Most individuals and businesses are now using cloud services for at least some of their digital operations. Cloud storage provides so many benefits but only if it protects your privacy and security. We have rounded up the best cloud service providers that do.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud services are extremely popular, with many big brands vying for the top position. Cloud storage simply means that you use a web browser or app to store, access, edit, create and share files of all types on a third-party server.
Each cloud storage provider offers different options and features. Some make it easier for you to collaborate with teams and work simultaneously on the same files. Others are more bare-bones and just allow you to upload and download files keeping them organized in one online space so you can access them from anywhere.
The Feature of Good Cloud Storage
Some features to look for when selecting a cloud service provider are, at the very least great security, and privacy. Many cloud storage accounts have leaked information in data breaches due to faulty configuration and poor security.
Some other important features to look for include:
- Collaboration tools.
- Mobile apps.
- Unlimited file types.
- Organization (the ability to create folders).
- Robust user/access control.
- End-to-end or at least AES 256-bit encryption.
- Two-factor or biometric authentication to keep hackers out.
- Physical security (guarded servers).
- Privacy laws in the location where the server is.
- Administrator controls for audits, roles permission, and system management.
- Cloud sync technology allowing multiple parties to access/edit the same file at once.
- Support for various platforms (Windows/Mac/iOS/Android).
What Are the Benefits of Using Cloud Storage?
There are a lot of benefits to using cloud services. The biggest advantage is being able to access your files, media, photos, and other items from anywhere in the world. If you have an internet connection, you can use them. Other benefits include:
- Offsite backups.
- The ability to collaborate seamlessly with other team members.
- Access files through an app rather than using a web browser.
- Secure file access.
- Sync across multiple devices.
The Best Cloud Storage Solutions to Use
There are both free and paid cloud storage solutions to choose from. Most services offer a free plan with a small amount of space, and if you fill it up, you can graduate to a paid plan for a few dollars per month.
Although iDrive is mainly for backups, most tech experts call it the best cloud storage solution. Not only can you back up multiple devices seamlessly, but you can also manually store and retrieve files from the space. iDrive offers high-capacity storage options and provides end-to-end encryption, but the syncing capabilities are not as good as other providers. They do offer a 5GB free option and then paid tiers as well.
Some of its best features are:
- File versioning.
- File snapshots.
- Activity logs.
iDrive does not offer two-factor authentication for security, so that may also be something to think about.
Google Drive is probably the number one option used by most businesses in America. It offers built-in programs that mimic MS Office so users can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more and collaborate freely with the built-in tools.
Google Drive excels in the area of user permissions, organization, and simultaneous editing. Google offers 15GB free then paid plans after you exceed that limit. The Google system of apps includes calendar, email, tasks photos, and more. The Google One app can automatically backup all your files from your cell phone. The Google Drive system comes packed with extra features, but the interface can be daunting for new users.
pCloud is another best cloud storage option with a unique feature: a lifetime subscription. You pay one fee once and get to keep your space forever. The free plan gives you 10GB and then goes up from there. You can connect up to 5 devices to pCloud, and the interface is easy to use.
pCloud boasts of excellent security, and there is no limit on your uploads. They keep your trash history for 30-days in case you change your mind. It works on all platforms, and you are not limited by file size. You can even choose where your data is stored: Europe or the U.S. For $4.99/month, you can add pCloud Crypto to lock and unlock individual files with a password for extra security.
If you are heavily tied into the Microsoft Windows ecosystem, then OneDrive might be your best bet. It integrates fully with Office 365 and Outlook, allowing you to edit files without downloading them.
You can share files even with non-Windows users, and the system integrates with other third-party apps.
However, there are no built-in collaboration or advanced features except for permission-based options. You don't get much in the way of free space but adding on more is pretty inexpensive.