Cloud storage has become a popular data solution for many reasons. By contracting with a cloud computing provider to store your data on a remote server, you can access your files on the internet, share documents and recover data if your computer or external hard drive is damaged. If you have a Gmail account and share Google Docs, you’re already accessing free storage in Google Drive. But if you need more space or options than you’re getting from free services, this article can help you understand how to choose the best cloud storage solution provider for your needs.
Cloud storage lets you store files and access them from almost any device with an internet connection. Most cloud storage services have web portals, mobile apps for Android and iOS or websites where you can access files stored in the cloud.
In addition, cloud storage facilitates file syncing and sharing, which allows you to save, edit and access documents immediately from anywhere in the world. Edits are synced across devices — a bonus for remote teams — so everyone knows they’re accessing the most current version. Some cloud storage tools also include productivity apps, like task managers and word processors.
With cloud storage, businesses can protect their data and avoid the overhead of managing their own data storage infrastructure. But, it’s important to understand the difference between cloud storage, which is designed to make it easy to access and edit files from any device, and cloud backup, which is more intended for restoring files if data is lost.
There are numerous features to compare when choosing cloud storage providers, including price, amount of storage, security and how you will access your data. The first step in selecting a cloud storage provider is evaluating your needs. Take the following features into consideration when selecting the best cloud storage services for you.
The amount of storage you need can affect the price of your cloud storage service. Most of the top-rated providers have a free plan for 5GB or 10GB of storage. If you need more, you can purchase it with a monthly or annual subscription. To calculate the amount of file storage you need, look at the files on your computer and phone and roughly add up the total file size. This is usually already calculated for you as an amount of data if all the files are in one location. You’ll want to consider an amount that can accommodate your current data volume, but you should also allow additional space as you add to your storage.
Many cloud storage services like Frontier’s Content Anywhere make it easy to upgrade if you require more storage, so there’s no need to pay for more data than you need. Also, take note of the maximum amount of storage available. Be sure it’s sufficient if you plan to save large files or videos. A few storage providers offer unlimited storage including Dropbox, Box and OpenDrive.
In selecting a cloud storage plan, consider which devices you’ll use to access your data. To sync all of your devices including mobile devices, you’ll need to install apps. And the cloud storage solution might be integrated into specific operating systems, so make sure to determine which operating system you have, such as Windows, Android, macOS, iOS or Linux.
Like information stored locally, data in the cloud can potentially be hacked or infected by malware. So, it’s critical to pick a secure cloud storage provider, and protect your data by configuring your cloud account properly.
When your data is sent to your cloud storage provider, it’s encrypted. Some providers keep a copy of your encryption key, which allows your files to be viewed. The most secure providers use end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge architecture, which means your data is encrypted in transit and at rest on the cloud servers. Only you have the encryption key, and not even employees of the cloud storage provider can access your files. But if you lose the passphrase for your encryption key, you won’t be able to access your data.
Two of the biggest names in cloud storage, OneDrive by Microsoft and Google Drive, don’t offer zero-knowledge encryption. Others, like pCloud, give you a choice of security levels, with a basic package that’s less secure. For an additional fee, or with a business plan, you can specify sensitive documents to be protected with extra security.
For additional security, set up two-factor authentication. This common security feature requires an extra code to log in, such as a text sent to your phone. Even if someone accesses your password, they won’t be able to log into your account.
In addition to storage, security and synchronization, it’s also important to balance your security concerns with ease of collaboration. When selecting a cloud storage provider, take these other features into consideration.
No matter how good your cloud storage is, having unreliable internet or a weak Wi-Fi signal can slow you down. Frontier® Internet offers fast and reliable internet connections to support your storage needs. To bring high-speed internet to your home, check out Frontier internet plans.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.