With the industries revolutionizing at every possible aspect such as production, manufacturing, marketing and distribution at great speed. There is a lot of data involved in all of the above-mentioned processes. The traditional ways of storing data such as implementing a local server and maintaining all the data locally eventually proved to be cost-consuming rather than being cost-effective. Also, server implementation comes with additional responsibilities like maintaining the server, constantly updating it and provide security. Gradually companies felt the need for an alternative solution for storage purposes. This paved the way for companies to adopt cloud storage solutions for their businesses. In the late 1990s, cloud storage had been widely adopted by many organizations, educational institutions and various business enterprises. But cloud storage solutions are not confined to the business environment alone.
One of the major reasons for adopting cloud solutions is that they are highly flexible, portable and reliable. Cloud-based solutions offer various services such as SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). All that is required to access data is proper internet connectivity and the right login credentials. There are many types of cloud storage solutions based on the requirements – personal, public and private cloud solutions.
Personal cloud storage solutions
Personal cloud storage, as the name suggests, is for storing personal data such as images, videos, documents, music and other data. Personal cloud storage solutions eliminate the need to buy devices with high storage capacities and provide the user with the advantage of using high-capacity cloud-based storage without using control over their data. Also, the data that are stored on the cloud can be accessed by various devices like smartphones, computers and tablets. The personal cloud also enables sharing files without using a public cloud service.
Public cloud storage solutions
Public cloud services, also known as utility storage or online storage, enables individuals as well as organizations to store, edit and manipulate data over the cloud. This type of storage is usually available in a remote cloud server and can be accessed over the internet on a subscription basis. Public cloud storage facilities are provided by the service provider that hosts and manages the infrastructure that is used by multiple users.
Private cloud storage solutions
Private cloud storage solutions are more secure than public and personal cloud-based storage solutions. This method of storage solutions is widely adopted by business enterprises as they deal with mission-critical data. Similar to public cloud storage, private cloud storage also works on a subscription basis. Since these solutions are offered individually to enterprises, it can be tailored to meet their particular needs.
With plenty of cloud storage providers in the market, it is crucial to pick the right provider that can provide sufficient storage, bandwidth and most importantly, security. Some of the well-known cloud storage service providers in the market are listed below:
Pcloud, a reasonably priced cloud storage service, enables storing files of any size and also enables Pcloud transfer to send files up to 5GB for free. Pcloud is cross-platform compatible and offers pricing plans on a monthly, yearly or lifetime basis.
Advantages: appropriate pricing, easy to use, user-friendly UX/UI.
Drawbacks: Has no collaboration tools.
OneDrive, a Microsoft platform, works efficiently alongside Microsoft office and Microsoft 365 suite. For Windows (Windows 10) users, OneDrive has been directly integrated into the file explorer, making the online backup process easier. OneDrive provides amazing features like multipage scanning which can be used to scan multiple pages and save them into a single document.
Advantages: Built-in into Windows OS, easy file synchronization and restoration.
Drawbacks: offers limited storage space for the free-version i.e., 5GB.
iCloud, a product of Apple, is easily accessible across all Apple platforms. Offers free as well as subscription methods. If you are a Windows user with an iPhone, you can still sync the files to iCloud Drive using the official client or the iCloud website to access the iWork applications.
Advantages: Cross-platform compatibility, works efficiently within Apple platforms.
Disadvantages: Similar to OneDrive, iCloud also offers limited storage for free versions i.e., 5GB.
Mega enables users to store data through encrypted connections and the user can have control over the encryption key. This prevents the data from being scanned by others or the provider itself. Mega works well with mobile devices and for desktop users, it provides an open-source sync client that is open to vulnerability checks, to improve security.
Advantages: 50GB storage space for free-versions, user-friendly UI, provides an open-source sync client.
Tresorit, a cloud storage provider with the main focus on increasing security and strong data encryption for both business and personal use. Users can choose the people who can access their data. Moreover, Tresorit offers two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security. The various packages that Tresorit offers, makes it easier for you to select the right plan that is best suited for your needs.
Advantages: Tresorit offers a 14-day free trial, strong end-to-end encryption.
6) Google Drive
Google Drive is suited best for both personal and professional use. It is one of the most commonly used go-to cloud storage applications. Google’s office suite allows users to access and store documents, spreadsheets, ppt and even stores high-quality mobile images via google images.
Advantages: 15GB storage for free versions, cross-platform compatibility, full access to G Suite.
MediaFire, a free cloud storage platform, initially offers 10GB of free storage which can then be increased up to 50GB by referring people on social media. MediaFire supports files up to 4GB large with unlimited downloads. The application has few noticeable features like automatic image and video sync and streaming services.
Advantages: 50GB storage space, cross-platform compatibility, impeccable UX/UI and sharing options.
Drawbacks: Ad-filled free account.
8) Dropbox Business
One of the oldest, with almost 11 years of experience and reliable platforms for business when it comes to cloud storage. This application is highly user-friendly and is compatible with almost every platform. Dropbox enables drag and drop functionality for desktop applications. Keeping a check on your team’s progress becomes easier with Dropbox Business as the administrator can gain insights into the status of each team member. This platform also allows users to create a personal account to maintain all the files in one place.
Advantages: User-friendly and offers 30-day free trial options which can be canceled anytime.
Drawbacks: Dropbox Business contains no online editing tools.
As mentioned earlier, selecting the right cloud storage service is highly important for both customers and businesses in this digital transformation era. The increased usage of cloud services is pushing even the traditional businesses to move towards the digitized, cloud-based business model with the number of advantages they have to offer to the vendors as well as the customers. With this trend of cloud-technology moving forward there will be less focus on the local storage and infrastructure.