Best cloud storage sites for business or personal files
Cloud storage is, quite possibly, the best way to send, store or share files between computers or multiple users. Knowing which one is the best, however, is a difficult task.
If you’re the kind of person who works across multiple devices, or different locations, having access to a cloud storage solution is an invaluable way to have access to your files wherever you are. Even if you only use one device, cloud storage is a safe and easy way of backing up all your important documents and files.
With so much competition, you need to know what the best cloud storage solution is. It’s especially important to know which is best for free or paying customers, and what security these sites and apps are using to protect your data. These are the best cloud storage sites and apps for you or your business.
Best cloud storage sites
Google’s cloud storage site, Google Drive, is one of the most commonly used solutions out there due to its integration with other Google products like Google Docs and Hangouts. As Google Drive aggregates files from all of these other apps and makes them available offline without you having to do anything, it makes using Google’s services rather seamless. In addition, Google Drive is built into most Android devices, so is the default cloud storage app for most Android users.
If you don’t fancy paying for storage, Drive provides 15GB of storage space for free, an impressive amount compared to some of its competitors. However, it doesn’t have the same level of encryption as some other cloud storage solutions as it only uses AES-128, so your data is (relatively) easier to crack.
Increased storage space costs £16 per year or £1.59 per month for 100GB, and £80 per year or £7.99 for 1TB.
Just as Google Drive is connected to Google apps, OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution and therefore is connected to the entire Office suite, including Word and Excel. This makes it a valuable tool if, like many people, MS Word is your word processor of choice. You can easily create Office documents in OneDrive, as well as import, view and edit them from the computer.
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Although OneDrive uses a higher level of encryption to Google Drive, with AES-256, you only get 5GB of free storage space. To increase this to 50GB costs £2 per month, or you can buy Office 365 bundles that come with various levels increased storage as well as the Office Suite. If you don’t want the Office Suite (or already have it), the 50GB bundle is the only option, unfortunately.
Continuing the trend of integrated cloud storage sites, iCloud is the cloud solution for Apple products, including devices that run iOS or MacOS. It’s particularly useful as a backup for all your personal data on your iPhone, as it automatically saves images from your camera or events you add to your calendar. While you can also use it to save work files and documents, Pages files on Macs are infamously incompatible with many non-Mac devices, so it’s not as useful.
Like OneDrive, iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage space, but it’s rather cheap to buy more. The available bundles are 50GB, 200GB and 1TB, available at 79p, £2.50 and £7 per month respectively (or £9.48, £30, and £84 per year, although you have to buy per month). This can be particularly useful if you’re using your Mac or iOS device to work on audio or visual projects, as you can send them between devices for cheap.
Many people will attest to Dropbox as one of the best cloud storage solutions out there, as it has top-notch AES-256 encryption and a sleek and elegant appearance that makes it a treat to use. Since it isn’t tied to any particular set of apps or programs it gives you a lot of flexibility and freedom in what programs you use to work, as well as what file formats you can send and store.
The catch? You only get 2GB of free storage. Even an album of holiday snaps could take up more space than that. The smallest amount of storage you can buy is 1TB (or 500x bigger than the free amount) which costs £80 per year or £8 per month, or 2TB (1,000x the free amount) for £20 per month, or £200 per year. This second option also provides some extra features for sharing or showcasing work.
On top of that, team accounts are available for shared storage space and tiered benefits for £10 or £15 per person per month, and each can store up to 3TB of data.
Spideroak is the king of security in terms of cloud storage solutions: your files are so encrypted that not even Spideroak can see them. They refer to this as their “zero knowledge” approach and it means they wouldn’t even be able to share your files if ordered to by a court. The site also allows you to view previous versions of documents and delete or un-delete files with no time limits.
As you can imagine from this, there’s no free option for the site (although they do offer a 21-day trial). Spideroak offers 150GB, 400GB, 2TB and 5TB plans for £47, £78, £101 and £219 per year respectively, although why you’d need 5TB of storage unless you want to download the entirety of Steam is beyond me.