By Harpreet Singh Deau
Starting your own business? Or working with an already established company, you might need to be familiar with Cloud Solutions or Services available in the market out there, to store and organize your files and business data.
What is Cloud Storage Solutions or Cloud Storage Services?
In simple words, Cloud Solution is storing your personalized data or files in an off-site location that is accessible whenever and wherever you want. Cloud Storage services have become a cost-effective and scalable alternative to companies where they do not have to worry about paying for something which they are not using at that time, which means that the cloud storage service providers allow you to choose a plan where you know that, at that point of time you only need, let’s say 100Gb of space for storage for your business, so you choose and pay accordingly, you don’t need to be prepared with having excessive or enough storage space expecting you might need it in the future when the existing storage gets filled. The fact about cloud storage services is that it allows you to scale the capacity as your data Volumes increase or decrease. So, this way a company saves by paying for storage as per need, rather than investing in the capital costs of constructing, managing, and maintaining on-site or in-house storage networks.
What key features or factors, or criteria should you look for while choosing a Cloud Storage Service provider that fits your business needs?
It depends on the purpose or what kind of data or files you would want to store in the cloud. Generally, people go for Google Drive, Dropbox, or One Drive daily to store documents as they are some well-known service providers, but there are some better and excellent cloud storage services available in the market based on the kind of features they come up with.
We want to make you familiar with three Cloud Services that perform and provide some brilliant service in the market right now, and a lot of people/entrepreneurs/sole proprietors/companies/businesses are using them or shifting on them.
Google drive (https://www.google.com/drive/)
Above are some best cloud storage services available out there; now, which one to choose? Think of your needs first. Are you going to have it for your personal use or your business or whatever? What are your concerns or priorities? Would you need Backup, File sharing, Synchronization, Privacy, Encryption, etc.? Are you going to sign up for monthly, annual, or lifetime use? So. It depends on your needs and the features being provided by the cloud service provider.
If opting for the Lifetime Use
We would recommend pcloud and Icedrive cloud storage services to check out if you are looking for lifetime use.
Pcloud offers 10GB of storage for free, and it goes up to 2TB for $350(One-time payment), which is a premium lifetime plan provided by the company. They also offer a 500GB premium plan for $175 which is again a one-time payment.
Likewise, pcloud Icedrive too offers initial 10GB of storage for free and then goes up from 150GB for $59, 1TB for $149 to 5TB for $499.
pcloud has a long performance history where icedrive is pretty new to the market and seems very promising.
Opting while understanding the key features and services
You would want the data that you have stored in the cloud does not to take up your hard drive’s space and that’s a very crucial feature you should look for while choosing a cloud storage service.
Save your Space.
How reliable is the service, is the file synchronization working without any flaws, or when are trying to upload a heavy load of files, is it going in smoothly without any lags or interruptions, which is one of the most important features when you are working with files and data daily, you would want your work go flexible and smooth.
Sharing is one of the most crucial features when using cloud services for your business needs when you need to share any of your data or any file with any other person or your colleague. Sharing features can prove to be one of the best services provided by a cloud service provider. It would save you time and enables flexibility in your business workflows if you could easily share business-related or tasks related files or documents with another person.
Security and Encryption
You wouldn’t want your personalized data to be disclosed to or to land in the wrong hands with sharing. You should look for the level of Security and Encryption the cloud storage service comes with if it has the Zero-Knowledge Encryption (means that you, and only you, are the only individual that can view and decrypt your data). And from our list Sync, pcloud, and Icedrive are the ones that have Zero-knowledge encryption where Sync offers you 5GB of storage for free and allows 5GB of data transfer (with 30-days file history recovery), then comes up with 2TB of storage for $8 per month allowing you to transfer unlimited data (with 180-Days file history recovery). Check more of their offerings and select as per your needs. One thing I would like to mention about Sync, it allows sharing of data with your Password Protected even in the Free package, for which you wouldn’t want to say ‘No’ to Sync. But again, Sync is when your first and foremost concern is security and encryption. One more point I would like to mention about Sync is that it has servers in Canada that enables you access to your data even if you are out of the United States, but on the other hand, pcloud is better in terms of speed compared to Sync.
Pcloud has better Drive features where you can just simply drag and dump your files into the pcloud and it doesn’t take up your hard drive space, which is simply a fantastic feature that saves a lot of your precious time. Pcloud has this unique feature of ‘File Requests’ where you can request a third person to upload files into your folders which is again a super cool feature for people like freelancers or people in the media industry where they can easily and securely share files. But unlike Sync, the encryption offered by pcloud, is a paid service which is something to keep in mind. It has a selective file synchronization option that allows you to select which files or folders you want to sync with your hard drive.
Icedrive has built-in Zero-Knowledge Encryption and is the only encrypted cloud storage solution to use the bulletproof Twofish algorithm, which cryptographers Widely accept as a more secure solution than AES/Rijndael (Advanced Encryption Standard). It has a fantastic user interface, great versioning, and file previews It comes with a Free plan of 10GB of storage if you want to give it a try.
Now talking about Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive.
Dropbox is a well-known cloud service already. It has a great integration, excellent customer support system, best-in-class sync technology, uses Zapier, which you can use for automation, but one thing we would like to highlight about Dropbox is its collaborations and partnerships. “Media and entertainment companies have unique needs when it comes to collaboration”-Dropbox. Dropbox has expanded its partnerships with Canva, Final Draft, Frame.io, Getty Images, Shift.io, Marvel, Widen, and many more, which has proved to be an excellent option for people in Media and Entertainment industry, so if you are one of that, then you might give it a try. Dropbox offers 2TB of storage for $15.99/month(CA) for individuals and goes up to unlimited storage for $33/user/month advanced plans for larger teams.
Google Drive gives you 15GB of free storage shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. We would suggest opting for Google Drive when you are using Google docs, Gmail for collaborations and professional or business-related emails, Google meets for virtual meets, Google Slides, Chats, Sheets on a daily basis as all these tools comes with every plan you would choose. Again it depends on your needs. Now, as we mentioned before, 15GB for free, 100GB when you upgrade to Google One, then they have Business starter pack which is $7.80/month which comes with 30GB of storage per user and goes up to Business Plus pack offering 5TB of storage for $23.40/month.
We count One Drive as a useful cloud solution among students, especially or professionals using Microsoft apps or products on a regular basis. It can prove to be a reliable and flexible source of keeping and managing your business documents when you rely on apps like Office, Skype, One Note, and Outlook, as all these are integrated into One Drive’s. However, it is lacking in having Zero-knowledge Encryption.
You could look for Plans and Pricing for the Cloud providers mentioned above, or even if you want to try any other provider which we have not mentioned(as there number of them available out there), go for it, try out the trial versions first and then make up your mind after examining the features we told you.