9 Popular Cloud Storage Providers: Which Is Right for You?

We’ll introduce you to nine cloud storage providers and provide step-by-step instructions for selecting the ideal provider that aligns with your specific needs.

Brien Posey

June 8, 2023

6 Min Read
digital cloud concept

Cloud storage is a straightforward concept where data is saved in a cloud-based storage repository rather than solely on your computer. However, cloud storage providers differ significantly in the services they offer, the costs involved, and the features provided. For example, some providers focus only on offsite backup storage, while others provide additional capabilities like hot storage.

Here are nine popular cloud storage providers that offer services for both consumers and businesses.

1. Sync.com

Sync.com is a file sync and share service that allows users to synchronize their devices with cloud storage. This makes files accessible from anywhere and easy to share with other users.

2. IDrive

IDrive specializes in cloud backups, allowing users to back up multiple devices to the cloud. The company offers snapshots and versioning capabilities and supports backing up SaaS services like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. Additionally, the company offers Cloud Drive for file storage and syncing across devices.

3. Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud storage service that simplifies storing files in the cloud. It enables easy file sharing and integrates with Google Workspace apps for collaborative work.

4. Amazon Cloud Drive

While Amazon is known for enterprise-grade cloud storage services such as Amazon S3 or Amazon EFS, it also provides a basic file storage service called Amazon Cloud Drive. Users can upload and share files, and photos uploaded to Cloud Drive are accessible through Amazon Photos.

5. Icedrive

Icedrive offers cloud storage services with a somewhat unique feature: Users can access their data directly from their computer’s operating system as if it was stored on a local hard disk. Icedrive uses caching to improve performance for frequently accessed data.

6. Box

Box is a cloud storage provider that focuses on business users. Box offers features such as e-signature capabilities, workflows, and advanced security features to cater to business users.

7. Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s primary cloud-based file storage offering (not to be confused with Azure Files). It is integrated into the Windows operating system, making it convenient to save files to OneDrive. Microsoft applications like Office also natively support saving files to OneDrive. OneDrive provides anywhere access to files and the ability to share files with others.

8. iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage offering, specifically designed for users of Apple devices. It automatically syncs data from iPhones and other Apple devices to iCloud for safekeeping. The data can be accessed through web browsers or Apple devices.

9. OpenDrive

OpenDrive offers unlimited storage capacity along with backup services, file versioning, and a slew of other features such as uploading files via email. OpenDrive caters to users who require large amounts of storage space.

How To Select a Cloud Storage Provider That Is Right for You

Selecting the right cloud storage provider can be a difficult task, but here are clear steps to help you make an informed decision.

Step 1: Determine how much storage you need

The first thing that you’ll need to figure out is how much cloud storage capacity you require. Some cloud storage providers offer unlimited storage, while others have limits. Since providers usually charge based on usage, estimating your storage needs is crucial as it directly affects the cost.

Step 2: Consider file compatibility

Check if the cloud storage provider supports the types of files you intend to store. Although less problematic today than it once was, some cloud storage providers may have restrictions on certain file formats or impose file size limits. For example, some providers do not allow video files to be stored on their platforms.

Step 3: Evaluate security and privacy features

Ensure that the provider prioritizes data security and privacy. Consider any specific requirements you might have, especially if you work in regulated industries. Review the provider’s terms of service to confirm they don’t compromise your privacy.

Step 4: Assess ease of use

Look for a cloud storage provider that is user-friendly and suits your technical capabilities. Some cloud storage services may have a simpler interface and usability, making it easier to manage and access your stored data.

Step 5: Compare pricing

Many cloud storage providers offer a certain amount of free storage capacity. Typically, the amount of free storage is only enough to meet the needs of a consumer, not a business. Analyze the pricing tiers and consider the overall value and features offered by each provider.

Step 6: Read reliable user reviews

Take user reviews into account but be cautious of fake reviews or biased opinions. User feedback can provide insight into specific features or experiences not highlighted on the cloud storage provider’s website.

Step 7: Test multiple providers

As previously noted, many cloud storage providers offer a small amount of free storage. This free storage can be useful for taking the service for a test drive. This allows you to compare the performance, features, and user interface before making your final decision.

Step 8: Start with a pilot deployment

Once you have narrowed down your options, begin with a pilot deployment rather than fully committing to a provider. This lets you assess how well the chosen provider meets your needs and ensure it is a suitable fit for your organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main features of cloud storage?

Every cloud storage provider is different and therefore offers a different set of features. In general, they allow users to upload and store files in the cloud, providing options for long-term storage and file sharing. Many providers go beyond these basics by offering additional features like device synchronization and data backup.

What is the encryption used by cloud storage providers?

Every cloud storage provider chooses its own encryption algorithm, so there isn’t necessarily one single type of encryption that is used by all providers. Having said that, cloud providers encrypt data in transit (while it is being uploaded or downloaded) as well as at the storage level.

What is the security of cloud storage?

Every cloud storage provider has a different security approach. At a minimum, providers authenticate users to ensure authorized access to stored data. Cloud providers also encrypt data both in transit and at rest. Some providers perform malware scanning to prevent infected files from being stored or accessed.

What is the backup offered by cloud storage providers?

Backup mechanisms differ among cloud storage providers. Certain providers offer file versioning, allowing users to revert to previous versions of files in case of accidental overwriting. Other providers may provide more advanced backup capabilities, including integration with third-party backup applications.

What are the mobile applications offered by cloud storage providers?

Not every cloud storage provider offers a mobile application. Providers with mobile applications enable users to conveniently access stored data from their mobile devices. Mobile applications also serve as tools for synchronizing data between the mobile device to the cloud storage.

About the Author(s)

Brien Posey

Brien Posey is a bestselling technology author, a speaker, and a 20X Microsoft MVP. In addition to his ongoing work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years training as a commercial astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space.


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