It’s common practice nowadays for people to store a majority of their data in the cloud. Not only is it safer and more reliable than keeping it in a physical hard drive, but it’s also convenient. This is because you can access it from any device, anywhere in the world.
You’ll find that it’s also easier to collaborate on documents and other files when they’re stored on a cloud interface.
However, not all cloud storage is built the same. Some providers offer a better service than others, and there are vast differences in functionality and features.
In the following article, we’re going to give you a list of what we consider to be the best cloud storage providers for this year and beyond. Read on for more.
Why is Cloud Storage Useful?
A cloud storage provider is designed to enable remote data storage. It does this by using reliable servers that users can access through the Internet. This interface is known as the “cloud” because your files are always “floating” about between different servers. Cloud storage providers are responsible for system maintenance and managing all of the stored data. Why would you need cloud data storage?
Cloud data storage is useful for reducing server costs. Instead of paying for an in-house server and the maintenance that comes with it, you can move all of your data to a cloud interface.
You’ll also save money that would’ve been spent purchasing hardware or paying IT staff to manage hardware servers and software updates. As such, cloud storage comes highly recommended for small to medium enterprises.
Cloud storage is also easy to use and access. You don’t have to be tech-savvy in order to access, edit and download files that are stored in the cloud. It also simplifies your life because you’ll be able to collaborate on files with colleagues on a regular basis. You can also track changes made in real time.
If you choose one of the best cloud storage providers available, you’ll most likely have access to a lot of storage space. If not, then you should at least have the option to add more storage space if you want. That way, you can store large files and enjoy fast download and upload speeds at any time.
A good quality service provider will also offer automatic backup services to protect your files from unpredictable accidents and events such as natural disasters.
Lastly, you can rest assured that your files are kept safe and that your privacy is protected. Just make sure to keep your credentials secret to increase security. Most cloud storage providers maintain secure data centers that are designed to protect your information from hackers and unwantedleaks.
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Features a Good Cloud Storage Provider Should Come With
If you’re new to the world of cloud storage and the companies behind this technology, then you should consider the following criteria when looking for the best cloud storage providers:
- A 99.99% availability and reliability rating when it comes to recovery time after outages and disruptions
- Allows for the smooth transfer of files
- Has an international network of connection support
- Offers high caliber security measures including multi-factor authentication, as well as full-on in-transit and at-rest content encryption
- 24/7 customer support that’s responsive and available via multiple channels
- Operates its own service technology and networking equipment
- Provides a stable Service-Level Agreement (SLA). This covers situations where it wouldn’t be able to offer the same level of service
- Incredibly scalable
- Offers solid file backups
- Ensures privacy
Free Cloud Storage vs. Paid Cloud Storage
Most cloud storage providers offer a basic account which is available for free. This allows the user to test out the service and see if it works for them. The problem with such accounts is the fact that they’re incredibly limited in terms of storage space.
For the best results, look for a service provider whose “free’ option is based on actual service instead of a time-based trial. That way, you can test out how the real thing works until you reach a space limit.
Unfortunately, cloud storage technology is not perfect and like other forms of technologies, it’s still evolving. Some of the most common issues include human error and occasional outages.
While there are plenty of accounts on how cloud storage can go wrong, there are plenty of benefits that come with it as well. This is if you get a paid option. A paid account offers priority support. This means you’ll always have access to a knowledgeable agent if you run into any issues.
Suffice to say, cloud storage is worth paying for. This is because you’ll get access to a vast amount of storage space so you can store multiple large files as well. Another benefit of choosing a paid option is that you’ll be able to track your file throughout different versions. This is particularly important for visuals artists like video editors and graphic designers.
A paid cloud storage account also means that you’ll have access to different versions of your files. You will also get improved security and a wide variety of features that make for improved collaboration between team members.
Best Cloud Storage Providers
Here are the best cloud storage providers available on the market right now:
1. Microsoft OneDrive
This is a cloud storage and synchronization tool from Microsoft. You can get the Personal plan for $6.99 as part of Office 365. This plan comes with 1TB of storage space.
Other features include 30-day file restoration, auto ransomware detection, expiring sharing links, advanced sync technology, offline folders, and multi-page scan. This cloud storage is ideal for on-the-go users. It allows you to access, edit and annotate files from a smartphone or tablet.
2. Google Drive
Google Drive is undoubtedly one of the best cloud storage providers and it’s great for business and personal use. You can use it to transfer and store data from your SD cards, camera or computer onto the cloud. Chromebook users get a free 100GB storage space along with built-in Google Drive.
Otherwise, the free account offers 15GB of lifetime storage where you can store MS files, video files and more. From there, you can edit your files online through Google Docs or Google Photos.
One of our favorite features from Google Drive is the ability to convert documents from an image in your phone to a PDF file. The service also allows to edit and collaborate on documents offline. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with Google experts and add other users to your account. This is whether it’s colleagues, friends or family members.
With over a decade of experience in the industry, MediaFire comes with all the features you’d expect and then some! This includes 10GB of free space which you can increase to 40GB through incentivized activities. This includes everything from following MediaFire on social media to referring friends and family to the cloud storage provider.
Although their free account comes with ads, this is a small price to pay for the privilege of getting 50GB worth of free online cloud storage space!
MediaFire offers ongoing support and impressive file-sharing options for users and non-users alike. You’ll love the easy-to-use web interface with an app that supports Android and iOS operating systems.
All told, MediaFire makes it easy to store and edit your files online. It offers value with features like auto photo syncing.
JustCloud features a plethora of great features that include geo-redundant storage, drag-and-drop capability, encryption, file management, online control panel. It also offers file and folder sharing. This is in addition to automatic computer syncing and a fun referral program.
All of this (and more) is available for just $39.99 per year with addons like video backup that cost $29.90. You’ll be glad to know that JustCloud comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.
SugarSync cloud storage offers faster file backup, smooth file sharing, ransomware proofing technology, folder content recovery and more with the Business package. And by more, we mean increased bandwidth, and an ability to assign additional permissions to official admin personnel. The service provider periodically runs specials. This includes the recent 15% off for new users who sign up for the annual plan.
Dropbox is one of the most well-known cloud storage providers available. That’s because they offer a large amount of free storage for new users at 3GB as well as 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption data-in-transit security, safe and convenient file sharing, as well as unlimited file access.
However, the Professional plan is where it’s at because you get additional features like 180-day history file recovery and version history, 3TB worth of storage, Smart Sync, Showcase, and Paper tools that are unique to Dropbox.
7. Apple iCloud
Originally launched in 2011, iCloud Drive from Apple is optimized for products that are part of the iOS ecosystem. It comes with a lot of great features, like the ability to upload and share photos with Shared Albums or through iCloud if you’re sharing with non-Mac users.
Organizing and finding files is made easier through color tagging and organizational features. The best part is that iCloud automatically updates along with your other Apple Store apps. All of this is available for free. But for just $9.99 you can add a whopping 2TB of storage space.
Livedrive is one of the best cloud storage providers thanks to its customized service which allows you to create a personalized plan based on features that you actually use.
For example, you have the Backup plan which starts at £5.00 per month. It comes with unlimited cloud backup storage for a single user. Then you have the Briefcase plan which you can add for an extra £10.00 per month. This offers up to 2,000 GB of backup storage space, file sharing and file sync between two devices.
For £15.00 per month you can sync more than four PC devices at once through the Pro Suite Plan. It’s important to note that Livedrive’s customer support agents are only available from 9 AM to 6 PM according to UK time.
Carbonite is a great entry-level option. For a monthly fee of just $6 users get unlimited cloud space, 128-bit encryption, remote file access, and automatic cloud backup. The company also offers 24/7 customer service, which comes with absolutely stellar agents.
Users with multiple computers will benefit from the $24 per month option and you have the option to add extra servers for just $50 per month.
According to tech editors, IDrive is one of the best cloud storage providers as it offers backup support for mobile, Linux and VMware. It uses Snapshots for simple data restoration and recovery. You’ll be able to store and view up to 30 versions of the same file, all backed up on your account.
IDrive has a strict security policy that prohibits the storage of user-defined key details, while the Drive Express feature enables you to quickly recover information when you want it. Simply request IDrive to ship temporary physical storage.
11. SOS Online Backup
This is another popular cloud storage provider that comes highly recommended by the Wall Street Journal, PC Magazine and The New York Times.
The Basic Plan comes with a Save Forever feature, unlimited file version access and it enables you to operate five computers and an unlimited number of mobile devices at the same time at just $4.99 per month.
Alternatively, you can opt for the Business Pan which allows you to operate it on unlimited servers and computers. It also comes with additional features like HIPAA-compliant backup, network attached storage (NAS) backup and anomaly detection technology for added file security.
12. SpiderOak One
SpiderOak One comes with a wide variety of useful features that include inactive account retention, backup for files, folders and drives, unlimited file version storage and access as well as SSL encryption.
This is also one of the most affordable cloud storage providers available yet it’s highly functional. Spider Oak spared no expense when it comes to security, as it allows you to generate self-destructing shareable links to make sure that no-one can access your files if you don’t want them to.
Box is compliant with all the relevant industry standards, including FedRAMP, DxP, PCI, HIPAA, GDPR. This service provider boasts 9 offshore locations in which to hide your data so you’ll never have to worry about file security and privacy.
Plus, you can easily integrate Box with other software and apps including ServiceNow, Okta, Adobe Suite, Salesforce, G Suite and Office 365, to name but a few.
CertainSafe is compliant with GDPR standards as set by the European Union and you don’t need to install special software or apps in order to use it. Their basic plan comes with 100GB worth of storage space, real-time file retrieval, sophisticated audit trails, and drag-and-drop features.
Thanks to its unique MicroEncryption technology feature, you can rest assured that all of the files you keep on the cloud are kept safe and secure yet easy to access.
Degoo comes from Sweden and although they’re relatively new to the market, they’ve managed to make a name for themselves.
They have over 15 million users from around the world and they offer iron-clad file security through encryption technology and wide-spread dispersion. Users are also prompted to use Google sign-in’s two-factor authentication for added security.
Zoolz Cloud Backup is jam-packed with features and it’s ideal for professional and personal use thanks to having an easy-to-use interface. You’ll find their web management options particularly agreeable while allowing you to combine local external storage seamlessly with cloud operations.
Thanks to its UK-based operations, Zoolz is able to benefit from Amazon Glacier’s infrastructure. That’s what allows them to offer a fantastic balance between performance and price.
Keep in mind that Zoolz has been around for well over a decade yet they’ve never let down any of their clients and their consistency is what earned them a spot on the list of the best cloud storage providers.
pCloud offers such great features like TSL/SSL encryption protection, file sharing, file management, unlimited speed, and size, as well as offline access. As if that weren’t enough, this service offers a built-in video streaming player and online document preview.
Thanks to their 30-day data recovery and file versioning features, it’s so much easier to keep files organized on this cloud storage tool.
NextCloud is different from other providers on this list in the sense that they’re not an actual online cloud storage. But, they do allow you to download and install software that provides you with cloud storage on your own servers.
This leads to a much faster service and it offers the option to enable encryption for all the files shared within your home network.
It’s even compatible with Raspberry Pi which allows for effortless data synchronization. The only issue is that NextCloud is so popular that they often sell out.
Through the Mega mobile app, you can upload photos and files, and synchronize different users across various devices. This is one of the easiest cloud storage tools out there and they offer customized plans for your convenience.
Mega will keep all of your stored data safe thanks to its use of cutting-edge encryption technology. You’re welcome to check for vulnerabilities through the tool’s source code which it makes available to clients.
Founded in 2011, Tresorit has bases in Switzerland and Hungary. Their focus is on providing optimal data security through the use of advanced data encryption technology.
It’s suitable for personal and professional use and you can limit who sees your files using “zero-knowledge encryption.” This is in addition to the platform’s two-factor authentication login, direct file download to Tresorit and a convenient Document Scanner feature.
Tresorit’s service is available at different price points. There’s the Small Business which costs $25 per month and allows you to add up to 8 additional users. This plan comes with a whopping 1,000GB worth of encrypted storage space, smooth folder syncing and secure access for 10 devices. It’s truly one of the best cloud storage providers.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Is free or paid cloud storage better?
This depends on your needs and preferences. If you only need cloud storage for personal use then a free plan will do just fine, especially if all you’re doing is uploading Word documents and pictures.
But, if you’re part of a professional team or business then you’ll need larger storage space which means paying extra. We highly recommend you start with a free trial no matter what service you opt for. That way, you can test the waters to make sure that it’s something that works for you.
• What files can I store on the cloud?
You can save almost anything on cloud storage including documents, images, music, apps data – you name it!
• How much storage space is recommended?
This is another one of those situations that depends entirely on the individual. Google Drive offers a fantastic free plan with 15GB of free space, file syncing and it’s superb for anyone that needs cloud storage for personal reasons.
However, if you’re looking to store large files and lots of data then you should look for a plan that offers unlimited storage space.
• What is a cloud SLA?
A Service Level Agreement or SLA for short is a contract that cloud service providers have with their clients which sets out the level of service to be expected.
This is what sets the tone for the relationship between both parties and lets you know what the provider’s responsibilities and services are. It should contain details on the provider’s security measures, accepted liabilities etc.
• How to check if my cloud data is secured?
Check the SLA document to see what safety and security measures they have in place to protect user data and files.
Well, there you have it! These are the best cloud storage providers available on the market. We hope this’ll make it easier for you to find an ideal service provider that offers the features you need.
Let us in the comments below which one is your favorite!