5 Best Cloud Storage Services
With cost and security in mind, we look at five cloud storage options that will suit the needs of most home and SMB owners.
Cloud storage (storing your data online in the cloud) is an attractive option. One can access their data from virtually any connected resource or device while saving on storage costs. Most online storage vendors offer data protection and automatic backups. Cloud storage is scalable, meaning one pays based on storage need, making cloud storage an attractive option for consumers and small business. However, cloud storage does have the potential for security and compliance concerns.
1. Collaborate and Store Files for Free with Google Drive
Google has entrenched in our daily online lives to the point where the company's name is sometimes used as a verb ("Google that for me, please.") Formerly known as Google Docs, Google Drive allows businesses to not only backup their files online but also edit files in a solo or team environment. One does have to create a Google specific account in order to use the service. Users get 15GB free, with tiered storage plans all the way up to 30-TB.
2. Free Storage and Windows Integration with Microsoft OneDrive
With the majority of desktops and laptops running Windows OS, it makes sense for Microsoft to have its own cloud storage service. OneDrive - originally called SkyDrive until British television broadcaster BSkyB filed a lawsuit - will sync files and folders across a range of devices, including those running Mac, iOS, and Android. OneDrive is baked in to the new Windows 10, right there in File Explorer. Unsurprisingly, OneDrive offers the same amount of free storage as Google Drive - 15-GB.
Most cloud storage systems encrypt data as it’s being uploaded. SpiderOak goes a step further by encrypting files locally on one’s computer, then uploading it to their servers. Passwords are stored locally too, meaning the company has no way of decrypting the information, a critical distinction depending on what type of information one's business is storing in the cloud. This also means, of course, if a user forgets their password, the data can't be recovered. SpiderOak offers 2-GB for free, 1-TB is $12/month.
4. ZipCloud Offers Simple, Safe Storage
This cloud service allows business owners to send and share files with employees, clients, or co-workers. Owners can configure the service so each team member has their own account, allowing them to individually backup and share files. The sync folder feature allows teams to share large files with co-workers. Plans start at around $70/mo for 500-GB shared amongst 20 users, all the way up to 5-TB shared amongst 150 users for 10x the price.
5. Store and Sync with Box
Most of the cloud services out there trumpet their ability to keep files stored online. Users can do this with Box but its main selling point is to centralize business documents in the cloud for easier collaboration. Employees can work securely across teams, mobile apps allow users to access files on the fly while desktop apps sync files and share links through Outlook. Businesses can sign up for a free 14-day trial and, if they like it, can stick around for $15 per user and unlimited storage.
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