Best Cloud Storage and File Sharing Services

Since the dissolution of floppy discs and the impracticalities of a USB drive, the rise of cloud storage and file sharing services has largely increased in recent times. 

Everything is easier when it’s accessible through the touch of a button on your device. Even if you want to share files that are private, you have options to do so through file sharing services that can guarantee there is a two-step verification before opening sensitive information.

Cloud storage services are versatile and come with many options and plans to accommodate all of your filing needs. 

Sharing and collaboration has never been easier now that we don’t have restrictions on file sizes and amount of files that we can share at one time. 

Whether you need a cloud storage service for your small business or you are simply looking for the best free cloud storage, there is a service for you out there. Don’t fret, this guide includes free trials. 

What Is Cloud Storage?

“Throw it in the cloud” and “Can you save that on Dropbox?” are common phrases that we are used to hearing. But what does it all mean?

When someone tells you to save something in the cloud, is that something that’s only available on Mac computers? Or is it some mystical place where all of our files go when we save them from our device? 

Well, cloud storage is a place to save data on remote servers that users can access from “the cloud” or, to put it in simpler terms, the Internet. 

When you store a lot of files in your computer, especially extensive files and media, computers become slow and cannot function at maximum speed and capacity. 

A computer comes with limited storage space. This is the main reason computer techs are always encouraging users to save their files in an external drive as backup or in a storage service. 

A cloud storage service provides users peace of mind and functionality. By storing files in cloud storage, your data is managed, maintained, and backed up remotely.

Users can remotely upload and download content from their storage services whenever they want.  

Even if there is a fee to pay for the service or it comes with data caps, most cloud storage services allow users to extend their data caps to accommodate their needs. 

Plus, you can free yourself from purchasing USB drives or servers to share and/or carry your data anywhere outside of your own filing storage. 

How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Cloud storage lets users access their data from the Internet, so it doesn’t matter where you are, you will have access to your files as long as you have an Internet connection

The way cloud storage works is actually very simple. All the data that you are uploading into your cloud storage service is saved in data servers that are maintained by a third party and are located pretty much anywhere in the world. 

This is the feature that makes cloud storage accessible and easy to use; since the data is hosted on servers that are everywhere, users can easily access and share their files from any point that has an Internet connection without needing their personal computer with them.

A lot of cloud storage services offer a certain amount of free cloud storage for users to save their files. However, depending on your saving and sharing needs, cloud services offer paid plans to increase storage space. 

Don’t worry though, even if you have to pay for your cloud storage, in the long run, you will save money that you would have spent on stronger servers for your business (or personal use). 

Even though you might have to pay for a service, you will only pay for the amount of space that you are using with the data. 

Additional Features of Cloud Storage

Besides the fact that saving things online is convenient, cloud storage also provides an array of services for their users.

  • Supports multiple files of various sizes, including: video, images, music, movies, and much more. 
  • Ability to download and upload data (or files) from anywhere in the world without the need of your personal devices. 
  • Users can share access to their files with other users and even give them permission to edit, revise, or add things to a file. 
  • Cloud storage services have an option to save data with strong passwords available only through the permission of the owner.
  • Users have the option of restoring accidentally deleted files by linking storage accounts to other devices like tablets and phones. 

Cloud Storage vs. Online Backup

Even though cloud storage and online backup have similarities, they are not the same thing. 

Cloud storage refers to saving data online through a storage service. Think of it as your computer’s hard drive, except instead of it being a part of your computer, it’s a part of the Internet. 

Online backup is there to provide a copy of what is already on your computer and save it on a cloud storage for safety. 

An online backup is a way for you to recover anything lost on the computer due to it being stolen or crashing. 

Keep in mind that even though you might use your cloud storage to save a backup, cloud storages rarely replicate file structure. They are there for users to save data, but it’s not their job to run online backups. 

It’s also worth mentioning that online back ups offer protection against data loss and can restore everything back exactly the way it was in case your device crashes. 

Devices usually prompt their users to run online backups for safety. Next time this happens, don’t let the opportunity pass. It’s always a good idea to have a backup. 

Types of Cloud Storage Available

There are different cloud storages for every type of user. Users have a range between personal, private, or public cloud storage depending on their needs. 

  1. Public
    These are the most common types of storage services available. Think of Google Drive and pCloud—they are services that have a ton of data centers everywhere and allow users to store their data in the cloud. They’re easy to use, do not require a membership, and can store an infinite amount of stuff in them.
  2. Personal
    These are the services that allow users to set up their own personal cloud storages, which are better for users that want to use their cloud storage for media files such as movies and music.
    Personal cloud storage services normally offer faster speeds from your personal home network instead of using a server over the Internet which might not provide the same type of reliability with speed.
    Having a personal cloud storage only permits the person who sets it up to have complete access to it. If you’re worried about security, this is the best type of service to go for.
  3. Private
    This is more applicable for businesses. This is because a business can set up their own private storage so that they can privately share company information through files and be able to upload anything pertaining to the company to their own private cloud storage. Legally, businesses are required to store data on site, which is what makes this type of storage so great. 

Best Cloud Storage Services

iDrive Cloud Storage

  • Offers free storage for up to 5G.
  • Allows an unlimited number of devices to use the service.
  • Offers good security and it’s easy to use. 
  • Ability to sync files and share them by email, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • IT admins can restore and backup previous files. 
  • Downside: this service does not offer two-factor authentication. 

Backblaze Cloud Storage

  • Unlimited storage 
  • Available for personal use and business backup needs.
  • Users can get Backblaze completely free for a year if they sign up to ExpressVPN.
  • Easy to use and ability to back up from any device through the app.
  • They encrypt data for security. 
  • Downside: only allows one computer to subscribe for storage.

pCloud Cloud Storage

  • Offers 10GB of storage completely free.
  • Allows up to five devices to use the storage. 
  • pCloud is one of the few services that offers a lifetime subscription.
  • Unlimited remote upload and 30-day trash history.
  • No limits to the sizes of the files uploaded.
    • Also allows users to choose where they want their data to be stored, giving them a choice between the United States and Europe. 
    • Downside: doesn’t offer any collaboration tools. 

Is Cloud Storage Safe?

As a final takeaway, it is worth mentioning that while you may have reservations about storing information online, using a cloud storage service is completely safe. 

While using your own computer’s hard drive to save information may seem like the safest option, in actuality you’re more likely to expose private information through your personal computer than you are through a cloud storage service. 

Remember that hackers can infect computers through malware that gives them access to your hard drive. Cloud storage services offer security measures that protect information against threats and don’t compromise your personal files. 

If you haven’t switched your files to a cloud storage yet, it might be time to rethink that.