The Best Cloud Storage
After evaluating more than 45 different options, interviewing power users across the nation, and testing the top apps, we are confident that our picks are the best, most reliable cloud storage providers on the market today. All four will provide you with roughly the same lineup of features, and each has a version that'll let you take advantage of the cloud without paying a dime. The right cloud storage option will offer the space you need on the operating system you love at a price youre ready to pay.
Nearly half of our initial list only offered accounts to businesses, not individuals. Theres a reason theyre not offered to people: they come with a plethora of features that most people would find confusing to use. More importantly, most people dont need features like task management and user comments to get the most of out the cloud. We booted those off our list right away. The best cloud storage will offer a free version for those looking to gain only the minimum out of the service -- and even this minimum shouldnt be too limiting. The ability to utilize secure cloud storage shouldnt be limited to those with business accounts; although security tends to be emphasized more on the business side, we favored those that secured personal as well.
We know that most people are staunchly team Apple or team PC. Cloud storage, regardless the type, should let you have the freedom to access and import the data you want from wherever you are, using whatever device you choose. Some of the contenders we considered didnt offer services to Windows and OS X, Android and iOS -- if that was the case, we put them on the chopping block.
Speaking of the people who use the cloud, out of the users we surveyed, 53 percent primarily use cloud storage for media and file sharing services. What did that tell us? That people arent looking purely for a backup service. We wanted our top picks to be well-rounded and empower users with the tools to share and collaborate work rather than focus on automated, system-level backups so we nixed backup-focused services.
After a broad first pass of all cloud-based software solutions out there, we compiled a list of 45 different providers. To narrow it down to the best online storage sites, we surveyed people who use the service, read reviews from top technology blogs, dissected user guides and toyed with settings. We then spent a week testing them all on four different operating systems (OS, Windows, iOS, and Android) and on seven different devices. We updated files, shared a ton of pictures, and installed a bunch of apps. We even used Google Drive to write and edit this review.
We also tested the transfer speeds for each contender by uploading a leisurely afternoons worth of iPhone photos (about 30) from three different locations. Microsoft OneDrive consistently logged the fastest times, while Box and Dropbox duked it out for last place.
We concluded that all of our top recommendations will probably get the job done. Choosing the right one comes down to how much youre willing to pay and which operating system youve already invested in.
Best for Light Data Users
Streamlined features across operating systems and a new collaborative tool make Dropbox intuitive to use but a low data limit for the free account make it a no-go for super users.
ProsEase of useCamera Upload feature
ConsLow storage amount for free users
Dropbox is easy to use, so if youre new to online file storage, this is a great place to start. The file management is intuitive, and all the apps (including the browser client) are built around a minimalistic theme that offers the same fluid experience on all major operating systems and devices which is something we cant say about all of its competitors. Whether youre on an iPhone or a Galaxy, the operating system integration is tight, and youll feel right at home.
One of Dropboxs handiest features is Camera Upload especially because theres no file size limit on mobile. Enable it from the Photos menu on your phone or tablet, and any photo you take will automatically be uploaded to your Dropbox account the next time your device connects to a WiFi network.
Dropbox is very basic, and its collaborative features are a bit behind other services like Google Drive although it did release a more synergistic tool, Dropbox Paper, in 2017. The one underlying issue is that, unlike the more classically collaborative Google Drives 15GB of free storage space, youll have to pay $10 per month if you want anything more than 2GB with Dropbox. And if you want to utilize the handy Camera Upload feature, note that photos pile up and can burn through 2GB pretty quickly. However, if you do want extra space, we suggest paying outright for a full year (youll end up paying less per month).
Best for Teams and Collaboration
If youre buddy-buddy with Google already, using Drive is an easy-to-use no-brainer. But if youre tentative about signing up for an account, youll have some thinking to do.
ProsCollaborative file sharingSearch functionality
ConsGoogle-centric (works best on Google products)15GB for all Google services
Drive is more than a cloud storage service; its a powerful, collaborative office suite that wraps all of Googles services into a neat little package we considered it one of the best file sharing and storage sites. You can create spreadsheets, documents, presentations, Google Forms and connect to a whole slew of third-party apps everything you do syncs conveniently into your account as long as you have an internet connection. And if you dont have a connection -- all you have to do is enable offline access and use the Google Drive extension for Chrome.
Like most file-sharing interfaces, Google lets you specify the people you want viewing or editing your work at any given time, and you can easily grant or deny access requests. You can also opt for Googles Backup and Sync feature, which lets you connect your Drive to your personal computer and any other files you choose outside the existing data in your cloud storage.
Another seriously powerful aspect of Drive is its search functionality, which uses Googles image-recognition technology, or optical character recognition (OCR), to surface photos that are relevant to your search keywords. For example, when we searched for cat, it found documents that included the word cat and photos of one of our team members yorkiepoo (who apparently could pass for a cat).
Google Drive works best on Google-fied devices (although we were truly happy with how smoothly the iOS apps run). Drive also requires a Google account, which means youll have to create one whether you like it or not in order to use the cloud services. It might also be worthwhile to consider how this tight-knit Google circle affects your life. The company has a history of breaching user privacy and even admitted to gathering unsolicited information.
Because all of the companys services are integrated with Drive, they dip from the same 15GB pot you get with the free account. For us, thats not enough; one of our testers had amassed almost 10GB just in archived emails in his personal account over the past five years, which would leave him with only 5GB of space for everything else. If he were a photo-fanatic, that wouldnt be a whole lot of space.
Best for Devoted Windows Users
An intuitive user experience, at its best within the Windows ecosystem. The free version has a low data limit, and the user experience isnt quite as smooth as its competition.
ProsEase of usePhoto storage
ConsSecurity historyLow data limit for free users
Previously known as SkyDrive, OneDrive is Microsofts own combo of a cloud storage solution and an Office suite. If youre primarily a Windows or Microsoft Office user, taking advantage of this cloud is almost effortless. OneDrive is deeply integrated with Windows 10 and Windows Phone and best serves those already invested in the ecosystem. However, outside the Windows system, its a bit more difficult to navigate. We also had to go through the verification process several times before it stuck on all the devices that we used throughout the week.
As far as the user experience goes, were legitimately impressed with its clean (albeit Dropbox-esque) interface on iOS devices. OneDrive also performed well and actually logged the fastest times during our upload test.
Like its competitors, OneDrive offers an automatic photo-backup feature and its actually pretty great. The Photo menu does a good job of automatically grouping your image files according to some predefined tags. For example, one of our testers went pond fishing this past spring, and the pictures of him in a boat were tagged #Outdoor and the landscape photos of the lake were tagged #Waterfront. OneDrives browser client even lets you ship image files directly to the nearest Walgreens for prints when you want them.
Microsoft doesnt offer encryption services for personal OneDrive accounts; business and SharePoint online are the companys only encrypted online storage platforms. This means if you want to use your own personal account through Microsofts cloud and not have to deal with potentially compromised information, you might have to encrypt your own data to ensure your files are secure. In addition, the companys history of battling privacy concerns goes hand-in-hand with its reputation for tracking users without transparent disclosure.
If you dont want to shell out extra money for storage, Microsoft OneDrive only gives you five GB, which is on the lower end of our free options. So if youre a heavy photo-user, this wont give you much leeway.
Best for Enterprise Solutions
We can only recommend Box to businesses but its capabilities for that audience made it hard to ignore.
ProsBusiness-oriented featuresExpanded privacy controls
Really, its a lightweight business toolkit as long as youre using the browser client, that is. Although the mobile apps only have basic functionality, one huge benefit to using Box is that it can be integrated with a ton of third-party apps and services, including Asana, Facebook, and IFTTT. So if youre working with a small team, Box is a great choice. Its also efficient for those who want the basic Business features but dont want to pay for the Enterprise option. And even if you arent ready to upgrade at all, Box still gives 10 GB of storage to free users.
Boxs privacy controls are independently analyzed by third-party auditors, and every file you store is encrypted using AES-256 bit encryption. Box also offers built-in FTP support and gives you full disclosure of the information it tracks from your data.
Box didnt fare as well as our other contenders in our upload speed test. It wasnt always last, but it wasnt always first, either. Its important to note that you only get 250MB per file for a free and personal account, and 5GB for business/enterprise accounts.
To know how to tailor your cloud storage search, youll need to know how much available data you want at your fingertips. Are you sharing files all the time? Are you uploading photos (which are bigger files than documents) constantly and wanting to maintain their resolution? Once you have a decent idea of what you use on a daily basis, youll be able to narrow your search based on data storage availability and price.
The best cloud storage options will offer more than just a backup service. They should also facilitate easy file sharing, collaboration options and ways to manage your data in both business and personal settings. All of our top picks offer these options.
Its a good idea to look at what types of encryption (in-transit and at-rest are customary now) and authentication methods are offered, and it also wouldnt hurt to look into the companys history with handling user data. Also, its important to check whose handling your data. Some companies have their own data centers to store user data, while others toss information to third-parties. Because of this, we suggest rummaging the service level agreements to see where and how your data is being stored your cloud companys reputation might not be the only one you need to evaluate.
One of the best ways to gauge user-friendliness before trying a product is to look at the customer satisfaction ratings. We suggest looking for an average of 3.5 stars or higher from users on the App Store and Google Play Store to make sure your pick is (generally) well-liked and offers a good mobile experience.
Whether youre looking for a personal or business account, its in the best interest of any cloud storage service to offer a free version (hello, roping in new users), but its also a win for us consumers, especially when it comes to free encrypted cloud storage (hello, security). Many personal users wont need the space provided in a premium plan, and plenty of services offer a free version thatll more than satisfy why pay when you dont have to?
What does secure cloud storage look like?
Yes, there are a lot of things that could go wrong (take the Yahoo and Equifax data breaches, for example), but that doesnt mean you have to live in fear of the cloud just be smart with your data. Our top recommendations offer cutting-edge protection: two-factor authentication, facilities that are protected with 24-hour monitoring, and data thats encrypted in transit (SSL and TLS) and at rest (128-bit AES and on).
What shouldnt you store in the cloud?
At Reviews.com, we use cloud storage every day and just recommend healthy caution when it comes to the cloud: Its important to consider the risks before uploading sensitive information, like tax documents or bank statements, especially with a service that isnt a well-known and trusted authority in the cloud world.
How can cloud storage be used for collaboration?
Slow Wide Turns operates and communicates between multiple systems and cities scattered throughout the U.S., and file sharing and system backing is crucial to our success and overall company organization. Our design department is constantly submitting artwork files to be reviewed by directors and owners who operate in cities 500 miles apart. Uploading files to a well-organized, shared Google Drive account allows for a swift review process and has nearly eliminated the shortcomings related to file sharing and storage we had previously experienced.
Chad Woody, co-founder and product designer of Slow Wide Turns
Dropbox has saved my business from the blue screen of death. Now anyone in my company can access critical documents from anywhere. We pay for Dropbox for business so that we can have extra room to store 16 years of data about our company and clients. We have team member folders and we use it to store a repository of graphics and images that we use on the blog and to promote the brand as well. I really love how easy it is to use.
Melinda Emerson, author, speaker and host of #Smallbizchat
One size doesnt fit all the storage you need might not even be in this review. Thats why weve listed similar reviews here.
View original post here:
The Best Cloud Storage for 2019 | Reviews.com
- Box Business Plus review: Cloud storage that's very hard to beat - IT PRO - December 11th, 2019
- Blackblaze Mobile 5.0 launches with B2 support and increased file size limits - 9to5Mac - December 11th, 2019
- Cloud Storage Gateways Market Competitive Research And Precise Outlook 2019 To 2025 - The Market Publicist - December 11th, 2019
- Five predictions on the future of cloud usage - ITProPortal - December 11th, 2019
- Nasuni Attains Validation as VMware Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS - PRNewswire - December 11th, 2019
- Cloud Storage Gateway (CSG) Market Size & Share Analysis in terms of value & volume by 2025 - The Industry Press Releases - December 11th, 2019
- Global Stand Alone Cloud Storage Market 2019 by Manufacturers, Countries, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 - Daily Industry News Journal - December 11th, 2019
- What's the Glue That Holds Your Tech Stack Together? - CMSWire - December 11th, 2019
- Global Public Cloud Storage Service Market 2019 by Company, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 - Global Market News 24 - December 11th, 2019
- StorCentric's Retrospect joins backup to cloud crowd - Blocks and Files - December 11th, 2019
- Innovative Report on Cloud Storage Market with Global Innovations, Competitive Analysis, New Business Developments and Top Companies Global Forecast... - December 11th, 2019
- Storage steps into the intelligent era as AWS expands its storage portfolio - SiliconANGLE - December 8th, 2019
- 7 Tech CEOs Share Marketing Trends And Predictions For 2020 - Forbes - December 8th, 2019
- 3 Things to Watch in the Stock Market This Week - Nasdaq - December 8th, 2019
- Best drawing and painting software of 2020 - Techradar - December 8th, 2019
- Sky TV and Netflix get a new rival: new streaming service revealed and it's FREE to watch - Express - December 8th, 2019
- Save over 90% on ultra-secure 2TB cloud storage with 256-bit AES encryption - PocketNow - December 7th, 2019
- Will Box Start Growing Now That It's Solved the Security Part of the Cloud Puzzle? - Motley Fool - December 7th, 2019
- Know How Cloud Storage Software Market is Trending in Key Regions to Reach at Next Level in Coming Years? - The Market Expedition - December 7th, 2019
- You Can Have Collaborative Software Thats Wary of the Cloud - WIRED - December 7th, 2019
- Pure Storage CEO Giancarlo Talks Cloud, Exec Changes, And Having '56 Billion More Dollars Than Dell' - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The... - December 7th, 2019
- AT&T, Verizon Subscribers Exposed as Mobile Bills Turn Up on the Open Web - Threatpost - December 7th, 2019
- Multi Cloud Storage Market 2019: Industry Analysis by Size, Share, Brand Strategy, Key Companies, Social, Technology and Forecast Till 2024 - The... - December 7th, 2019
- Secure, intelligent file transfer in a hybrid cloud/multi-cloud world is more important than ever before [sponsored] - RedShark News - December 7th, 2019
- AWS Outposts: You can have any hybrid cloud you want...as long as it is Amazon - Blocks and Files - December 7th, 2019
- Consumer Cloud Storage Services Market Size, Growth, Analysis Of Key- players Types And Application, Outlook 2025 - OracleAlpha - December 7th, 2019
- Cloud Storage Software Market Size, Growth, Analysis Of Key- players Types And Application, Outlook 2025 - OracleAlpha - December 7th, 2019
- Cloud Storage Market Research, Growth Opportunities, Analysis and Forecasts to 2026 - Statsflash - December 7th, 2019
- What Happened at AWS re:Invent 19? - UC Today - December 7th, 2019
- How to Backup an iPhone to an External Hard Drive in 2019 - Cloudwards - December 2nd, 2019
- Carphone Warehouse Cyber Monday 2019 deals: today's best offers on mobile phone contracts and pay as you go - Telegraph.co.uk - December 2nd, 2019
- These cloud storage plans are all on sale this Black Friday - ITworld - December 1st, 2019
- Global Business Cloud Storage Market with Worldwide Opportunities, Share, Growth, Development History, Current Analysis and Estimated Forecast to 2023... - December 1st, 2019
- This Cyber Monday deal on a lifetime of cloud backup will save you thousands - Mashable - December 1st, 2019
- Programming from the Cloud now available | Local News - Tullahoma News and Guardian - December 1st, 2019
- Black Friday gets you tech devices here's how to save on apps - NBC News - December 1st, 2019
- 20 years ago: Napster vs CuteMX, movie industry gets its own boogieman: DeCSS - AfterDawn - December 1st, 2019
- Blockchain for Science: Revolutionary Opportunities and Potential Problems - RTInsights - December 1st, 2019
- Best mobile phone deals in the Black Friday 2019 sale, from Apple iPhones to Samsung smartphones - Telegraph.co.uk - December 1st, 2019
- 9to5Google Gift Guide: Best gifts for the mobile photographer - 9to5Google - December 1st, 2019
- 26 suppliers pinned to the File Storage Map. Who is in front? - Blocks and Files - December 1st, 2019
- Moving to the cloud are you doing it right? - TechRadar - November 26th, 2019
- Cloud Solutions: Four Key Areas of Focus - Security Magazine - November 26th, 2019
- Cohesity Unveils New Solutions to Protect Cloud Databases and Enhance Data Archiving at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas - Business Wire - November 26th, 2019
- Wyze says it will 'temporarily' yank people detection from its security cameras in January - TechHive - November 26th, 2019
- Dell and NetApp price competition puts a crimp in Pure Storage revenue growth - Blocks and Files - November 26th, 2019
- Why thousands of IT contractors face 'life-changing' tax bills - ComputerWeekly.com - November 26th, 2019
- Incisive Evaluation of Cloud Storage Gateway Market Explore How Industry Will Grow in Future by 2025 | NetApp,Agosto,Nasuni - Finance Daily Tribune - November 25th, 2019
- Sunday Deals: Save 89% on the Polar Backup Cloud Storage - Geeky Gadgets - November 25th, 2019
- 10 Most Interesting Announcements From Kubecon + CloudNativeCon 2019 - Forbes - November 25th, 2019
- Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's 9 Boldest Statements At Next '19 UK - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The IT Channel - November 25th, 2019
- Why Has Western Digitals Hard Drive Revenue Dropped 35% Over The Past 5 Years, Despite 50% Growth In Exabytes Shipped? - Forbes - November 25th, 2019
- 20 Minutes With Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian At Next '19 UK - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The IT Channel - November 25th, 2019
- Digital clutter's messing with your mind here are 5 ways to 'KonMari' it - CNA - November 25th, 2019
- Microsoft 365 Suffers Outage For Several Hours - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The IT Channel - November 25th, 2019
- 10 Best Free Cloud Storage Services in 2019 [Updated ... - May 31st, 2019
- What is cloud storage? | IBM Cloud - May 1st, 2019
- What Is Cloud Storage and What Are Its Advantages? - April 12th, 2019
- What Is Cloud Storage? - Lifewire - April 1st, 2019
- Cloud Storage Providers - SourceForge - March 11th, 2019
- The Best Cloud Storage Services for Backup in 2019 - March 8th, 2019
- Best Cloud Storage Reviews 2019 | 31 Best Services Compared - February 25th, 2019
- Top 10 Best Free Cloud Storage Services - 1 more Tech Blog - January 17th, 2019
- Fast & Secure Cloud Storage - Best Online Solution by Acronis - January 2nd, 2019
- Samsung Cloud - November 22nd, 2018
- Cloud Storage Cost Comparison: Which One Is Best? - November 19th, 2018
- Cloud Storage on Your Windows 10 PC - dummies - November 19th, 2018
- What is Cloud Storage,How Does It Work,Its Benefits & Uses ... - November 1st, 2018
- The best free cloud storage service 2018 | TechRadar - October 8th, 2018
- AT&T Cloud Storage - AT&T Cloud Services - October 8th, 2018
- Cloud Storage | Team Knowhow - August 15th, 2018
- The Best Cloud Storage Services for Backup in 2018 - August 13th, 2018
- Amazon Drive - June 30th, 2018
- Cloud Storage Pricing | S3 Pricing by Region | Amazon ... - June 24th, 2018
- Azure Cloud Storage Solutions and Services | Microsoft Azure - May 28th, 2018
- Cloud Storage Pricing | Cloud Storage Documentation ... - May 10th, 2018
- Understanding cloud storage services: A guide for beginners - May 1st, 2018
- Foscam Cloud - April 7th, 2018
- Data Storage - Flash Storage, NAS, Object ... - Dell EMC US - April 7th, 2018
- Best Cloud Storage Providers 2017 Reviewed & Rated - December 13th, 2017