Whether you're a small business owner, the CEO of a big enterprise, or just have some family pictures you’d like to save, it’s important you choose the right backup solution to keep your files safe.
Luckily, today, instead of buying one external hard disk after another, you can back up all of your favorite and most important files in the Cloud
However, not all solutions are designed in the same way.
Some of them are easier to use than others or offer different resources. And remember this - a decent cloud solution can be the difference between keeping all of your files secure and losing them in the Internet stratosphere.
So, to help you choose the best solution for your needs, I’ve spent the past few months putting various cloud storage services to the test. In no particular order, here are the five best cloud storage solutions I found:
- Sync.com (Best overall cloud solution)
- pCloud (Best audio and music playback features)
- Dropbox (Best security features)
- OneDrive (Best for accessing files remotely)
- Google Drive (Best for collaborating on projects)
Prices start at: $49/year, with a 5GB free plan also available.
Recommended for: those who want full control of their files.
The solution allows you to backup, share, and access all of your files from anywhere, no matter which device you’re using.
Better yet, the service comes with a selection of strong security features, one of which is end-to-end encryption so you can rest assured knowing that only you can access your data.
Sync.com gives you full control of all your files by allowing you to set expiry dates and permissions as well as notification alerts when anyone accesses or downloads a document. You can also share files of any size, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Sync account. Moreover, Sync backs up files from all your devices and saves them in one centralized location. Plus, because of the solution’s dedicated applications, you can access them from any device.
As for pricing, Sync.com does have a free plan. However, this isn’t much use to businesses or individuals with a lot of files as it only comes with 5GB of storage. That said, its personal plans start at only $49 a year for 500GB of storage. You can also upgrade to a business plan which gives each team member 1TB of storage for $5 a month per user.
- Free plan available
- End-to-end encryption for all files
- Great for businesses and individuals
- A dedicated application for all devices
- No monthly payment option on the personal plans
- No in-app collaboration tools
Prices start at: $47.88/year, with a 10GB free plan also available.
Recommended for: those who have a lot of music and video files.
If you love music or have a ton of films and videos you want to back up, pCloud is one of the best cloud storage providers out there.
The solution comes with a built-in audio and video player which means that you can watch and listen to all your favorite shows and songs wherever you are.
Not only this, pCloud backs up all of your information from third parties like Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Furthermore, pCloud has some of the best security features out there. Aside from offering TLS and SSL channel protection, you’ll benefit from 256-bit AES encryption for all your files. Plus, the solution saves 5 copies of your files on different servers as an added precaution.
However, what I like most about pCloud is its lifetime subscriptions. While you can pay for an annual membership of $47.88 for 500GB or $95.88 for 2TB, you also have the option to pay a one-time fee of $175 or $350 for each plan.
If you don’t need this much storage, you can also stick to the free plan which automatically gives you 10GB of storage space. Last but not least, pCloud has a business plan which costs $7.99 a month and comes with a 30-day free trial.
- Generous free plan
- Strong security features
- The option to pay a one-time fee for a lifetime subscription
- Built-in video and audio player
- Expensive business plan
- Only one business solution to choose from
Prices start at: $8.35/month, with a 2GB free plan also available.
Recommended for: those who require strong security features.
What I like most about Dropbox is that you can sync all your devices to your account. This means that, as long as you have an internet connection, all your files are saved to the cloud, allowing you to access them from anywhere.
In addition to the above, Dropbox gives you offline access to your files so you can not only access images, music, and videos but also check work-related documents while on the go. Moreover, the solution comes with 256-bit AES as well as SSL and TLS encryption. Plus, if all the above isn’t enough, third-party auditors test the solution’s controls to ensure that its security practices comply with the most widely-accepted standards and regulations.
When it comes to plans, Dropbox doesn’t fall short either. The service comes with a selection of personal and business subscriptions for you to choose from.
Personal plans start at $8.25/month (billed annually) and come with 1TB of storage while Business plans start at $12.50/month per user (billed annually) and come with 3TB of space. While you can try the business plans for 30 days free of charge, the most affordable personal one doesn’t come with a free trial.
- Allows you to access files offline
- Highest standard of encryption
- Undergoes third-party audits to ensure compliance
- Various plans to choose from
- More expensive than other solutions
- The most affordable personal plan doesn’t come with a free trial
Prices start at: $1.99/month, with a 5GB free plan also available.
Recommended for: those who want to reach their files offline.
Another cloud platform that allows you to access files offline is OneDrive. Thanks to this, and the fact that is has an application for all devices and operating systems, you can access all your preferred files from anywhere.
Plus, any changes you make from your mobile or tablet while on the go will be updated on all your devices as long as you have an internet connection.
Similarly to other providers in this list, OneDrive allows you to share files without the need for large email attachments or thumb drives. Instead, you simply share a randomly generated link via your favorite communication platform.
Furthermore, you can do this with complete peace of mind, knowing that your files are safe; OneDrive encrypts content using SSL. For an extra layer of protection, the more advanced plans allow you to password-protect folders with sensitive information.
OneDrive has a variety of personal and business plans to choose from. While you’ll get 5GB of free storage for signing up, you can also upgrade to 50GB for just $1.99 a month. You can also choose from the 1TB and 6TB plans which give you access to the Office365 suite for just $69.99 and $99.99 a year. For something more robust, you can also opt for one of the business plans which start at $5 a month per user for 1TB of storage.
- Option to access files offline
- Military-grade encryption
- Some plans give you access to the Office365 suite
- Large selection of personal and business plans to choose from
- No personal monthly plans
- Limited free plan
5. Google Drive
Prices start at: $1.99/month, with a 15GB free plan also available.
Recommended for: those who want to collaborate on file creation in real-time.
If you’re looking for a cloud storage solution that also allows you to collaborate in real-time, Google Drive may be just what you’re looking for.
The service allows you to store, share, download, and access files without the need for big email attachments.
Better yet, you can invite others to view and collaborate on files, whether you're sitting down to share ideas simultaneously, or working remotely on the same document at different times.
What I like most about Google Drive is that you’ll also gain access to the platform’s comprehensive suite. This includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and more. Plus, Google Drive comes with an offline mode, which means you can continue to view and edit files no matter where you are in the world.
Google offers a number of pricing plans. Aside from the fact that you’ll get 15GB for free just for signing up, you can also upgrade your storage to 100GB or 200GB for just $1.99 or $2.99 a month, respectively.
Additionally, you can go for one of Google’s business and enterprise plans which start at $4 a month for 30GB of data. Business plans also give you access to a business email address as well as security and administration controls.
- Access to Google Suite
- Affordable plans to choose from
- Great tools which allow you to collaborate in real-time
- A generous 15GB free plan
- You can’t password-protect files
- Google collects your information to send you targeted ads
Which Is The Best Cloud Storage Solution?
When it comes to choosing the best cloud storage solution, you must consider whether you need it for personal or business use. Here’s my verdict:
- Sync.com is the best solution if you want to maintain full control of your files.
- pCloud is the best option if you have a lot of video and audio files.
- Dropbox offers premium security features.
- OneDrive is the best option for accessing files offline.
- Google Drive is the best option for collaborating on files in real-time.
Aside from exceptional security features, the solution you go for should meet your storage needs as well as allow you to access your files on all your preferred devices. All 5 of the options here may be perfect for you - just choose one that fits your needs the most.
What did you think of this list? Did you find what you were looking for - or are you using something entirely different? Let me know in the comments below.