Cloud storage works through data center virtualization, providing end users and applications with a virtual storage architecture that is scalable according to application requirements. In general, cloud storage operates through a web-based API that is remotely implemented through its interaction with the client application's in-house cloud storage infrastructure for input/output (I/O) and read/write (R/W) operations.


Google Apps have gained popularity in businesses of all sizes, and Google Drive provides a place where employees can easily create, store, and collaborate on documents. Google Drive for Work, the business-class version of the tool, provides unlimited cloud-based storage to store all types of files and folders. It also provides effective functionality for backing up corporate information on the cloud, and it allows synchronization of corporate information across smartphones, tablets and PCs. Additionally, Google Drive for Work enables business productivity by providing the built-in capability of opening and editing documents without requiring an additional editing tool.
If you already have a Google account, you can already access Google Drive. You just have to head to drive.google.com and enable the service. You get 15GB of storage for anything you upload to Drive, including photos, videos, documents, Photoshop files and more. However, you have to share that 15GB with your Gmail account, photos you upload to Google+, and any documents you create in Google Drive.

Cloud storage works through data center virtualization, providing end users and applications with a virtual storage architecture that is scalable according to application requirements. In general, cloud storage operates through a web-based API that is remotely implemented through its interaction with the client application's in-house cloud storage infrastructure for input/output (I/O) and read/write (R/W) operations.


Jill Duffy is a contributing editor, specializing in productivity apps and software, as well as technologies for health and fitness. She writes the weekly Get Organized column, with tips on how to lead a better digital life. Her first book, Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life is available for Kindle, iPad, and other digital forma... See Full Bio
You are collaborating with another research center on sensitive data but they are on the other side of the world. Your organization has very strict usage guidelines around data sharing … and so does your collaborator. With Federated Cloud Sharing from ownCloud, both organizations can maintain their individual control while sharing designated files and folders across time zones and geographies – all while maintaining the access at any time, from any device.

Controlling permissions varies from product to product. Some solutions offer a highly granular hierarchy of permissions. In addition to the ability to define job roles and assign access based on that, multiple nested groups can be established. Adding or removing permissions is an easy affair once they're properly defined. Other products opt for a more simplified approach.
Signing up for an individual account at Box gives you 10GB of cloud storage, which is a good start. Similar to Dropbox, Box natively allows its users to create text documents that can be edited in real time with collaborators. This cloud storage service also offers the ability to edit text as well as other types of documents with Microsoft’s Office tools integration, which are like Google’s suite of productivity apps, but more akin to the legacy desktop apps that some are accustomed to using.

Data lakes built on object storage keep information in its native form, and include rich metadata that allows selective extraction and use for analysis. Cloud-based data lakes can sit at the center of all kinds data warehousing, processing, big data and analytical engines, such as Amazon Redshift, Amazon RDS, Amazon EMR and Amazon DynamoDB to help you accomplish your next project in less time with more relevance.


Formerly YouSendIt, Hightail features an interface built around Spaces, making it well suited for group collaboration. When you create a new Space, for instance, you name it and define the project’s goal. You can request approvals on video, photo and other files in your Space from others, track all recent activity and keep drafts private while still sharing them with access codes.
Cloud storage works through data center virtualization, providing end users and applications with a virtual storage architecture that is scalable according to application requirements. In general, cloud storage operates through a web-based API that is remotely implemented through its interaction with the client application's in-house cloud storage infrastructure for input/output (I/O) and read/write (R/W) operations.
Basic iCloud services are available via the web on any platform. To really use it to its full potential, you need to be running a Mac with Lion or above or an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 5 or better. It also runs reasonably well on Windows with the latest version of iTunes. What about your Mac running Snow Leopard or an older version of Mac OS X? You're out of luck.
If you don't mind going with Microsoft, then Microsoft OneDrive is a great value if you plan on paying. Signing up for an account is free, but it will only net you 5GB of space by default, just like Apple iCloud. However, if you go for at least 1TB with OneDrive, then it's the best bang for your buck. Here's the breakdown with Microsoft OneDrive pricing:
You can access your cloud files through an app or software installed on your computer (once it's installed, it's usually pretty much invisible), though you need an internet connection for it to work. If you temporarily don't have an internet connection, that's okay. The service waits until the next time you do have a connection and takes care of business then.
Mozy offers cloud backup, sync and mobile access for computers and servers for individuals, businesses and enterprise IT services. Mozy's sync services are simple because they keep every file updated throughout the day. Mozy features include automatic cloud backup, mobile access, military-grade security, data restore capabilities, server backups and data management.
OneDrive has undergone some significant updates over the last few years, and now serves as a strong foundation for Microsoft’s overall productivity solutions. It’s not so much that Microsoft OneDrive does one thing better than other cloud storage systems (other than being one of the few services to support Windows phones and Xbox). Instead, Microsoft’s cloud service delivers a well-rounded package.

We’d say Dropbox is foremost a functional solution – every second person has used it before, and has an individual version installed on their device. Discovering the outstanding syncing power of the system, the plethora of smooth integrations, sharing features, and dedicated support that are missing in the free package will convince you the Dropbox Business is probably one of the best transfer systems businesses out there can purchase. We recommend it especially because of its version history and unlimited recovery, priority emails, and remote account transfer.
ShareFile, which Citrix acquired in 2011, creates a custom file-sharing site for your business, so you can share files easily with clients, partners, co-workers and others. The service offers numerous compelling features and tools for business users, including workflow management, document collaboration, e-signatures and integration with Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. Security is robust, too, with up to 256-bit AES encryption and customizable permissions settings.
How you use it: You can upload any kind of file with no restrictions on image resolution or single file-size. You can also choose how often you want selected files and folders to be automatically backed up. To access your data, simply click on 'Cold Storage' and click through to select the files you want and they'll start downloading within three to five hours – see full step-by-step instructions.
Quick take: Nikon’s free basic plan includes 2GB of storage, but Nikon camera owners can access up to 20GB of free storage in the company’s Image Space service. (Both options accept photos only.) There are no paid storage tiers. Those who own certain Nikon cameras, such as the D7100 and D5600, can also store an unlimited number of photos, scaled down to 2MB, using the Nikon SnapBridge app.
A cloud storage service is less practical as an always-on backup solution and more helpful as a way to back up specific files that you want to have access to from anywhere or share with others. The file versions in the cloud storage account are the same as the versions you uploaded, regardless if you changed them on your computer. Like online backup, you can still download the files again should you need to, like if your computer crashes.
IT can’t ignore Apple iCloud. This personal cloud storage service, which debuted in iOS 5 and will also have an expanded presence in Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, backs up media and documents that users download and create, which is great for personal use. Despite some enterprise IT fears about iCloud, there might be a silver lining: iTunes is the portal through which files get to iCloud, and since iTunes has to run on a computer, a system administrator can use system policies to restrict users’ access.
Speaking of the people who use the cloud, out of the users we surveyed, 53 percent primarily use cloud storage for media and file sharing services. What did that tell us? That people aren’t looking purely for a backup service. We wanted our top picks to be well-rounded and empower users with the tools to share and collaborate work rather than focus on automated, system-level backups — so we nixed backup-focused services.
The range of capabilities of cloud-based storage services is incredible. Many of them specialize in a specific area. For example, Dropbox and SugarSync focus on keeping a synced folder accessible everywhere. SpiderOak emphasizes security. Some cloud storage services, such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, are generalists, offering not only folder and file syncing, but also media-playing and device syncing. These products even double as collaboration software, offering real-time document coediting.
Sharing is easy with other members of Mega, behaving in much the same way as Google Drive and OneDrive, by allowing you to send an invitation to a friend and set the level of actions they can complete (view, edit, etc.) You can also send links to non-Mega users, but this involves also privately sending them an encryption key so they can access the files.
A client syncs (sends) copies of files over the Internet to the data server, which then saves the information. When the client wishes to retrieve the information, he or she accesses the data server through a web, desktop or mobile client. The server then either sends the files back to the client or allows the client to access and manipulate the files on the server itself.
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