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.
After evaluating more than 45 different options, interviewing power users across the nation, and testing the top apps, we are confident that our picks are the best, most reliable cloud storage providers on the market today. All four will provide you with roughly the same lineup of features, and each has a version that'll let you take advantage of the cloud without paying a dime. The right cloud storage option will offer the space you need on the operating system you love at a price you’re ready to pay.
Apple’s cloud storage service doesn’t make waves on paper, but it’s great if you use iTunes as your central media hub. iCloud provides 5GB of free storage, while upgrading to 50 GB will cost $1/month, 200GB for $3/month, and 2TB for $10/month. Items downloaded from iTunes won’t count against your storage limit, but note that iOS devices use iCloud for backup, and that alone can quickly use up storage allotments.
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.
Dropbox was hacked in 2012 and after that, a list of Dropbox user’s logins has been published on the internet. Cyber-attacks can come from any number of directions and a comprehensive plan to ensure cyber security across the enterprise is necessary. Cyber threats are too pervasive and public cloud platforms which hold millions of user’s files and data are an obvious target for cyber-attacks. Since consumer experience has become a dominant driving force in product development, products these days are built more for reliability than security. A possible data breach like that can affect not only the hacked platform but many others since people tend to use the same password across multiple business apps. A data breach can cost companies millions or even put them out of business. Therefore, is it worth the risk to introduce public platforms into your enterprise?
SendSpace is a file-sharing utility that's been around since 2005. It includes a desktop tool — for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems — and mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones. SendSpace's claim to fame is that you can share gargantuan files with others securely, and it functions more like a conduit for your files (you're sending them, after all) than a cloud storage space for information you want to share with others. This ability to send mega-size files has worked well for me. I've used it to send gigabytes of book files to colleagues in other countries, and the service has been easy to use and reasonably prompt for those times when I need to deliver a file right away.
When you set up purchase sharing, the songs, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and apps purchased by family members are immediately available to everyone else in the group. New content appears in the Purchased tab in iTunes, Apple Books, or the App Store for each family member. Just select the family member whose collection you’d like to browse, then download or play the content you choose. Other family members can access your collection in the same way. If you want to keep some purchases private, you can choose to hide individual items.
Enter BOX. The speeds were about twice as fast as Dropbox (this is web browser upload/download operations – not background sync which you can’t tell the speeds very well anyway since it’s background – but sometimes we have tight deadlines with huge amounts of data to share.) And there’s an embed widget generator that works great. The number of setting is insance giving you granular control over many aspects of how your account is setup. Plus you get unlimited storage. Our opinion in the end was that BOX was far superior to both Google Drive and Dropbox.
Cloud storage is a selective backup procedure where you choose which files to store online, and then you send them to your online account. When you delete a file on your computer that you backed up online, the file is still in your cloud storage account because it isn't actually tied to your computer anymore; it's just a single file that you uploaded online.
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.
To share the file with specific people, add their email addresses at the bottom. They’ll receive an invitation to access the file. You can set sharing settings to choose who can edit or just view the file — unlike in Dropbox, which requires a paid account to do this. If you share Google Docs files in this way, you and other people can edit them in real-time.
What could possibly go wrong? Human error accounts for a good deal of cloud storage tragedies, but the dropped internet connection is another common troublemaker. Ask around (or just look through our review comments), and you'll hear sad stories of how cloud storage can go wrong. One of the benefits of paying for an account is that it usually comes with additional support from the provider, so if anything does go wrong, you can get someone on the phone to help you resolve the issue.
Really, it’s a lightweight business toolkit — as long as you’re using the browser client, that is. Although the mobile apps only have basic functionality, one huge benefit to using Box is that it can be integrated with a ton of third-party apps and services, including Asana, Facebook, and IFTTT. So if you’re working with a small team, Box is a great choice. It’s also efficient for those who want the basic Business features but don’t want to pay for the Enterprise option. And even if you aren’t ready to upgrade at all, Box still gives 10 GB of storage to free users.
Anyone can sign up for a free individual account on Box, but the service's endless list of sharing and privacy features were built specifically for business and IT users. Beyond the basic cloud storage setup, where you can store just about any kind of file, Box lets you share files with colleagues, assign tasks, leave comments on someone's work, and get notifications when a file changes.
Dropbox is a favorite in the cloud storage world because it's reliable, easy to use, and a breeze to set up. Your files live in the cloud and you can get to them at any time from Dropbox's website, desktop applications for Mac, Windows and Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or compile your own), or the iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Kindle Fire mobile apps.
Cloud storage systems generally rely on hundreds of data servers (especially for unlimited storage providers). Computers can be unavailable at times because of crashes or maintenance so data is usually stored on multiple machines. This is called redundancy. Without redundancy, a cloud storage system couldn’t ensure clients that they could access their information at any given time.