Businesses and consumers are increasingly reliant on cloud based storage solutions instead of in-house, on-premise local storage hardware Your files are stored in the cloud, which is a simplified view of what is essentially someone else’s infrastructure (data center, server, hard drive, connectivity etc)..
Ever since Amazon popularised storage online with S3 (Simple Storage Service), 13 years ago, Google data shows that interest for “Cloud Storage” alone has increased by 40x over the past decade. So much so that people less frequently refer to it as “online storage”
Given the multitude of cloud storage providers out there, one has to wisely choose a provider who will offer the maximum amount of low-cost storage and bandwidth, while still keeping your data safe
This list represents our top picks for cloud storage: most offer a free tier allowing you to see if they’re right for you before handing over any hard-earned cash. And it’s iDrive that leads the way thanks to how fast, thorough and easy to use it is.
1. IDrive cloud storage
IDrive offers continuous syncing of your files, even those on network drives. The web interface supports sharing files by email, Facebook and Twitter. Cautious or click-happy users will be pleased to hear that files deleted from your computer are not automatically deleted from the server, so there’s less danger of removing something important by accident. Up to 30 previous versions of all files backed to your account are retained.
Another thing to note is that IT admins have access to IDrive Thin Client application, which allows them to backup/restore, manage settings, and more for all their connected computers via a centralized dashboard
For photos, you have a neat facial recognition feature that helps you to automatically organize them as well as syncing them across all your linked devices. IDrive also offers IDrive Express which sends you a physical hard disk drive if you lose all your data, allowing for the swift restoration of all your backed up files. That applies to the newly introduced disk image backup feature
A business version exists and offers priority support, single sign-on as well as unlimited users and server backup. Furthermore, IDrive Cloud, an enterprise-class cloud object storage is also available.
2.Mega cloud storage
With an insanely generous free tier and a simple drag-and-drop interface, New Zealand-based Mega is one of the cloud storage heavyweights. There’s a handy mobile app to allow you to upload files and photos, as well as sync clients with desktop machines. The company also has business tailored plans.
Mega claims that all data stored in its cloud is encrypted on your device before it reaches the firm’s servers. As the company has released the source code to its sync client, experts can check that there are no vulnerabilities
Price: 50GB free. 400GB for $6 a month (£4.50, €4.99, around AU$7.50). 2TB for $12 a month (£9, €9.99, around AU$16). 8TB for $23 a month (£17, €19.99, around AU$30). 16TB for $35 a month (£26, €29.99, around AU$46).
3.Google Drive cloud storage
Google Drive is a natural choice for owners of Android devices as it’s already integrated, but users of other platforms may appreciate the generous free storage too. You can also store high definition photos on your mobile phone with companion app Google Photos, and make use of Google’s own office suite (now known as G Suite). Also, upgrading to paid Google Drive plans is now called Google One (although it might not yet be available, depending on the region).
Downsides include the fact that the web interface isn’t very easy-to-use, although Windows and Mac users can download a desktop app to drag-and-drop files easily.
Price: 15GB free. 100GB for $1.99 a month (£1.59, around AU$2.50). 200GB for $2.99 a month (£2.35, around AU$4.10). 2TB for $9.99 a month (£8, around AU$13). 10TB for $99.99 a month (£74, around AU$130). 20TB for $199.99 a month (£148, around AU$260). 30TB for $299.99 a month (£236, around AU$426).
4.iCloud cloud storage
If you want to back up your iPhone to iCloud, you’ll need more than the free 5GB allowance Apple gives you, but compared to rivals iCloud prices are very reasonable.
The Mac Finder app integrates iCloud Drive, where you can store any files you wish. Documents created in the iWork office suite are also saved to iCloud and can sync across your devices. Windows users can also sync their files with iCloud Drive using the official client, and access the iWork apps on the iCloud website
Price: 5GB free. 50GB for $0.99 a month (£0.79, AU$1.49). 200GB for $2.99 (£2.24, AU$4). 2TB for $9.99 (£8, AU$13)
5.OneDrive cloud storage
OneDrive is integrated into Windows 10’s File Explorer. You don’t have to download an additional app – it’s there to use out of the box, which is obviously very convenient for those who have made the jump to Microsoft’s newest operating system.
Microsoft’s Photos app can also use OneDrive to sync pictures across all your devices. As of late March, Autodesk AutoCAD has been integrated with OneDrive which is good news for anyone using the software’s drafting tools. In addition, you have a feature called Personal Vault, which gives you an added layer of protection. There’s an app for Android and iOS devices, and there’s even one in the App Store for Mac users (although it has received mixed reviews).
Price: 5GB free. 100GB for $1.99 a month (£1.50, around AU$2.9). 1TB for $7 a month (£5.99, around AU$11). Unlimited (as part of Onedrive for Business) for $10 a month (£7.99, around AU$14)