If you use multiple computers and mobile devices, you must keep your files up-to-date on all of them. The private cloud and cloud services with their various functions such as synchronization and online office are helpful. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best cloud storage services in the market.
It used to be easy: there was usually a desktop computer and the files were placed on the internal hard drive. In comparison, today’s variety of devices is large and the files must be available on all devices such as notebooks, media players, tablets and smartphones, for example to listen to music, watch videos and read or edit text documents.
A cloud is the remedy today, with the files being stored centrally on a server. All other authorized devices can connect to the server and, for example, synchronize, read or edit a file. The connection to the server takes place via your own network or the Internet. You can therefore build and use your own private cloud or use a cloud service on the Internet such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft Onedrive, which offer different functions and storage sizes
Read: Cloud storage : What you need to know ?
Google Drive fulfills all the core functions of a cloud service and also offers great additional features. Google integrates document processing in an exemplary manner into the cloud service in addition to a unique automation of photo management. Thanks to 15 GB of storage space, the service is particularly impressive in the free segment as it is above-average when compared to competition.
Google Drive is also very solid and convinces with practical additional features that are not restricted in the free offer. Google also provides unlimited storage space for photos and videos, and also offers great functions for joint real-time editing of documents of all kinds.
google drive pricing : If you need more storage, you can get it quite cheaply: 100 GB is available for $ 1.99 per month and the price for a whole terabyte has been reduced to $ 9.99. But the charm of this cloud service lies not in the pure storage on the servers of the internet giant, but more in the successful connection of the web-based office applications.
The support of cloud storage by clients outside the Android ecosystem was less successful though.
If you have a YouTube, Gmail or even Google Calendar account, you can already take advantage of 15 GB of free storage space.
This space is shared between the different Google apps, so if you have heavy attachments in your Gmail or if you store your photos via Google Photo then the space used will be deducted from your 15 GB.
You can share your documents stored in the Cloud and authorize or not their modification. Note that the documents shared with you, which appear in your Drive (Google doc, sheet, slides etc.) are not deducted from your 15 GB, just like the music saved on Google Music.
Google Drive is available on PC or Mac, Android or iOS .
if you buy a new Chromebook, you can get more storage. With any Chromebook, you can get 1 TB of free storage for two years. If you buy a high-end PixelBook, you get free storage for three years.
After the free agreement expires, you can still keep the storage you are using. So, for example, if you use 500 GB of your 1 TB free, after a year and a day, you will still have 500 GB of free storage.
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 12$ per user per month. With this subscription, you can synchronize all your corporate files, including Microsoft files Office, on your computer, smartphone and tablet to access your work when you need it
Thanks to a photo library and reliable data backups, the iCloud is an ideal addition to iOS and macOS devices. iCloud is a welcome addition that does not come without weaknesses, nevertheless: The investment is worthwhile for Apple users.
With the iCloud, the company offers its own service that complements iPhone, iPad and Mac in a unique way. No other provider has such a wireless connection between the end device and the cloud.
As iCloud is Apple’s storage service, it is intended for users of iOS and macOS (there is no app available for Android, Windows Phone), but it is also accessible on PC by connecting to icloud.com or using iCloud for PC.
Rather basic in itself, this Apple cloud is compatible with many applications. Fast and reliable, this Cloud allows you to backup the contents of all your Apple devices. However, you will likely need more than 5 GB of free iCloud for this.
iCloud Drive, like Google Drive and a few other competitors, makes working on different devices very easy. You can start writing a document on your iPad, continue on your MacBook and edit it on your iPhone. Sharing documents is also very easy.
Apple reserves the right to view the contents of the files you keep on its servers if the company has reason to believe that they contain illegal or dangerous documents.
Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS operating systems, Dropbox is also one of the only services available to Linux and Blackberry users.
Dropbox is easy to use: it creates a file on your computer that is automatically synchronized with an online duplicate. You can thus access all your data whether you are connected to the internet or not. For the smartphone application, you can specify which folders you want to access offline.
The basic offer of Dropbox is free, it offers you 2 GB of online storage. If you want to use Dropbox for files, heavy videos and other media, you will need to subscribe to the paid version of this service.
Folders stored in the cloud can be shared, edited or deleted by other users. Only its Advanced version (15 $ / month) lets you share read-only documents or set access codes for certain documents.
With the latter, you also have new features such as the ability to sign PDFs directly from Dropbox, share folders via iMessage (for iOS users) or even watch a video stored on Dropbox on your iPad while simultaneously working on another app.
In terms of security, there is a two-step identification process, and files sent, downloaded or hosted on the Cloud are encrypted (AES 256 on the Dropbox side and SSL on the user side for sending and downloading).
Dropbox has demonstrated for the first time how practical online storage for files on third-party data centers can be with a wide selection of clients for various operating systems and smartphones. Dropbox has almost become synonymous with a cloud service for file storage and convenient exchange. In addition, Linux is not neglected: There has been an official client for the free operating system for four years, which is not particularly difficult to install and which synchronizes the contents of selected directories.
From November 2018, synchronization under Linux with the official, proprietary client will only work on Ext4 file systems. Obviously, the support of other Linux file systems for monitoring changes is becoming too tedious for the Dropbox developers.
After the scandal surrounding the spy programs of the American and British secret services, more users have doubts as to whether it is a good idea to store data in the cloud. Dropbox tries to counter mistrust by offering corporate customers or professional users to store their data on servers in Germany. However, this offer is not available for private users. Dropbox uses the resources of Amazon Web Services in the Frankfurt data center for this.
Amazon Drive is accessible to Prime members. It allows you to backup your photos without limit, in addition to having 5 GB for the rest of your files (videos …) and for those without Prime.
To access the 3-month free trial of Amazon Drive, you must log into your Amazon account or create one if you are not yet a customer.
Like many Clouds, Amazon Drive installs on your computer and is then accessible on all your devices (PC, Mac, Android, iOS).
This Cloud is no longer intended to store multimedia files. For example, it is not possible to share folders but only individual files (and within the limit of 25 files at once).
You surely remember MegaUpload, the (rather illegal) download site for “Kim Dotcom”, and well, Mega is the dematerialized storage service that it co-created in 2013. Now, Mega is a company in its own right , unrelated to its sulfurous creator.
Mega emphasizes the security of data stored in its cloud, by encrypting it at all stages of download on its servers. Only the user can access his files using an encryption key assigned to him.
Sharing documents with other Mega users is as simple as on Google Drive or OneDrive, and you can similarly limit or not limit changes to documents. If you want to share your document with someone who does not have a Mega account you must provide them with an encryption key so that they can access it.
Box, not to be confused with Dropbox, is a storage service that is mainly aimed at businesses, but which has great offers to individuals.
The free offer allows you to store up to 10 GB but limits each file size to 250 MB. This is only problematic for people wishing to save videos since even high-resolution photos do not exceed 250 MB in size.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, unlike many Clouds, Box does not allow viewing of previous versions of a document in its free offer.
Accessible on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry, the user interface is well designed and offers several options for creating, downloading or organizing files.
If you want to subscribe to the Personal Pro version, the 100 GB of storage is 7$/ month (and files limited to 2 GB each). This includes encrypting files, the ability to view previous versions of documents and share them (read-only, with modification, etc.).
One of the strong points of this service is the number of complementary applications to Box, since they make the service more versatile. For example, there are programs to link Box to Office or to edit Google Docs documents directly in Box.
The Box service has been online a little longer than the other cloud storage systems. The focus of the storage offering was on business customers. For this reason, Box has never achieved a level of awareness like Dropbox and Google Drive…
Tresorit is one of the best Clouds to offer secure data storage.
However, the way to access the free offer of this service, 5 GB of storage, is rather unpleasant. You must register and test the “Premium” offer for free (less than 10 $ / month), then cancel the premium offer after one month to finally be able to take advantage of the free service. A somewhat tedious process compared to other Clouds.
Tresorit protects the data of its users thanks to a clever encryption system. The data is encrypted locally and then sent using the TLS protocol, to the Tresorit servers which are themselves encrypted.
You keep the decryption key which is not even accessible to the employees of the company. To provide even more security, you can set up two levels of identification, which means that even if your computer is stolen, no one can connect to it without your mobile phone.
Like Google Drive , Dropbox and others, Tresorit, a cloud service from Switzerland, enables the management, sharing and editing of data. The service wants to stand out with its security feature, due to its end-to-end encryption for all data.
To use the service, you can either use the web version via your browser or install the software on the respective device. Fortunately, Tresorit supports all common platforms: Apps are available for Windows , macOS , Linux, iOS , Android , Windows Phone and Blackberry. Data from the respective devices can simply be loaded into the cloud storage and stored there in a so-called vault, a kind of folder. This vault is fully encrypted, end-to-end.
This is where Tresorit is so special. Because while most cloud storage now rely on cloud-side encryption of your data, very few services offer client-based end-to-end encryption. The advantage of this is that only you as a user can decrypt your data. If encryption on the cloud side is used instead, external data security is also guaranteed, but administrators could at least theoretically view your content.
Tresorit encrypts with TLS, the successor to SSL . Before transmission via TLS encryption , the data is already encrypted in order to protect it twice against espionage attacks.
With shared documents, for example, you have the option of defining password protection and an expiry date and you can also block shared content at any time.
Tresorit also offers two-factor authentication. According to its own information, login passwords should not be saved on the servers either and very few cloud providers do this, especially not the large US companies.
Mediafire is a Texan company that allows you to share files in the same way as on Google Drive, Onedrive or Dropbox. From its portal, you can post photos or videos directly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr or Blogger …
The Basic plan is free and allows you to store up to 10 GB of data. You can get 50 GB of space if you recommend MediaFire on Twitter or Facebook.
Note that this subscription is limited since your files cannot exceed a size of 200 MB. If you want to take advantage of 100 GB, you will have to switch to the Pro account.
Note that all media files can be played from Mediafire, which means you don’t need to download the file. Also Mediafire works very well with Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers.
Its PC version offers the possibility to take a screenshot, add notes, and share it directly with friends or colleagues. This can be very useful if you work together on a project and want to share your work quickly
Microsoft’s cloud storage is solid in the basic version, but cannot stand out from the competition here. The service in the premium subscription, on the other hand, can really convince: Office integration works optimally and the price-performance ratio is unbeatable here. The only point of criticism is the lack of encryption of user data on the Microsoft servers.
With OneDrive, Microsoft is playing its own strengths to the full: The company integrates cloud storage into its own office suite in an exemplary manner. If you need a lot of storage space in the cloud, you will find an excellent price-performance ratio at Microsoft: For 70 dollars per year, you not only get one terabyte of online storage space, but also an Office 365 subscription including Word, Excel, PowerPoint…
The interface of OneDrive is simple and clear. It is possible to create folders and files online, especially in Office formats.
There is a social aspect to this Cloud because you can create links to your social networks and thus more easily share your files via Facebook or others.
Unlike Dropbox, “read only” document sharing is available even to users who have the free version.
When it comes to privacy, Microsoft reserves the right to scan the documents you store to make sure you’re not using their service to store illegal content.
OneDrive is, with Apple applying the same policy, potentially more intrusive than other cloud services.
If you want to integrate OneDrive into your business, Microsoft is ready to help you with OneDrive for Business. It is not a storage subscription per se. But, as Google Drive was merged into Google Docs, OneDrive for Business is a marriage of OneDrive and Office 365.
Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, pCloud can store up to 10 GB for free. If you need more space, pCloud subscriptions start from 5$ per month for 500 GB or 10$ for 2 TB although their lifetime option is even more interesting since you would need only one down payment.
pCloud syncs quickly and has no restrictions on the size of backed up files as long as there is space on your cloud. Data transfer to the Cloud is encrypted (256-bit AES / SSL) to ensure their security.
pCloud has a feature that few other Clouds offer: the encrypted folder. Everything placed there is encrypted locally, which means that even pCloud employees cannot access it. It is dedicated to your most sensitive information, and costs an additional $5 per month.
For the rest, this Cloud works and presents itself like the others, and offers the possibility of directly importing the contents of other Clouds. This is very convenient if you change services or if you want to store documents on several Clouds.
The special feature of SpiderOak, which has so far been valued by professional users, is the emphasis on security. The cloud storage and synchronization services advertise a complete encryption of the data with 256-bit AES.
SpiderOak also markets cloud storage as a backup solution for professionals and is not a cheap proposition: the service offers 2 GB of storage space for free for testing, but 10 GB will already cost $ 49 a year. The good news for Linux users: The company supports most operating systems with an official client – and also Linux in addition to Windows, Mac OS and Android.
When you visit the SpiderOak landing page, it quickly becomes clear that the cloud solution is all about security, simplicity and multi-platforming. The page is designed very clearly and the most important aspects of the software are presented simply and clearly.
Setting up the software itself is very straightforward because there is no way to create backups or upload files other than Windows, Mac and Linux software. Files can be downloaded accordingly via the browser dashboard or smartphones, but not uploaded. The SpiderOak OneBackup software must therefore be installed on every system from which files are to be uploaded. After registering or clicking on the 21-day trial phase, the software is automatically downloaded.
Unfortunately, compared to many other providers, some additional functions are missing. There is no way to carry out social media backups, office backups, smartphone backups or complete system backups. There are also no extended interfaces for connecting to your own IT infrastructure, because you always have to work with OneBackup.
In view of the slightly higher price compared to many competitors, the limited range of functions is disappointing. In return, however, you get a lot of storage space and a very high security standard, because both the data transmission and the stored files themselves are encrypted with a 256-bit AES key. It is also a shame, of course, that files can be downloaded via browser, but not uploaded.
Despite the bottom line functionality, SpiderOak’s backup solution offers some special features that set it apart from the crowd :
- Very high security standard
- SpiderOak not only offers encrypted data transmission according to the AES-256 standard, but also follows strict zero-knowledge guidelines. This means that passwords and keys themselves are not known to the provider. Your data can therefore not be viewed by anyone.
Thanks to the web dashboard, Windows, Linux and Mac-compatible software as well as apps for iOS and Android, OneBackup can be used on practically any platform (at least for downloads and synchronization).
- Folder sharing
The software can also be used to share folders and files with users who do not use the OneBackup software
- Unlimited versioning and storage of deleted files
Any number of versions of files can be saved and even in the recycle bin data is preserved up to manual deletion.
If you value a very high security standard and appreciate that the software can be installed on any number of systems, you will get your money’s worth here. In addition, the combination of backup, synchronization and share function is very well implemented. Although you have to live with an overall limited range of functions, the service is convincing with a good range of features and easy operation .
The American cloud backup provider iDrive has made a name for itself particularly through the very good price-performance ratio of its packages.
iDrive offers the option of performing backups from Windows, MacOS as well as iOS and Android devices and also from Linux systems. Cloud backups can be carried out via a web interface. No full Android smartphone backups are possible, since only individual parts such as the gallery, contacts or calendar data can be backed up.
In addition, systems can be synchronized, data can be shared online with friends and there is also the option of saving up to ten previous versions of files. Cross-platform users have the option of accessing their data and for example, displaying saved PDF documents from their computers on their smartphones.
The following list of brief explanations shows the special features of iDrive.
- Ten file versions
IDrive allows you to save up to ten versions of different files so that you can keep an eye on changes.
- Dual protection
Data can be backed up both locally and in the cloud.
- Backup functions
The backup functions are very diverse. In addition to classic system and file backup, synchronization functions, social media backups, Office 365 backups and server backups (e.g. for MS SQL, MS Exchange, VM environments or Oracle servers) are also available. Smartphone content can also be backed up.
With personal encryption, you can also protect your data yourself against access by iDrive.
- Multi – platform
The software is available for Windows, MacOS as well as for iOS, Android and web environment for Linux.
- IDrive Express
The service enables you to have cloud backups sent to you on physical media for a fee.
- iDrive One
IDrive offers a WLAN-capable hard drive on which the software can also be used to seamlessly create local backups over the Internet.
With iDrive you can use cloud storage with a capacity of 5 GB completely free of charge. In the paid iDrive Personal Package, the storage can be increased to 5 TB when required.
This means that both private users and small businesses will get their money’s worth in terms of capacity. Overall, the price-performance ratio of the memory is very good, especially when you consider the extensive functions.
The provider has been on the market since 2001 and is accordingly established and reliable. Automated data protection, nothing else – that could be the motto of Crashplan, because apart from the online backup service, it does not provide any further offers, packages or services.
Crashplan is primarily about simplicity. Accordingly, the range of functions is rather limited. The setup of interfaces, server backups or individual customization options for local backups as well as special backup solutions for mobile devices, office solutions etc. are not offered.
In principle, you only have the option of selecting the desired folder to only back it up or restore it. In addition, some settings for backup cycles or security settings can be made, but more functionality and options setting are not available.
Despite this, the list of features at Crashplan is not exactly short. The provider impresses with unlimited storage, automatic real-time backup of files you are working on, ransomware protection, 256-bit AES encryption and the previously mentioned file recovery via the browser. However, anyone looking for extended functions to be able to integrate the backup solution individually into the existing IT infrastructure will be disappointed.
Special features of the Crashplan cloud backup include:
- High security standards
Thanks to AES 256 bit, ransomware protection as well as versioning and backup of deleted data, the security standard is very high
- Simple price structure
There is only one package that has to be booked for each device. It contains unlimited cloud storage and allows the creation of different users.
- Unlimited online storage
There is no traffic or storage limit for uploading or downloading.
- Versioning and backup of deleted files
Files are backed up live while they are edited and stored in versions. You can also set how long deleted files should be backed up.
- Web restore
Backed up data can be downloaded to any end device using the web dashboard.
- Native apps for iOS and Android
A separate app for iOS and Android is also available for downloading backed up files.
If you are looking for a provider with unlimited storage that offers a simple price structure, a simple operating concept and a good security standard, Crashplan could be the right partner for you. You have to live with weaknesses in support, functionality and performance, but if you don’t back up huge amounts of data and just want to be sure that you are prepared for an emergency, you will definitely get your money’s worth here.
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