Google Drive is a cloud file storage, synchronization, and collaboration platform and service, that features Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for document editing and presentation.
Cloud Storage Providers
Best Cloud Storage Providers
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Cloud Storage Providers Overview
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage lets users store and sync their data to an online server.
Because they are stored in the cloud rather than on a local drive, files are available on various devices. This allows a person to access files from multiple computers, as well as mobile devices to view, edit, and comment on files. It replaces workarounds like emailing yourself documents. Cloud storage can also act as a backup system for your hard drive.
Cloud storage solutions support a variety of file types. Supported files typically include:
The most user-friendly cloud storage solutions integrate with other applications for easy edits, playback, and sharing.
Cloud storage is used by individuals to manage personal files, as well as by businesses for file sharing and backup. Some feature sets are very important to businesses but may not be relevant to individuals. Admin and security features, for example, are designed for corporate enterprises where data security and availability are concerns for files stored in the cloud.
Cloud Storage Features & Capabilities
These features are core to every cloud storage platform. Typically, file management capabilities include:
A search function to easily find files and search within files
Device syncing to update files connected to the cloud across devices
A web interface, with no install required
Support for multiple file types
Most cloud storage providers also feature collaboration functionality. Not all tools will have the same level of tracking and control. Collaboration features may include:
Notifications when files are changed by others
File sharing, with the ability to set editing and view-only permissions
Change tracking and versioning
Security & Administration
Security and administration features are important considerations for enterprises. Security is particularly important for storing sensitive, private data in the cloud.
Cloud storage providers offer different levels of security to address concerns. For example, Google Drive lets users set up two-step verification. CertainSafe is HIPAA compliant. Code42 lets users backup files in the cloud and on another machine. This is so that they are safe and available should something happen to the user’s local drive, even without internet access.
In addition to protection from outside access, users should consider the provider’s security policy. Microsoft reserves the right to scan OneDrive user files. Google states it will not access user files on Google Drive unless prompted by law enforcement.
Possible security and administration features include:
Single sign-on with Active Directory/SAML based identity providers
Two-step verification for added security
End-user encryption (for integrations)
User and role management
Control over file access, sharing and editing permissions
Storage limits for individual users or groups
Choosing where files will be stored, individual users’ storage management
Device management, restricting access to certain devices
File sharing is one of the most common uses for cloud storage. Most cloud storage providers offer a mechanism to let users share files. The level of access, versioning, and change tracking varies by product.
Some providers put a cap on file upload size. This is important for anyone looking to upload and share files larger than 2GB.
File sharing is executed in a few different ways:
Making users co-owners of files
Sending files to users
Emailing users a link to the file in the cloud
Cloud storage solutions that prioritize availability and make file sharing easy often aren’t as strong on security. The reverse is true as well.
Cloud Storage Platform Considerations
The platform’s performance, reliability, and integrations are all important considerations for any business use case. Some enterprise cloud storage platforms monitor user activity and storage and offer reporting capabilities for platform administrators. International businesses can find multilingual and multi-currency capabilities on some platforms.
Free Cloud Storage
Many cloud storage providers offer some amount of storage space for free. For example, DropBox offers 2GB of free storage, and Google Drive offers 15GB. Sometimes providers have a hard limit on free storage. Other providers, like Microsoft OneDrive, incentivize more storage with referral programs.
Free accounts do not usually include all the features available to paid customers. Cloud storage vendors with advanced security features do not usually have free accounts.
Paid Cloud Storage
For users who need to move beyond free options, pricing for cloud storage is typically per user, per month. Plans usually have a fixed storage capacity, with prices increasing for more storage and/or added features. Users can find paid cloud storage options with monthly costs as low as $10 for 1TB of storage.
Cloud Storage Products
Listings (1-25 of 53)
Dropbox Business expands on the company's cloud storage service by providing additional features, such as lost file recovery for an extended period, integration with popular office suites (e.g. Office 365), the Dropbox Paper collaboration extension, two-factor authentication (2FA) and single sign...
Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then t...
OneDrive from Microsoft is a cloud storage and file syncing service.
Dropbox is a service for file syncing and sharing, or for cloud storage.
Box is an online file-sharing, storage and collaboration service provider that caters to individual users as well as businesses.
Apple iCloud is a document management software offering from Apple. It includes features such as access to music, photos, calendars, contacts, and documents, and it is built into every new iOS device.
Microsoft's OneNote is a digital note-taking app, supporting photos, annotating, web page clipping, emailing, and synchronizing notes across devices.
ShareFile is a cloud-based file sharing and storage service built for business. The product was acquired by Citrix Systems in 2011.
An integrated solution, designed for your small or medium-sized businesses, bringing together the best-in-class productivity of Office 365 with advanced security capabilities to help safeguard your data from external threats and help protect against data leaks. With Microsoft 365 Business, you ca...
Egnyte provides a cloud computing infrastructure product for online file storage, file sharing and computer backup for small, medium, and large business enterprises.
Amazon Cloud Drive allows users to aggregate all of their digital content, including photos and videos, in one place. The Cloud Drive is build in to Amazon devices. Users have secure access from any computer, or via their free mobile apps. Amazon Cloud Drive offers a free 3-month trial, and prici...
Vembu BDR Suite is a comprehensive universal backup solution catering to the backup, recovery and disaster recovery needs of diverse and heterogeneous IT environments. Through its flagship offering, Vembu can backup VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Physical Servers, Workstations, Exchange Items...
ownCloud is a self-hosted open source file syncing and sharing option, from the Boston-based company of the same name.
MediaFire is a simple file sharing and storage platform. It allows users to store, share, and view media files within the MediaFire online, desktop, or mobile app interface. The vendor says MediaFire's file storage system is private and secure. In terms of collaboration, users can invite friend...
SugarSync is a cloud storage and backup solution designed for small businesses.
Google Cloud Storage is an option for storing and sharing data in the cloud.
Acronis Backup Cloud is a Backup-as-a-Service solution for Service Providers.
eFileCabinet aims to help businesses reduce their dependency on paper and enable them to manage all files and paperwork electronically. The vendor says they help their customers set up document management systems that are fully compliant with all FINRA, HIPAA, SEC and NASD regulations. The vendor...
WeTransfer in the Netherlands offers a large file transfer service which includes up to 20 GB transfer with its Pro service, as well as 100 GB of cloud storage.
Cubby is a file sync, file sharing, and cloud storage offering from LogMeIn, Inc.
The Verizon Cloud is a cloud storage solution, integrating technologies from CloudSwitch (acquired in 2011).
IDrive is a cloud storage and online backup solution. They offer a Basic 5GB plan for free, a Personal plan with 1TB for $44.62/yr, or a Business plan with 250 GB for $74.62/yr. IDrive Business allows users to create multiple sub-accounts within their storage space, sync files to computers and ...
ADrive is a web storage vendor offering 50GB of storage for free, with the only bandwidth limitations being in the size of the files you can upload. This free version of the product is supplemented with ads. The paid versions of the product do not have ads.
StorSimple was acquired by Microsoft in 2012. The StorSimple storage gateway appliance is now a part of Microsoft's Azure StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage solution.