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.

You might also want to check out Dropbox’s offerings. For its cheapest business plan—$450 annually—you get up to three user accounts and 3TB of shared storage. You can reuse these user licenses as you see fit (as clients come and go), and you can grant your clients the ability to access shared folders and download anything in them. (And they can send new things your way via the File Request feature, or sign up for a free Dropbox account themselves, so long as they don’t blow past the 2GB free limit.)

You can also post photos directly from OneDrive to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social-networking sites, which is a nice, time-saving touch. The service also offers built-in remote access capabilities. From the OneDrive.com website, you can get access to any PC associated with your account that has the OneDrive client installed, even files not already uploaded to OneDrive.

Security is obviously an important element in any online service. Knowhow encrypts data in transit using TLS to fend off any interceptions, and the Briefcase files are encrypted on the users machine as well. Files on the Knowhow servers are not stored in an encrypted form, but Knowhow assure us that they remain very secure behind several layers of protection and are unidentifiable to any snoopers.


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.
If you want to build your business around Google Drive, you can do that too. Google Drive for Work includes unlimited storage for files, folders, and backups for $8 per user per month plus $0.04 per GB. With it, you can sync all your business files, including Microsoft Office files, across your computer, smartphone, and tablet to access your work whenever you need it.

One adult in your household — the organizer — chooses the features your family will share and invites up to five family members to join. Your family can share iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases, an Apple Music family subscription, a single iCloud storage plan, and more. Once family members join, Family Sharing is set up on everyone’s devices automatically.

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Quick take: That 10GB of free storage is generous compared with the plans of other services on this list. Box also offers a Personal Pro plan with 100GB of storage for $10 per month. Box lacks features such as tagging powered by artificial intelligence and photo-editing software, however. And you have to pay the monthly fee to unlock the automatic uploading feature.
Why have we included Egnyte in our list of top file sharing websites? What we really like about this app, and we believe you will like too, is that the system allows you to create and personalize files. Using it, you can rely on the fact you’re working in a 100% protected system which responds to the highest encryption standards, and backs up both your synced originals and the copies you’ve shared with your contacts. Pricing is once again flexible to suit the needs of users with different financial capabilities.

Need to collaborate among 3 office campuses? With ownCloud, you can set up a server running in all 3 locations. The admins then federate the ownCloud together, making them aware of each other and explicitly allowing federated sharing among the locations. Users can then simply use ownCloud as they normally would for file access and sharing. When sharing with users in different campuses, the type ahead filter on sharing search results simply returns remote and local users together. At any time, the federated shares can be disabled by the admin, while the file owner still retains control of the master file.
Just to clear up any confusion, the cloud part of cloud-based storage services refers to storing your files somewhere other than your computer's hard drive, usually on the provider's servers. As one tech pundit put it: "There is no Cloud. It's just someone else's computer." Having data in the cloud refers to the ability to access those files through the internet. Your data is usually encrypted before making the journey over the internet to the providers' servers, and, while it lives on those servers, it's also encrypted. Well-designed services don't upload entire files every time they change. They just upload the changes, saving your connection bandwidth.

Apple’s cloud pricing has dropped dramatically over the last two years, including a deep cut at this week’s WWDC developer conference. And as with many Apple offerings, it’s most useful if you’ve bought into the rest of the ecosystem. It keeps your photos, notes, calendar, and more backed up across all of your devices—unless you use, say, and Android phone, for which there’s no official support.
Zoolz is less well known than other firms in this guide, but it's been operating for six years and has more than four million customers as well as high-profile business clients. It has decent feedback on Google reviews and specialist site Cloudwards. As with all storage services though there's always some element of risk, so weigh this up before uploading any sensitive documents.
First up is OneDrive, Microsoft's storage option. Those who use Windows 8 and 10 have OneDrive built into their operating system, where it shows up in the file explorer next to all of the files on your computer's hard drive. However, anyone can use it on the Web, by downloading a desktop app for Mac and earlier versions of Windows, or the OneDrive Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Xbox apps.

There are several options available to avoid such issues. One option is to use a private cloud instead of a public cloud (there are as well providers that offer private cloud storage). Another option is to ingest data in encrypted format where the key is hold within your on premise infrastructure. Access is often by use of cloud storage gateways that are on premise. Such gateways have options not only to encrypt and compress the data prior of transfer but as well mirror the storage across multiple cloud storage providers and remove the risk of a single providers shutdown. Gateways offer as well the option to cache data on a most recently used algorithm on premise. Along with data analytics data is cached and fetched on a most valuable form instead of recently used only form.
There are many other reasons to pay for cloud storage, from getting a lot more space (a terabyte really doesn't cost all that much anymore) to being able to upload really big files. That last benefit is relevant to graphic designers, video editors, and other visual artists who often host enormous files. Other perks of paying for your cloud storage often include increased access to file-version history (meaning you can restore an important business proposal to the version you had before your colleague made a bunch of erroneous changes), more security, or more features for collaboration and working with teams.

If you’re comfortable dealing with a more manual approach, you can always pick up a great NAS box—a network-attached storage device—and use that to host your data. It shouldn’t be that tricky to set up user accounts for your clients and launch some kind of online portal they can use to view, send, and download files. (Or you can grant them access to a simple FTP server, if you want.) You could also setup your own dedicated server, but that’s a bit more complex than a NAS box.


Some cloud storage services offer pretty healthy free storage plans for individual users, which becomes a good way to start things off. Then there are others that offer superb deals of free storage bundled with devices from manufacturers like Apple and HP. The thumb rule is – cloud vendors don’t get hurt by giving away free storage, if it gets them new clients for premium services. Look for it and you shall find it.
Locking data away doesn't end with just passwords, either. In addition to having something you know, it's better to pair it with something you have. Two-factor or even multifactor authentication (MFA) is becoming a more commonplace option, and cloud storage companies are getting onboard. Mobile phones, or specially prepared USB fobs, are typically the default option as the secondary authentication source. But other forms of tokens exist, including smart cards and biometrics.
We know that most people are staunchly team Apple or team PC. Cloud storage, regardless the type, should let you have the freedom to access and import the data you want from wherever you are, using whatever device you choose. Some of the contenders we considered didn’t offer services to Windows and OS X, Android and iOS -- if that was the case, we put them on the chopping block.
Nextcloud is a different type of cloud storage. It works a lot like Resilio Sync. You create your own Nextcloud server on your own computer. The app lets you sync files between your computer and your phone. It operates exactly like your typical cloud storage, but you control where the files go and what happens when they get there. It's an excellent resource for people who like the idea of cloud storage, but don't want their files in the servers of some other company. Plus, you get as much cloud storage as you have storage on your computer. The is free to use for personal use. There are enterprise options for businesses as well.

There is also a feature that allows you to remotely access files on another PC via the OneDrive website. If privacy is a major concern then it should be noted that Microsoft reserve the right to scan your files to look for what it would deem objectionable content. This could be copyrighted material or things of an explicit nature. Apple has a similar policy, making the two potentially more intrusive than their competitors.
Those are a few of the options I can think of. Unfortunately, cloud storage can be pricey no matter how you go about it. And I find that cheaper solutions tend to create more headaches—or, worse, can be a lot slower than an established player like Google, or Dropbox, et cetera. Nevertheless, hopefully one of these works for you. Write back and let me know what you picked (or if you need a bit more guidance!)

We are a startup that has to shares lots of large media files with clients. Since we use G Suite and have email for our company thereby hosted with Google, naturally instead of paying for other services, we wanted to leverage all the features. Unfortunately we found Google Drive very frustrating to use. First, you can’t share Team Drive folders publicly without the user also creating/logging into a Google account. You have to make a dupe set of the files on a non-team drive. Second, when downloading lots of files, the zip process can take forever. And finally we found moving/copying larges groups of files around to have erratic behavior with files not showing up in destinations folders for a long time and no progress indicator for the copy/move process.


Cloud file sharing provides end users with the ability to access files with any Internet-capable device from any location. Usually, the user has the ability to grant access privileges to other users as they see fit. Although cloud file sharing services are easy to use, the user must rely upon the service provider ability to provide high availability (HA) and backup and recovery in a timely manner.  


Amazon Drive is a good start for anyone who uses Amazon Prime. Those with Amazon Prime will already get 5GB of free storage along with unlimited backup for photos and videos. You can upgrade to unlimited storage for about $60 per year. You can also use it if you don’t have Amazon Prime but the 5GB of storage and unlimited photo backup will run you $12/year. The app is a bit buggy at times, but it works well enough and you can access your files online anytime.
Sharing data using an off-premises storage and transfer tool is convenient, easy to use, and fast. Just drop your files into a folder on your desktop, and those files magically appear in your "cloud" account, available to anyone with whom you've shared it. Those with whom you are sharing need only a web browser to access the files—no matter which operating system they are using. This user-driven file collaboration is great for sharing innocuous files, such as JPGs that a soccer mom wants to share with the other moms.
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.
Another seriously powerful aspect of Drive is its search functionality, which uses Google’s image-recognition technology, or optical character recognition (OCR), to surface photos that are relevant to your search keywords. For example, when we searched for “cat,” it found documents that included the word “cat” and photos of one of our team member’s yorkiepoo (who apparently could pass for a cat).
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However, if you’re dissatisfied and ready for change, Dropbox is my top choice. I’ve been a user since 2008 and never had an issue. The service is supported by a large ecosystem of apps, it’s easy to use and share files with others, and it continues to evolve in positive ways. That said, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are all good choices, too.

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MediaFire is a lesser-known file sharing/storage service, but with a free plan offering 10GB of storage, it’s worth considering. The free service lets you upload files up to 4GB in size, and uploads are scanned with the BitDefender antivirus engine. You can share file links on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Blogger and generate a one-time download link. MediaFire is easy to use, too, with an intuitive interface.

Choosing a cloud storage product for your organization can seem like a daunting task when you first consider all of the variables involved. Striking a balance between usability, security, and customization ultimately needs to be driven by business requirements, but understanding exactly what those requirements are is a serious task that will require real work; it's not something you want to come to with a snap decision. Planning is the key. So sit down with business leads, IT managers, and even a rep from the cloud provider under consideration. Make sure that all parties are getting what they need. Only after going through that step should you pull the trigger on a provider and start the migration process.


One of the most popular platforms for businesses, boasting 225,000 enterprise customers, Box is a cloud offering incorporating collaboration and project management with storage. Box also offers basic content management system capabilities such as version control, which organizations can use to quickly share corporate information and collaborate across multiple departments. For better data security, Box offers streamlined access controls, authentication and authorization, allowing administrators to adjust user permissions and assign tasks to employees. The tool can be integrated with other enterprise software, such as CRM. Box offers cloud subscription plans for organizations based on size. Below are the most business-friendly plans offered by Box:

Storing your most sensitive files locally on a hard drive is still (and probably always will be) the logical thing to do. But it’s not always the most convenient, which is why most of us look to cloud storage as a secondary option. It has its own set of benefits: it’s reasonably affordable, it makes sharing files easier, it’s ubiquitous across most operating systems and devices, and it’s just really nice to have a backup when your hard drive dies.
It also has a feature that troubles me; SkyDrive will let you grab files from any PC that's associated with your account and pull them into the cloud remotely. That's great if you left your PowerPoint presentation at home. That's not so great if someone gets your Microsoft account login information and your phone for SkyDrive's two-factor authentication code and decides to start downloading your Quicken finance files. You can turn this function off, but it's set to be on by default. This seems like a potential security hole to me.
The TLS protocol prevents man-in-the-middle attacks from succeeding, while encryption secures your data in transit and at rest. Private encryption prevents anyone other than you from reading your files. The drawback is that services which provide it won’t be able to reset your password if you forget it. To avoid losing access to your content use a password manager.
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