Best Cloud Storage 2021
Cloud storage is a key ingredient for a successful business, especially now that more people are working from home than ever before. In this review, we will address what cloud storage is, how cloud storage works, outline the criteria for choosing cloud storage, and then tell you all about the best cloud storage solutions available in 2021.
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What is cloud storage?
Cloud storage is a virtual storage space hosted by a third party that allows users to securely access the data at any time from any location, such as a web browser, desktop application, or mobile app. Files and folders stored in the cloud can be easily shared with others by granting permission.
How does cloud storage work?
Cloud storage works by saving your data or files to remote servers. When you click save on your computer, the file is saved to the computer’s hard drive. However, when you save something to the cloud, it sends it over the internet to the server hosting your cloud’s data. Think of cloud storage as a virtual hard drive accessible from anywhere, so instead of having a hard drive backup, you have a cloud backup.
Top Cloud Storage Solutions
Best for lifetime subscriptions
pCloud offers secure and simple cloud storage for both personal and professional digital assets. Security takes on a whole new meaning with pCloud Crypto; a zero-knowledge file encryption feature to protect sensitive data. Not only does pCloud pack tons of impressive features into all of their plans, but every tier also offers unlimited devices and the option for a lifetime subscription. You won’t find many cloud storage services offering these kinds of perks. pCloud is a fantastic choice in terms of value for all types of cloud storage needs with the added bonus of speedy file syncing and sharing that makes other cloud storage providers look like turtle on a Sunday stroll. pCloud pricing starts at $175 (500GB) for a lifetime personal subscription and $7.99 (1TB per user) a month for business users.
pCloud is the only cloud storage service that offers individual accounts the option to purchase a lifetime subscription for one fee. We aren’t usually the ones to suggest a lifetime commitment, but we’ll make an exception for these premium features.
pCloud Crypto is one of the most secure ways to encrypt your data. Encrypted files can only be seen and accessed from your storage when you unlock them by entering your encryption password (Crypto Pass).
Unlimited File Size
As long as you have enough space in your pCloud account, there is absolutely no limit on the size of files and folders that you can upload and share. If you work with large files that tend to put a strain on storage, then this feature could be a real lifesaver.
Best for hybrid storage and backup
IDrive has been around for almost 15 years, making a major name for itself as a common-sense solution to time-consuming backups. This powerhouse product combines secure online backups with advanced storage features at a rock-bottom price you just can’t beat. Files are protected with 256-bit encryption and email-based multi-factor authentication required to access mobile and web apps. The Snapshots and Versioning feature makes collaboration and revisions a heck of a lot easier by storing up to 30 previous versions of all files on your account. IDrive also allows you to backup unlimited devices to a single IDrive account, including external hard drives. The interface is simple, organized, and easy to use, which always wins some points when looking for new software services. For personal accounts, IDrive starts at $59.62 per year and $74.62 for business accounts.
Any files you backup in IDrive will never be deleted unless you delete them manually. Even files that have been deleted from your computer will still stay backed up forever until you run an Archive Cleanup to match your computer data to your account.
Quickly transfer large amounts of data to your online account. IDrive will send you a secure temporary storage device to upload your data that you simply ship back and they will upload it to your account within a week.
Photo facial recognition helps to organize photos based on the people in your pictures. This AI-powered tool auto-categorizes photos into galleries with thumbnail previews of every detected face.
Best for backup only
Backblaze is sleek and minimalistic, but don’t let that fool you; this service is making waves in the cloud storage marketplace. Backblaze chose to toss out collaboration and file-sharing capabilities to focus solely on robust data backup. The perfect choice for rookies or cloud storage vets, this service is a refreshingly easy, feature-rich storage platform with an affordable price tag. Protect your business with unlimited file storage to backup critical data from computers, NAS, servers, and more. The lowest-paid plan starts at $6.00 a month for both personal and business accounts, with special pricing for annual plans. Backblaze makes it simple to safeguard systems without the need to shell out a ton of money, so you get all the features without the dreaded buyers’ remorse.
Unlimited Storage Space
Backblaze lets you backup an unlimited amount of data, regardless of how large your files are. You will never have to worry about hitting the storage limit because it simply doesn’t exist.
Who has time for manual backups anymore? That’s right—no one. Backblaze will continuously backup all of your files, including photos, music, documents, and more. It’s that easy.
Hard Drive Restore
If you are looking to restore data, Backblaze can send you restored files on a USB or a hard drive via FedEx. Once you restore your files and send the USB or hard drive back, your money is refunded in full.
Best for mobile app integration
Sugarsync is powerful and simple—two major things to look for in a cloud storage service. Sugarsync will automatically sync as many folders as you want, eliminating the need to fill your brain with mental notes of where you saved the most recent file version. When it comes to security, the latest version has introduced a feature called protected folders that is similar to file versioning, letting you keep up to 12 file versions. TLS (Transport Layer Security) ensures your files are protected during transfer, while 256-bit AES encryption safeguards them in the cloud. The desktop app is sleek and easy to use, but what makes Sugarsync stand out is how impressive the mobile app is. Personal cloud storage plans start at 7.49 per month, and business plans are $55 per month.
This powerful tool makes it easy to remove all synchronized files from any computer in the event of lost or stolen data. Since data is backed up to the cloud, you can recover all of your folders on a new device.
All data is encrypted before leaving SugarSync servers. You can easily restore and share files from any computer or mobile device with the peace of mind knowing that your data is secure.
Send files of any size remotely from your mobile phone or tablet, even if your computers are turned off. Sugarsync lets you browse, sync, share, access, and backup files all from the intuitive app for iOS and Android.
Best for combining Google and Microsoft workflows
Dropbox has name recognition that allows them to be one of the most mainstream cloud storage options in the game. The collaboration features that Dropbox offers make it one of the best cloud storage options for business if you are looking to integrate Microsoft and Google files. The CEO of Dropbox came up with the idea for a file hosting service when he needed to work on some files during a long bus ride but forgot his USB stick, leaving him with no access to his files. Today, Dropbox continues to expand its features to tackle everyday tasks with one simple tool. Dropbox will help keep your team organized with workflows that are more in sync and secure. Plans start at $12.99 for individuals and $17.50/user per month for teams.
This feature allows your team to access one collaborative document to effortlessly organize projects with tables, to-do lists, and timelines. This co-editing tool comes free with all Dropbox plans.
Assign sharing roles to give access to files and folders to only those who need it. You can also restrict downloads and put an expiration date on links for sharing files, so you never have to worry about your content ending up in the wrong hands.
Keep your team on track with the ability to sync and connect to over 3,000 applications. Get the most out of the tools you use every day like Slack, Zoom, HelloSign, and more, all without having to leave Dropbox.
Our Rating Process
Much like choosing any software or service for your business, you want to ensure that the tool you select can effectively manage your requirements. We assessed cloud storage services based on storage space, network security, affordability, and ease-of-use. We also scored our list of top-rated products out of 5 points to help you find the right solution for your storage needs.
There’s no one size fits all. Your cloud choice depends how many users and devices need access, in addition to the volume and type of files you will be uploading. There are a number of vendors that offer plan increments for flexible storage space that scales with your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost of cloud storage can vary significantly. Many vendors will provide a few free GB of storage for personal use. If you are looking to purchase cloud storage for a business, you can expect to pay monthly or per gigabyte or terabyte. Many cloud storage services offer a free trial for 30 days, decreasing the upfront cost while deciding which storage plans may be the best for you.
Google Drive tends to be a cloud storage option for Android and Google products users, where iCloud drive is the most popular storage option for Apple users. When comparing the two, Google Drive does offer more opportunities for collaboration no matter which operating system you use. Google offers triple the amount of free cloud storage space for users at 15GB, whereas iCloud only offers 5GB. iCloud is only available on Apple devices, where Google Drive is available to Android and Apple users on mobile devices. If you’d like to access iCloud from a different device, you will need to use the web portal.
Nothing on the internet is ever 100% safe and secure, which is why it’s so important to be smart about internet security. You can use security features to guide your decision in choosing the best cloud storage for business, placing more consideration on products that have two-factor authentication or anti-virus protection.