So after he "tried everything I could find, but each product inevitably suffered problems with internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much", he came up with the idea of the first popular cloud-based personal file storage service. In the six years since then, it seems like everyone is offering some kind of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud storage.
Many cloud storage services have a free account that usually comes with some limitations, such as the amount of storage they provide or a size limit on files you can upload. We prefer services that offer some level of free service (even if it's only 2GB) rather than a time-based trial, because that lets you fully integrate a service into your life for several weeks while you get a feel for how it works and what might go wrong with your particular setup.
Who doesn't use Dropbox? Sure, its free storage is only 2GB, but you can use it on any platform. You can get to your files from Dropbox's website, desktop applications for Mac, Windows, and Linux, their native files systems, and the iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire mobile apps. It's a snap to set up, and you don't need to worry about syncing files for a second.
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.
Microsoft doesn’t offer encryption services for personal OneDrive accounts; business and SharePoint online are the company’s only encrypted online storage platforms. This means if you want to use your own personal account through Microsoft’s cloud and not have to deal with potentially compromised information, you might have to encrypt your own data to ensure your files are secure. In addition, the company’s history of battling “privacy concerns” goes hand-in-hand with its reputation for tracking users without transparent disclosure.
In terms of storage capacity, raw storage space is becoming more and more affordable every year. As multiple terabytes (TB) per user become commonplace, competition has shifted more to service features rather than overall bucket size. Today, 1 TB of space is typical as a starting place, with more storage readily available and very affordable. What you're really looking at are the other features provided by the service.
Public Cloud computing, commonly referred to as “the cloud” is a type of computing that involves storing, sharing and accessing data, programs and files over the Internet, as opposed to storing, accessing and sharing data, files and programs on your hard drive. The cloud has proven to be very beneficial for small business owners and the average Joe alike.
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.
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.
Quick take: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to this free unlimited service. And unlike most free options, Amazon Photos has no size restrictions for images. For files larger than 2GB, though, you have to use the free Amazon Drive Desktop app instead of the Drive website to upload images. Like photo storage services from Apple and Google, Amazon Photos also features a mobile app, Prime Photos, which offers editing features, tagging, support for those “live” motion photos you see on smartphones, and machine-learning-supported search. That last perk uses artificial intelligence to recognize objects in your photos, which can help locate items in your collection. For instance, you can use search terms such as “tree,” “cat,” or “man” to find the photo you’re looking for.
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:
Data security is a growing concern, and no small matter. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found that the average consolidated total cost of a data breach is $3.8 million. That number can represent the cost of lost business opportunities and patents, decreased customer trust, and a need for reputation management for your business. ShareFile cloud storage can improve the integrity of your data security by ensuring that all your important files are protected by our world-class SSAE 16 Type II accredited datacenters with up to 256-bit encryption.
Personal cloud storage users like that they can easily share files with one another and access them from anywhere, and they’re going to do it with or without IT’s blessing. It’s important that IT maintain control over what happens to corporate data while still giving employees the easy-to-use file-sharing experience they expect. Take a look at these popular personal cloud storage and file-sharing services to decide how they can -- or can’t -- fit in your organization.
Tresorit is cloud storage for the very security conscious. Tresorit for Business provides encrypted storage on the cloud to protect confidential information. With interfaces for both desktop and mobile devices, the service protects information residing on devices with two levels of authentication. This ensures security for confidential information even if a password has been stolen. It allows document owners to track the activities of collaborators, and roll back changes by collaborators if required. The company offers two plans:
Dropbox is one of the oldest cloud storage services. It maintains all customer files in one location, thus enabling any device to access them anytime and from anywhere. It offers 2GB of free storage and paid plans of 1TB of storage for $8.25 per month and 2TB for $16.58. For $20 a month, Dropbox offers unlimited storage for businesses on a per-user basis.
For businesses looking for a hybrid solution, Egnyte offers enterprise-level storage and file sharing platform that lets businesses store their data locally and in the cloud. This system enables all types of data to be stored in the public cloud, while highly sensitive data benefits from the higher security and better reliability of on-premise servers. It accommodates for any device and allows you to collaborate anywhere.
Cloud file sharing works when a file is stored on an online or cloud file-sharing service. The file is uploaded using the service control panel and upon successful upload the file is generated with a unique URL. File owners can share this URL with multiple users for accessing and downloading the file. The file is stored on the file-sharing provider’s cloud storage servers and can be accessed globally at any time though the Internet.
Mediafire might be a new name to many, but the Texan company has been around for nearly ten years, starting off as a file sharing service. You can still share files in much the way that you can on Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox and others, and can post pictures, videos, and other files directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, or Blogger, from within the Mediafire portal.
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.