“Cloud storage” means many things to many people, but at its heart cloud storage is all about storing your files on remote servers. The benefits of cloud storage are numerous. Cloud storage makes your files accessible around the world, it keeps your work files up to date across multiple computers and it provides convenient backups for those just-in-case scenarios.
Choosing cloud storage is the easy part. Choosing an online storage provider is a little more difficult. There are dozens of mainstream storage providers and hundreds of startup companies out there that all claim to be the best. The only way to really find the best storage provider is to consider your unique needs and find a storage provider that fits those needs.
Some online storage providers cater to those of us that need more productivity. For example, Dropbox and Box.com are both popular among freelancers and businesses. These two tools provide simple file syncing, collaboration tools and the ability to share files with ease.
Box.com is especially suited for the enterprise environment. Box.com already boasts a client list that includes more than 100,000 businesses and more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies. If you work in an office setting and are looking for more collaboration and communication between teammates, Box.com is the way to go.
Dropbox is geared more towards lone-wolf workers. This tool is particularly popular among freelance writers, web designers and webmasters. It provides simple file syncing between two computers, automatic backups and an easy-to-use software client.
Other online storage providers specialize in creating secure backups of all your data. These other companies include the likes of Backblaze, ZipCloud and Carbonite. The one thing these other backup companies all have in common is that they give you unlimited storage space for a surprisingly cheap prices.
If your primary concern is protecting your files from disastrous hard drive failures, these companies are the way to go. These backup providers do not have as many features as the productivity tools listed above, but they are cheaper and give you much more space. These three companies all provide unlimited backup space and automatic backups of your entire computer.
If pricing is your main consideration, you’ll have to make trade-offs. The pricing plans for backup providers are directly related to the number of features you get and the storage space options. In other words, you get what you pay for.
The cheapest online storage providers are those that specialize in backups (see above). These companies will get you started for less than $5 a month with unlimited storage space. However, you can only back up files that you have on your computer. These companies do not act as remote hard drives.
If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can get a storage provider that does act as a remote hard drive. Companies such as iDrive and ADrive give you online storage space that you can use to free up room on your computer at home. The catch is that you will pay significantly more money for this additional space.There was some free storage service available, you can check the list of free cloud storage service providers here.
I like to save money but I also like features. So, I use a combination of file storage providers to get the most bang for my buck. I have a free storage account with Dropbox that gives me 2 GB of space. I use this account to manage all my work documents. Since I work mostly with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, I have yet to run out of room on my free account.
For my more stagnant photos and videos, I use Backblaze’s $3.96 per month plan. So what I end up with is the productivity of Dropbox and the protection of Backblaze for a grand total of $3.96 per month. If I ever run out of space in my Dropbox account, I’ll just transfer some of my old work documents to my Backblaze account.