What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a model of storing data on remote third parties’ virtualservers which can be accessed through the internet. If your local hard drivesare running low on disk space, you can use the cloud as extra storage.It allows you to save and share your files online instead of on a local harddrive or a removable storage device. If you want to access your work files athome, and easily share holiday photos and videos to others,you can upload thefiles online to a cloud storage service. Using a cloud storage service alsoensures that important files are secure behind a password and encryption.Different cloud storage services let you upload files to your online accountthrough different methods. Some support in-browser uploads only, but most havedesktop applications that make uploading files easier by a simple drag-and-drop into a dedicated folder.Summarily, cloud storage is helpful not only for extra storage but also forsecurity and the ability to easily share files with others or access themyourself from anywhere.

Here are the best File Sharing and Cloud Storage Sites in 2021

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most versatile cloud storage services. Google Drive expands your ability to store and backup files beyond the limits of your local storage.Upon signup, Google Drive offers 15 GB of free cloud storage and this is shared between Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail and other Google Apps on your device. Once this space is maxed out, you can pay a monthly fee to getmore space or clear out old files.With Google Drive, you can store any kind of file: photos, videos, PDFs,Microsoft Office files, music and so much more. You can also save emai lattachments sent to you through Gmail directly to Google Drive.On the other side of Google Drive’s advantage is the privacy setting; it can only be opened by third parties who have access to the file link. Google grants itself, through its terms and conditions, the right to scan your stored files for marketing purposes. Unlike other cloud storage platforms, GoogleDrive doesn’t have the file encryption feature where users can lock theirdocuments with specific passwords.Pricing: You can buy more space on Google Drive by paying $1.99 per month orsave 16% when you pay $19.99 per year for up to 100 GB. Get 1 TB for 9.99 permonth or $99.99 per year.With 15 GB of free cloud storage, excellent collaboration features and theability to access your files from your desktop, smartphone and just about anybrowser, Google Drive is a convenient and capable way to work with files.WeTransferNamed in 2018 as one of the world’s most innovative design companies, by FastCompany, WeTransfer is regarded as one of the simplest ways to send big files.WeTransfer’s core service is free, with more features available for premiumaccounts. Free users can send files up to 2GB. WeTransfer allows you sendhigh-res photos, videos, and other large files without logging in.The process of uploading the files and sharing links is completely encryptedbut, the recipient receives an un-encrypted email with a link to the file.Third parties could easily intercept the email and gain access to the files.WeTransfer stores the files in an un-encrypted format, plus it uses serversbased in the USA. This means that under the USA Patriot Act, every US companyhas to release its customers’ files to the government when needed.The paid-for version, WeTransfer ‘Plus’, allows users to send up to 20GB at atime. It also offers features like password protection, channel customization,and 100GB storage.Pricing: WeTransfer’s paid subscription plan, WeTransfer Plus, is $12 permonth. The annual subscription costs $120, which gives users a 17% discount.If you are looking for an innovative and easy-to-use cloud storage and filesharing service, WeTransfer is just right for you.Formplus Formplus is a powerful tool to connect with people and organizations aroundthe world. You can receive files of any type and size through online forms,making collaboration and file sharing really easier like never before.This tool differs in that apart from being a file collection tool, you canalso use the online forms to collect other types of data – such as onlinepayments, signatures, emails, etc. Formplus’ cloud storage is used to storefiles uploaded via the File Upload field on an online form. There are nolimits to the size and type of file uploads, except the original file uploadcreator limits file size in the form builder’s validator.There is also a robust file management system on Formplus, where you canrename files/folders, categorize files accordingly and so on. These files canbe shared or received with other information using beautifully-created formtemplates that come with relevant form fields.Pricing: After the free trial, you get to pay $25 per month for the Starterplan, $45 per month for the Professional plan and $85 per month for thePlatinum plan. Education and Non-Profit organizations receive another 20%discount across all Formplus yearly and monthly plans.Use Formplus if you want to share, access, store important unlimited files anduse online forms designed to suit your ideas and needs.DropboxDropbox has grown to be one of the most trusted and popular cloud storagesystems that offers more, including file synchronization, personal cloud. Thestorage service is convenient, easy to use and one can learn how to use itquickly. The major disadvantage of this service is that the administrators ordevelopers who maintain the service may delete information from free, inactiveaccounts.User files on Dropbox are encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard(AES) which guarantee document privacy. In recent times, there have beenconcerns about the security of Dropbox; cases have arisen where servers werehacked and vital information stolen.Pricing: Dropbox Basic users are given 2GB of free storage space. This can beexpanded through referrals, and if your refer people use the service, the useris awarded an additional 500MB of storage space per referral. Dropbox Basicusers can earn up to 16GB through the referral program.The Dropbox Plus subscription is $9.99 per month. It gives users 1TB ofstorage space, and additional features. Overall, Dropbox is an amazing methodto store and share files online. SendspaceSendspace is a file hosting site, mostly used by small to medium sizebusinesses to send, receive, track and share large files.The site enables you to drag and drop files into an upload bar and email thedownload link to one or many recipients. This eliminates the slow uploadfeature associated with attaching large documents to emails. Sendspace can bescaled for mobile devices and its android application is available todownload.The service is simple, fast and comfortable. The user understands if theshared files have been received and downloaded. It always sends email alertfor this. One can send multiple files at a time.If a provider uses a free link instead of a pro link, the download speed islimited. It works well on the windows-based platform but is not as reliable onMAC systems.Pricing: The free plan on Sendspace has limited features that allow a singlefile size of 300MB. The Pro Base Plan allows file sharing of up to 5GB and is$8.99 per month. The Pro Plus plan is $19.99 per month and allows up to 10GBat once.OneDrive Microsoft’s OneDrive is one of the leading cloud storage service platforms inthe market. An obvious choice for both businesses and users who use MicrosoftOffice packages.OneDrive Basic offers 5GB of free storage space with web-based access. Themobile app provides offline access and allows you to edit and annotate on thego.The service allows users to store, share and sync all kinds of files andpersonal data in the cloud. Users can also upload Microsoft Office documentsdirectly to OneDrive. The files are organized by type, so it’s easy to findwhat you need.Some users have cited concerns over privacy because Microsoft has reserved theright to scan files saved in OneDrive to look for what it calls ‘objectionablecontent’. There is also a suggestion that some files can get altered when theyare synced or uploaded to OneDrive.Pricing: The OneDrive free plan offers you 5GB free on the free plan. The paidplans offer 50GB ($1.99 per month), Office 365 Personal 1TB ($69.99 per year),and Office 365 Home 5TB ($99.99 per year) storage options and are availableeither separately or with Office 365 subscriptions.OneDrive is usually not a smooth experience for Mac users, but it’s probablythe best cloud storage for Windows users.BoxBox is a cloud computing business which provides file sharing, collaborating,and other tools for working with files that are uploaded to its servers.The mobile app is user friendly on iOS so it is easy to access and share yourfiles. Box reads and opens any file on mobile and if it does not, it allowsyou to open the file in a more suitable application through iOS prompt.The free plan on Box for individuals allows up to 10Gb storage and 250MB fileupload. Larger files such as audio or video files seem to load slower on Box.The sync feature is slow and users usually have to save items on theirdesktops before copying them to Box.Pricing: The personal pro plan of Box is $10 per month and allows 100GB with5GB upload. Another plan—Business—is perfect for team collaboration and is $15per month. This gives you unlimited storage and a 5GB upload option.pCloud pCloud Drive is a desktop application that creates a secure virtual drive onyour computer, which you can use to easily store, access and work with yourfiles in the cloud.It offers more storage at a cheaper price, while its feature set is also moredetailed, flexible and diverse than most. pCloud also makes it easier to sharefiles with other users. File synchronization is another big feature on thepCloud site – it is super fast and reliable, and performs well.The desktop client delivered by pCloud is impressive – with Windows, macOS andLinux versions available. The inclusion of Linux is a good idea, consideringmost other cloud storage sites work well only with Windows and macOS.pCloud allows users work with flexibility and speed as if the files were onyour computer but taking no physical space. However, pCloud has no documenteditor and no two-factor authentication.Pricing: You can get up to 10GB free cloud storage on a free plan. No harddisk space is used when you use pCloud. pCloud’s subscription is $3.99 and$7.99 per month for the premium and plus plans, respectively. The lifetimesubscription is $175 for premium and $350 for plus.Apple iCloudiCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. Theservice had an estimated 850 million in 2018, up from 782 million users in2016.With backup on iCloud, you never have to be afraid of losing importantdocuments. The cloud-based system allows users to store heterogeneous music,photos, applications, documents, backups, notes and so on. The serviceprovides a platform for Apple’s email servers and calendars.On iCloud, you have to provide your name, credit card information, likes,dislikes, passwords, friends, family trips etc. – information we mightotherwise not be comfortable sharing.All in all, iCloud’s few shortcomings do not hinder its performance. It is agreat Cloud-based storage system which gives you the virtual freedom to doanything you want and knowing the email address and password, you’ll be ableto implement parental controls with iCloud monitoring.Pricing: Owners of either iOS device using iOS 5.x or later, or a Mac using OSX Lion 10.7 or later have 5GB of free storage. Users can purchase additionalstorage for a total of 50GB ($0.99 per month), 200GB ($2.99 per month) or 2TB($9.99 per month).MEGA Mega cloud storage and file hosting service is offered primarily through web-based apps. Mobile apps are also available for download on Windows, Androidand iOS platforms.Although Mega can not be compared to many top cloud storage services, it hassome interesting features, including zero-knowledge encryption. The protectionextends to your file shares, because you can use private encryption to protectthem and make sure only people you allow can read them.Mega is not too good in on team collaboration because it lacks integrationsand editing features. The site works with major browsers, but there can besome inconveniences to using browsers other than Google Chrome or MozillaFirefox. There is no option for file sharing among a group of users.Pricing: Free users receive 15GB of base storage, an additional 35GB trial atsignup; expires after one month. Additional storage allowances can beactivated through various “achievements”, but also expire. The maximumpermanent storage is 50GB.The paid plans for Mega are Pro Lite (1TB transfer, 200GB storage,$5.69/month); Pro II (2TB transfer, 1000GB storage, $11.38/month); Pro III(8TB transfer, 4000GB storage, $22.78/month); and Pro IV (16TB transfer,8000GB Storage, $29.78/month)SpiderOak SpiderOak is a collaboration tool, online backup and file hosting service thatallows users to access, synchronize and share data using a cloud-based server.The service is accessible through Desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linuxcomputers, as well as Android, N900 Maemo and iOS mobile platforms.The software uses secret code categorization so you can share and communicatesafely. By removing server infrastructure and its support staff from yourthreat model, the service allows you to drive greater organizational success.With SpiderOak, all data accessible in one duplicated location. You canpreserve all historical versions and deleted files and share folders in webShareRooms with RSS notifications.In all of this, SpiderOak is not a simple service to use. Its advancedfeatures can be a little difficult to navigate. Sometimes, people don’t havethat much time to learn the advanced features and settings.SpiderOak is quite popular for its military-grade high-end security. With azero-knowledge policy and strong encryption, users can be assured that theirdata is safe.Pricing: Users are given a 21-day free trial with all the features. There isalso a 150GB Plan at $4.90 per month; 400GB Plan at $8.25 per month; 2TB Planat $10.75 per month and a 5TB Plan at $23.25 per month.Degoo Degoo is more like a fun place to share, access and store your memories. Youget 100GB for free with all the features except zero-encryption and photostorage optimizer.You also get 500GB extra cloud space by inviting your friends and 5GB perreferral. There’s also an option to “loan” Degoo unused processor resources,for an additional 10GB of free space.Degoo bills itself as a cloud backup. It means Degoo isn’t geared towards workproductivity. There are no integrated apps or file syncing, and file sharingoptions are limited.Users need more than 100GB to protect their hard-drive’s content, so chances are you’ll end up paying Degoo.It’s one of the few multi-platform cloud backup tools with mobile back upavailable – a cheap way to backup mobile multimedia content.Pricing: You can sign up monthly for $9.99 or get a 20% discount by paying fora year. Or, you can sign up for five years in advance for a 60% discount.There’s a 90% discount by signing up for a mere 100 years!IDrive IDrive is an online backup service available to Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS andAndroid users. IDrive offers gradual and compressed backups so users onlyupload modified portions of a backup file, and files may also be updated inreal time with a continuous backup option.The service has a 5GB free plan and thgives you access to refer and getaccount credits. This service offers a cross-platform backup service thatallows you sync data across all devices. It is not limited to operatingsystems or types of devices.IDrive offers continuous data protection. It is regarded as one of the mostupdated and progressive cloud service providers.One of the key drawbacks of the storage service is the extra charge wheneveryou exceed your storage limit. The service also offers poor upload anddownload speeds, and it can be challenging to understand its user interface.Regardless of the drawbacks, IDrive offers satisfactory performance forregular security and backup needs.Pricing: The service also comes in various storage packages. With one annualpayment, you can choose the 2TB package for $69.5 all the way to 5TB for$99.5. There is also a business option that gives you 250 GB all the way to12.5TB.SugarSyncSugarSync is a cloud service that enables active synchronization of filesacross computers and other devices. The service also allows backup, access,syncing and sharing from a variety of operating systems. For Linux, only adiscontinued unofficial third-party client is available.Users get access to all the features SugarSync has to offer with a free trial.Business users will have the ability to add multiple users and allocatebandwidth to a single account.SugarSync is good for seamless syncing, backup of critical data and easycollaboration. It is an easy way to share documents in a place where everyoneon a team can access and make edits.Organization can be somewhat cumbersome with so many users and the desktop apphides tons of resources and seems like it’s constantly using 30 or more %processor.SugarSync is flexible and allows you to quickly and easily share documents asa team.Pricing: If you intend to continue using the service after the 30-day trial,you have the option of paying for the Personal plan (100GB at $7.49 per month)or the Business plan (250GB at $9.99 per month).MiMediaMiMedia is a cloud service used to control, manage, curate and personalizecontent the way you want it. It is described as a “beautiful, visualexperience…a place to hang out and have fun.”You can sign up for free and get 10GB of storage space and enjoy instantaccess to 2,500 photos, 125 videos, 2,000 songs, 10,000 documents.MiMedia has an easy-to-use interface configuration, streaming of media, realtime backup and always runs in the background. File sharing and larger storageplans are available on this service. It also allows multiple computers on oneaccount. However, MiMedia has no file versioning and no Mac or Linux client.Uploads also seem slower than other services.MiMedia positions itself as not just a backup service. It is a step in theright direction to move your digital life to the cloud so you can access yourmusic, photos and videos wherever you are with whatever device you have.Pricing: The paid plans are Basic (500 GB at $7.99 per month); Plus (1TB at$9.99 per month) and Premium (2TB at $15.99 per month).MediaFire MediaFire is a file hosting, file synchronization, and cloud storage servicefounded by Derek Labian and Tom Langridge. The company provides clientsoftware for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and web browsers.With up to 50GB of free space, you can use MediaFire to back up all yourimportant files.The service allows you to upload thousands of files at once through any webbrowser or with the handy apps for Android, BlackBerry, Windows, iPhone, oriPad. MediaFire makes it easy to share through email, on your website, socialmedia, messenger, or anywhere with a link.There are limitations when you opt for the free version. A lot of interestingoptions are available just for business and pro versions.MediaFire is good for uploading, downloading, viewing, and organizing yourfiles with ease and simplicity. Whether it’s your music collection, homevideos, your resume, or your important work docs, have them in your pocketwhenever you need them.Pricing: The Pro plan gives you 1TB at $3.75 per month billed annually ($5month-to-month). While the Business plan gives you up to 100TB at $40 permonth billed quarterly ($50 month-to-month).Zoho Zoho is a powerful cloud business software for home, startups and smallbusinesses. The Zoho free plan offers you 5GB receipt storage and otherfeatures including email support. But the paid plans offer more than this.The platform works really well for both small businesses, as well as largeenterprises. It can automate daily work activities, monitor sales, and engagecustomers in various platforms.Zoho mobile apps let you take the product to the field where you can getupdates quickly and in real time. The Mobile Edition gives you access to salesrecords and customer data on Android and iPad/iPhone devices to help you stayconnected in the field. Zoho also integrates easily with Google Apps such asDocs, Email, Tasks, Calendar, and Contacts.Despite the features, sometimes bugs occur and the response time for customersupport is also slow.Pricing: You can pay for a Premium Plan at $2.50 per user, per month, billedannually ($3 billed monthly) or you talk with the representatives of theservice to give you a quote for the Enterprise plan.Zoho offers beautiful software to solve business problems. This service bringsyou valuable software for your business.

Advantages of Cloud Storage over Hard Drive Storage

* Accessibility of data: With a cloud based solution you don’t need to be dependent on a hardware device of any sort. If you wish to access your files, all you need is an internet connection. Cloud storage can be used as a back‐up plan by businesses to provide a second copy of important files, which can be accessed from anywhere. * Stronger encryption: Most Cloud systems use strong encryption and security technologies across different layers within the system. Categorize levels of access to team members or collaborators based on roles and expertise. Access to a hard drive is quite easy and anyone can modify data without permission. Cloud storage servers have stronger encryption and firewalls which protects your data from unauthorised users. * Cost: Service providers have started offering cloud services on a pay-per-usage basis, so one would only need to pay for something that’s used, unlike the traditional fixed billing cycles where a consumer would have to pay a fixed amount for a usage period irrespective of the usage. One can also expect other benefits with the service, so in a way consumers get multiple advantages at a mere price. * File sharing/syncing: Files can be shared with other people in other places and on other devices. All you need is an internet connection. Cloud storage automatically syncs changes made to one or more files across allaffiliated devices. * Theft & Data Loss: With cloud storage, you are assured that your data won’t be lost or stolen, especially since security is one of the major talking points of cloud storage services. Viruses, physical damage or formatting errors can render data unreadable by both humans and software on hard drives. Cloud storage systems do not follow this path.

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