloud (pun intended).
Luckily, for most of the cloud storage providers, it is an automatic feature. You can also pick and choose the particular folders you want to sync. It also enables you to access your files from all the linked devices at any time you want.
3. Top-notch Privacy Settings
Top notch security is what one must seek for when searching best cloud storage. In all honesty, privacy breach and data vulnerability is something we’re all too familiar with (Does the word Facebook rings a bell?).
This is exactly why advanced security settings hold a special place in the cloud of my heart.
In my quest for finding the best cloud storage, I discreetly observed that each solution comes with a security setting of its own. It would be unfair to pen down a specific kind merely on the basis of my observations.
So, the kind of security best suited would essentially depend on what you require. Inherently, the sensitivity or the level of confidentiality determines the level of privacy needed.
Before we dive into the list of best cloud storage services you can pick, let’s have a quick rundown of best live chat software.
- Massive Storage Space
- Automatic File Synchronization
- Free for Up To 15 GB Storage Space
- Backup Support
- In-app Collaboration
- Integration with G-suite Apps
- Offline Access
- Powerful Search
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Google Photos Sync
- Integrations with Third-Party Apps
- No password protection for shared access
- No private encryption option available
Once you sign up, you’re provided with free 15GB storage space – no terms and conditions. Also, pay as your storage needs grow. Pretty great, right? However, the biggest drawback of the service is the absence of a powerful security model. As much as the accessibility is convenient, it also opens door to many privacy concerns and makes the data vulnerability higher.
- File storage and file syncing across multiple devices
- Access to files from multiple devices at one time
- Files and folder sharing for collaboration
- Docs, sheets, and slides tools for team communication
- Migration tool for quickly transferring data to drive
- Web, mobile, and desktop accessibility for keeping track at all times
- Automatic Back-Up
- File Storage and Syncing
- Large Files Sharing
- Offline Accessibility
- File Preview and Download
- Data Back up and File Recovery
- Link-sharing via Email
- Supports Collaboration
- Action History
- Meager free storage
- Expensive compared to alternatives
Although Dropbox became a victim of security breach in 2012, it is still considered as one of the well reputed cloud storage providers. Mainly because of the lucrative suite of storage options and collaboration capabilities it comes with.
You do not need a fancy skillset to understand the tool. Just download the app and after the initial setting up, you’re good to go! Having said that, Dropbox is pretty minimalistic and doesn’t over-complicate things just for the sake of it. It comes with features that work for both individuals and teams. Get to know free online notepads.
Dropbox cannot take the shout for the prices though. A – they’re not very competitive, B – the meager 2GB free storage doesn’t really steal the limelight.
- File recovery and version history for quick restoring
- Two-factor authentication for accessing account
- Multiple collaboration tools to communicate with teams
- Smart sync for accessing all your files from desktop
- Powerful text search for files
- Single sign on integrations for maximum privacy
- Free Plan Available
- Direct Integration with Windows
- Personal Identity Verification
- Password Protected Link Sharing
- Automatic Backup and Sync of Files
- Offline Access to Files/Folders
- Clean and Clutter Free Interface
- Documents Scanning Capabilities
- Office 365 Integration
- Third-Party Application Integrations
- Small storage space in free plan
- Advanced security settings are available for Premium plans
OneDrive takes home the Apps Ranked award for best productivity and collaboration tools offered. It connects seamlessly with other Microsoft products, including Office 365, Skype, and Outlook. This integration allows the tool to edit and transfer files conveniently – making it a handy solution for team collaboration. If you search for the best CRM software get to know the top best CRM software.
My concern with OneDrive is the same as Dropbox. The barely sufficient 5GB free storage space. Though it beats Dropbox, but this cloud storage provider still needs lots of catching up to reach Google Drive’s level of generosity.
- Secure file sharing within and outside the organization
- Shared files access, along with password protection enabled
- Links expiration date to provide access for a defined time period
- Automatic PC folder sync and backup to your OneDrive
- Editing capabilities for PDFs and Word files even on mobile
- Two-factor authentication and encryption to ensure privacy
- Built-in iOS and Mac Devices
- Slick and Modern Interface
- Daily Backups and Version Restore
- Real-Time Device Syncing
- Calendar and Email Sync
- Family Sharing Tool
- Lost iPhone Locator
- Secure File and Document Sharing
- Compatibility with Windows
- Integrations with other Apple Platforms
- No Android App
- Limited Free Storage
- May frustrate advanced users
If you’re someone from the Apple’s consumer base, iCloud is for you to try – if you haven’t already. Although this cloud storage comes with a little biased approach towards service availability, it’s worth giving a shot.
The built-in cloud storage approach gives it the leverage that Dropbox and OneDrive don’t enjoy. The modern and refreshing interface further adds bonus marks.
You can consider iCloud to be one of the cheapest cloud storage services available online. It’s worth mentioning here though that the minimalistic approach might make it unsuitable for users who’re looking for a robust feature set.
- Secure file saving and organizing across devices
- File sharing through private links
- Automatic Mail, Contacts, and Calendar sync functionality
- Integration with collaboration tools, including Numbers and Pages
- Automatic backup of data to free you from the worries of data loss
- Two-factor authentication for an added layer of security
- Simple Interface
- Flat Learning Curve
- Easy to Set Up
- Direct Links for Files
- Password Protected Files
- Availability on Multiple Platforms
- Weak security features
- No folder uploading
- No automatic file sync
- Free version comes with ads
- No desktop apps
- No collaboration tools available
If having extremely simple cloud storage been one of your focuses, MediaFire serves the purpose pretty nicely. Don’t get discouraged by the list of cons above. Although it may deter you, the service is as basic as it can get. Making it a perfect choice for beginners.
Another plus point is the availability of the service on multiple platforms, including Blackberry and Apple TV. It has affordable pricing too which comes in tier of two – Business and Pro.
A deeper analysis of this cloud service reveals that it can work perfectly for users who’re not particularly amused by strong capabilities of a tool. For example; the mobile app automatically backs up photos and videos, making it favorable for people who like taking lots of pictures.
- Folder links to download them directly
- Bulk download for downloading multiple items at one time
- One-time links to limit access for everyone
- Files and folders sharing through email, website, or social media
- File Drop functionality to allow file uploads without providing view access
- Customizable color themes for branding purposes
- Excellent for Backing Up Photos
- Intuitive Interface
- Unlimited Space for Amazon Prime Users
- Auto Image Backup for Mobile Devices
- File Sharing Through Emails
- Easy File Searching Functionality
- File Previews in Multiple Formats (PDF, JPG)
- Lacks Powerful Privacy Settings
- No Password Protection
- No Encryption Available
- File syncing unavailable
Don’t let the word ‘Amazon’ tricks you into thinking that you can get everything a cloud storage service should have. Unlike famous Amazon stores, Amazon Drive comes with a very basic cloud model. If you have a knack for photography and your life revolves around photos, this is the perfect cloud storage you need.
At its heart, Amazon Drive is developed to provide you with sufficient space to back up all of your favorite photos. And that’s essentially it. It would be unfair to compare it with other competitors on the list, because quite frankly, there are drastic differences among them.
So, forget about what others are offering and think of Amazon Drive as a true savior for your photos.
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There’s good news for Amazon Prime member though. With an Amazon Prime account, you can get unlimited storage for your photos. But non-members can also pay only $11.99 per year for the same perks.
- Unlimited storage for all kinds of photos
- A simple and easy interface to make things convenient
- Auto-save functionality for backing up photos
- Scheduled back up time to provide flexibility
- Drag and drop interface for quick uploading of files
This marks the end of my review of best cloud storage. Is there any other cloud storage provider you think should be added to the list? I’m all ears. Let me know in the comments below or simply get in touch.
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