The best cloud storage service is Google Drive. For a more in-depth look at the best cloud storage services, check out reviews of our five favorites below.
Cloud storage services are quickly overtaking on-site storage like hard drives and servers as a way for organizations to save and share their files.
And it makes sense. With big players such as Amazon and Google getting into the game, it shouldn’t be a surprise that more and more businesses are turning to them for their storage solutions.
But there are a TON of different cloud storage services out there. How do you go about picking one that works for you and your business?
Luckily, we’re here to help. Below is our list of 5 cloud storage services that knock it out of the park.
What is a cloud storage service?
Cloud storage stores your files, documents, and other digital assets in a series of physical offsite servers known as the cloud.
These storage devices are owned and operated a server hosting business who allow you to store your files on their hardware for a fee.
Think of cloud storage services as a physical storage unit. People and businesses rent storage units out from the storage unit business. They then can use it to hold their items and valuables until they need to use it. The only difference with cloud storage is that it’s all digital assets like files and documents.
And no, there’s not going to be a reality TV show a la Storage Wars about cloud services (yet). So don’t hold your breath.
The 5 Best Cloud Storage Services to consider
Below are our 5 favorite cloud storage services you should consider for your business. They are:
- GoogleDrive – Best free cloud storage service
- Microsoft OneDrive – Best cloud storage servic for PC power users
- Apple’s iCloud – Best cloud storage service for Apple power users
- Dropbox – Most popular cloud storage service
- IDrive – Best cloud storage service for backups
They each come with their own perks and features. What you ultimately choose is up to you and your business’s needs.
#1. Google Drive – Best Free Cloud Storage Service
Without a doubt, you can’t go wrong using Google Drive as your cloud storage solutions. In fact, if your company primarily relies on GSuite, Android, or other Google services already, you should absolutely make use of Google Drive for your cloud storage too.
Heck, there’s a good chance you’re already using Google Drive. Since it gives you 15GB of free storage right off the bat, it’s an incredibly lucrative option for those looking to back up the most essential things from their computers.
Along with being integrated with Android devices as well as Chromebooks, Google Drive also works well with Adobe products, Atlassian, DocuSign, Salesforce, and Slack (aka all the software your team was already using).
As for drawbacks, there aren’t many. However, it can be noted that the interface for Google Drive can be clunky–especially if you’re trying to view a PDF or Microsoft Word document.
For individuals, it’s a no brainer. You get 15GB for free after all. For teams and businesses, you’ll have to also get GSuite if you want more storage. The basic plans for GSuite starts at $6 per user a month and comes with 30GB of cloud storage as well as a host of other great features including a Gmail business email along with Google Meet video conferencing.
After that, you can get the business plan at $12 per user a month and get unlimited cloud storage along with smart cloud search to allow you to search for files and assets across all of G Suite.
The Enterprise plan at $25 per user a month comes with everything in the business plan along with great administrative control and security backups.
#2. Microsoft OneDrive – Best for PC power users
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service solution that is an obvious choice if you and your team are Windows users.
There are great (but obvious) features such as easy integration with Outlook and Microsoft devices. But there are also unique features like automated backups of your PC and document scanning.
Also, with offline access, you’ll be able to get to your files no matter if you’re connected to the Internet or not. OneDrive also offers a very nice featured called the “Personal Vault” which is an even more secure storage area that’s protected by layers of identity verification. That means you’ll be able to store even more sensitive information without worrying about bad actors accessing your files.
Pricing starts for free. However, you’ll only be able to get 5GB of storage with that–which is 3x less than what you’d get with Google Drive for free. After that, here’s what prices look like for individual users along with the features you’d get.
Microsoft also has several lucrative options for businesses and teams looking to expand their storage capacity. It starts out at $5 per user a month and includes 1 TB of storage per user which is pretty nice but it’s not unlimited. After that, you can get the following:
#3. Apple’s iCloud – Best for Apple Power Users
Apple offers a pretty decent cloud storage service that’s great if you’re a regular iPhone,
Macbook, or iMac user.
One very nice feature that comes with iCloud is its integration with the Mac Finder app. That means you’ll be able to store any files into iCloud from your Finder app. If you leverage iWork, you’ll also be able to integrate iCloud with the entire suite of products.
It comes with 5GB for free which–like OneDrive–is pretty low. Especially if you plan on using it to back up your Macbook or iPhone. But it comes default on every Apple device, which means that you’ll be able to access photos and files from all your past iPhones (either a benefit or a drawback depending on your embarrassing selfies).
Along with photos, iCloud also stores all of your text messages and iMessages. You’ll be able to search through them all for a specific conversation or message with ease as well even if you get a new iPhone.
Pricing starts free with 5GB of storage. After that, you can get 50GB for just $0.99 a month. Unfortunately, there’s no unlimited option nor are there plans for businesses and teams. So it’s not the best option if you’re looking to collaborate with more in-depth features like calendar sharing and video conferencing.
#4. Dropbox – The most popular cloud storage service
Even if you don’t know about cloud storage services or what they are exactly, you likely already know about Dropbox. Created in 2008, they’ve been on the vanguard offering file hosting and cloud storage solutions.
With handy desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as great apps for Android, iOS, and even your Kindle Fire, Dropbox is a very versatile cloud solution no matter what device you have.
Along with its base file sharing and storage feature, DropBox offers a few really great extra tools such as an admin dashboard that allows you to monitor and track your team’s file sharing activity. There’s also Dropbox Paper, which gives your team a handy workspace to share and upload files.
Despite being one of the biggest names out there, their free offering is actually pretty limited at 2GB for new users. After that, pricing starts at $16.58 a month for 3TB of storage along with a host of great features such as password protection, watermarking, and even remote device wipe.
#5. IDrive – Best for backups
IDrive is a fantastic cloud storage service that shines for one great feature: It’s backing up of your files.
In fact, it allows users to backup everything from their desktops to their mobile devices to their tablets. Plus with its IDrive Express tool, users will be able to quickly backup or retrieve “gigabytes of data, within a week.”
This is great for businesses with massive amounts of data that you need to backup and want to keep it safe on IDrive’s databases.
Pricing starts free with 5GB of data. After that it’s $52.12 for the first year and includes 5TB.
When it makes sense to invest into a cloud storage service
Not sure investing into a cloud storage service is the right choice? It might actually make more sense for your company than you think.
In fact, there are 3 great reasons why you should invest into a cloud storage service today:
- Saves money. Cloud storage services help businesses save tons of money each year they would otherwise spend on physical hardware to store their files. And if your business is big enough, unlimited storage options might wind up paying for themselves in the amount you save on the upkeep of servers, rent for the actual space, and troubleshooting/repair costs if something goes wrong and breaks.
- Creates backups. It’s a central tenet of good computer use that you should ALWAYS backup your files. In fact, you should have back ups of the back ups just in case something happens. Luckily, with a good cloud storage service, you can automatically back up your files without having to do a thing. This ensures your hard work won’t be lost in case of technical disasters like a fire in your building.
- Anywhere access. With a cloud storage service, your files no longer have to exist just at the office. You’ll be able to access them from the coffee shop, your living room couch, the hostel you’re staying at while backpacking across Europe, and any other place with a WiFi connection. This allows you and your team great flexibility in terms of where and when you can work on your projects.
So when is the best time to invest in a cloud storage service? Before you actually need it. The second best time to invest is right now.
Methodology for choosing the best cloud storage service
There are three things we looked at when determining this list of best cloud storage services:
A good cloud storage service needs to be able to safely and securely hold our files and backups. For your business, that might mean a ton of sensitive information and data you don’t want any bad actors to get a hold of.
That’s why you should always look to what type of security and privacy measures a storage service offers. More than that, you should also look into what they do with your information once they attain it. Are they sharing it with third parties? If so, what data will they be sharing?
As your business grows, so must your cloud storage capacity. After all, you’ll need to be able to share and store files more and more as you scale your profits, employees, and customers.
As such, a good cloud storage service needs to allow you to choose how much storage you need and change it easily. That means providing a straightforward online interface for doing so, or allowing you to hop on a call with a representative and getting your storage.
Since you’ll be using cloud storage a lot for backups and file sharing, you’ll want to be able to easily integrate it in any device you choose. That’s why you should always see what platforms the cloud storage service supports before making your choice.
This can be a huge determining factor for what you ultimately decide on. For example, if your business primarily uses Apple products anyway, your team all has iPhones, and you have a tattoo of Steve Jobs on your bicep (okay maybe not that last one), you’ll likely want to go with Apple iCloud.
Here’s our list of our favorites again:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Apple’s iCloud
Looking for a good cloud storage solution? Look no further than Google Drive. It gives you a ton of storage right off the bat and is easily integrated into various platforms.