Cloud Storage Systems
Cloud Storage Systems TrustMap
TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.
Druva Data Resiliency Cloud Workforce mobility and the rise of cloud services is an essential part of any business, but it creates a number of challenges for IT. Data spread across devices and cloud services, unpredictable schedules, and varied network connections all complicate…
Linode helps users simplify cloud infrastructure with Linux virtual machines and tools to develop, deploy, and scale applications. Linode aims to make virtual computing more accessible, affordable, and simple. The vendor states the Linode infrastructure-as-a-service platform is…
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.
Box is an online cloud content management solution that caters to individual users as well as businesses.
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)…
Dropbox is a service for file syncing and sharing, or for cloud storage.
IBM Cloud Object Storage is an IBM Cloud product in the endpoint backup and IaaS categories. It is commonly used for data archiving and backup, for web and mobile applications, and as scalable, persistent storage for analytics.
OneDrive from Microsoft is a cloud storage and file syncing service.
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…
An integrated solution, designed for small or medium-sized businesses, bringing together the productivity of Microsoft Office with advanced security capabilities to help safeguard data from external threats and help protect against data leaks. With Microsoft 365 Business Premium,…
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.
Vembu BDR Suite is a universal backup solution catering to the backup, recovery, and disaster recovery needs of diverse IT environments. It is also optimized for service providers who deliver BaaS and DRaaS to their customers.
Egnyte provides a unified content security and governance solution for collaboration, data security, compliance, and threat detection for multicloud businesses. More than 16,000 organizations trust Egnyte to reduce risks and IT complexity, prevent ransomware and IP theft, and boost…
Amazon 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 Drive offers a free 3-month trial, and…
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…
ownCloud is a self-hosted open source file syncing and sharing option, from the Boston-based company of the same name.
IBM Aspera® on Cloud is a hosted service designed to allow users to quickly and reliably send and share files and data sets of any size and type across a hybrid cloud environment — according the vendor, up to hundreds of times faster than FTP and HTTP. Collaborate with internal…
The Keepit platform, from the company of the same name in Copenhagen, is a solution that protects cloud data, boasting simple deployment and restore options that enable users to recover historic data. The Keepit platform supports any Cloud Workload and offers full retention on the…
Nextcloud offers their open source, self-hosted Content Collaboration Platform, combining what they describe as an easy user interface for consumer-grade cloud solutions with the security and compliance measures enterprises need. Nextcloud brings together universal access to…
Acronis Advanced Backup (or formerly Acronis Backup Cloud) is a Backup-as-a-Service solution for Service Providers, available to add to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud.
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 systems support a variety of file types. Supported files typically include:
- Text documents
- Audio files
The most user-friendly cloud storage systems 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 systems 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
- Simultaneous editing
- 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 systems offer different levels of security to address concerns. For example, Google Cloud Storage 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 system’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 software
- 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 software offers a mechanism to let users share files. The level of access, versioning, and change tracking varies by product.
Some cloud storage systems 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 systems that prioritize availability and make file sharing easy often aren’t as strong on security. The reverse is true as well.
Cloud Storage Platform Comparison
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 also find multilingual and multi-currency capabilities on some platforms. To more easily compare Cloud Storage Systems look for tools that accomplish the following:
Security: Don’t take security for granted with cloud storage software, and only store your data with reputable cloud storage providers (who have rock solid reviews, for example). Features you shouldn’t settle on including advanced firewall protection, data encryption, event logging, and threat detection. You also want to make sure that the cloud storage provider you work with provides details into how they manage their data centers and keep them secure.
Backup & Recovery: While it’s definitely important to keep your data safe from cyberattacks, 90% of data breaches are caused by employee error. Some cloud storage systems like Dropbox, for example, offer backup and recovery features for accidentally deleted files. Tools such as file recovery, version history, deletion confirmations, and automated backups are great options that should be on your shortlist of capabilities when looking for a cloud storage system.
Storage Limits: While many cloud storage systems have free storage options, there are caps on the amount of storage you can use for free. Free storage options can range from 5GB to 15GB depending on the cloud storage provider, and the types of files you’re storing. If you’re managing the storage of severan users, free options will not provide a high enough storage capacity. However, if each user manages their own cloud storage account, free options can be viable for professional use.
Cloud Storage Pricing Information
Google Drive Starting Price: $1.99 / Maximum Price: $9.99 / Free Trial? Yes
Box Starting Price: $7.00 / Maximum Price: $47.00 / Free Trial? Yes
DropBox Business Starting Price: $15.00/ Maximum Price: $25.00 / Free Trial? Yes
OneDrive Starting Price: $5.00/ Maximum Price: $12.50 / Free Trial? Yes
EverNote Starting Price: $7.99/ Maximum Price: $14.99 / Free Trial? Yes
Free Cloud Storage
Many cloud storage systems offer some amount of storage space for free. For example, DropBox offers 2GB of free storage, and Google Drive offers 15GB. Sometimes systems have a hard limit on free storage. Other systems, 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 software 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.
- When to Use Cloud vs. On-Premise Backup Solutions
- On-Premise to Cloud Migration: Lessons from an IT Project Manager
The following Cloud Storage Systems offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Best Of Awards methodology here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some cloud storage providers offer a set amount of free storage, which can range from 2GB up to 15GB. DropBox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive all offer some level of free storage. However, this free storage usually doesn’t include all the functionality that comes with a paid plan.
Paid cloud storage plans can range anywhere from $2 per month up to $100 per month, depending on the number of people who need access to the online storage and how much storage space is available.