It’s already 2017, if you’re still bothering with external hard disks and thumb drives when everything is going wireless, you’re officially still living in the dark ages. Cloud storage options are aplenty these days, and not only are there multiple choices for you to pick from based on your needs, but there are many reasons why you should start using the cloud. Still, detractors have their reservations on cloud storage services: How accessible is it? Won’t I need an internet connection? And most importantly, are my files secure?
It’s no secret that security is a top priority for companies that offer cloud storage solutions. Why would a consumer choose a service if they don’t feel that it is secure? That’s why these companies hire the best engineers and technicians to make sure that their personal information doesn’t go into the wrong hands. We’re talking about professionals from the National Security Agency and Stanford University here, not your fresh graduate that just took up computer science because it “seemed cool”.
The data centers that house all your files in global locations are not only remote, but physically secure too. There’s a higher chance of your desktop at home (or the laptop you’re reading this from) failing compared to the servers in those data centers. Redundancies are also in place, where there can be multiple copies of your data stored in different places in the event of one center failing.
Besides, it is so much easier to share a folder of images with a friend through a web link than to have to pass them a thumb drive or god forbid, a CD you painstakingly burned. Have a business partner in Hong Kong that you need to review a bunch of documents? Just upload it to the cloud, and they can download the files whenever, wherever, no matter how big it is (emails cap the size of attachments you can send).
Here, we’ve rounded up 6 of the best cloud storage services. Whether you’re just an individual wanting to amp up your tech game, or a business looking to make your organisation more efficient, there’s a cloud storage service out there for you.
The most popular option by far is Dropbox. Over 500 million users and 200,000 businesses use their cloud storage services. A basic plan gets you 2GB of storage, with team plans stretching out to as much data as you need. It’s accessible from any type of device – your iPhone, Samsung, Desktop, or laptop, and has smart sharing options so you can control who are the ones that can access your files. Also, any files you decide to save offline will be stored offline, perfect if you need to work on a document when you’re 30,000 ft up in the air.
Google Drive has a leg up over its competitors simply because it’s owned by Google, one of the largest tech corporations in the world. The fiercest rival to Dropbox offers users 15GB of base data, and its search function is as natural as you’d expect of a Google platform, allowing users to search for “my budget spreadsheet from last December”.
At the forefront of enterprise content management systems, over 59 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use Box, thanks to its collaborative features and integration with multiple other companies like Google, Adobe, and Symantec. With clients like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and even the United States’ Department of Justice on Box, it’d be hard pressed not to find a reason to use it if you have a big enterprise to manage.
Anyone in the Apple ecosystem would know iCloud. The formidable system not only stores your files, but ensures all your precious photos, videos, and apps across your iDevices are synced and accessible. iPhone users can also back up their iOS devices into iCloud, allowing for seamless restoring when they upgrade their phones and want to keep all their apps and settings.
Microsoft’s version of a cloud storage service is a blessing for all Microsoft Office users. Many plans are bundled with your beloved Microsoft Office applications (Word, Powerpoint, and Excel) and at least 1 terabyte of data for users to go wild on.
A no-frills cloud storage solution from the creator of the infamous file-sharing site Megaupload, Mega gives users a whopping 50GB of free data from the get go. With consumers from more than 245 countries, the encryption is what gives Mega an edge – not even their own developers can find out what is stored on their servers, only the end users can.