Cloud storage is giving external storage devices quite a run to extinction. Cloud computing is proving to be a cost-effective option both for individual users and owners of small businesses. Cloud storage providers have mushroomed in the last few months offering goodies, top-class services, and almost 100 percent uptime. There is plenty of competition with providers offering free space just to sign up as well. Here are the top 5 cloud storage providers evaluated on the basis of factors like efficiency, cost, and storage space offered.
- Google Apps: Google has started increasingly to focus on the market of small business owners. It has been offering all types of plans for websites, domains, etc. around the world. Storage space is high on the list as well. Google has been offering cloud storage for more than a year and its plans are similar to those offered by Microsoft. Users get several customization options with Google cloud storage including customized e-mail addresses, mobile e-mail, calendar, IM access, Google Docs, Google Sites, 24/7 customer support, spam filtering, and 99.9% uptime that’s guaranteed. The cost is just about $5 per month for all these services with Google’s cloud services.
- Dropbox: Dropbox offers 2 GB free cloud storage space to everyone who creates an account. It also offers access through a wide variety of operating systems and devices including the iPad, Android phones, Linux, Mac, and Windows machines. Dropbox charges just about $9.99 on a monthly basis for 50 GB of cloud storage space, and $19.99 on a monthly basis for 100 GB of storage. Dropbox does not need the Internet to function! You could also set bandwidth limit or transfer a part of a big file to prevent a server crash. Like all other cloud storage providers, Dropbox also allows simultaneous access of multiple files.
- Amazon Web Services: Amazon has become extremely popular with small business owners. Users can pay for Amazon cloud storage services on a pay-when-needed basis. Amazon lets users control computing strength with options for adding and removing processing power or storage space as a real-time functionality. Amazon also offers layered security that is supposed to be one of the best in the industry. Possibly, none of the other cloud storage providers could match Amazon’s pay-as-you-grow option for cloud storage options.
- Office 365: Microsoft has wowed users by allowing them to access all applications associated with MS Office without installing anything on their servers or computers. Users can access contacts, calendars, documents, and emails via devices that are being used to access the Internet. This cloud storage provision – Office 365 – costs just about $6 on a monthly basis. Small business owners with fewer than 25 employees without any IT infrastructure could truly benefit from Office 365. They could access 25 GB space as mailbox, access spreadsheets and documents at the same time. They also get interesting capabilities like instant messaging between computers, PC-to-PC audio, and video calling!
- Apple iCloud: Apple’s iCloud is great for the regular Apple fan as it syncs all the data across all the Apple devices. You could start watching a movie on your iPhone in the car while going home from work and switch to your iPad without a break when you get to your bedroom! Actually, the user does not have to sync anything as the iCloud syncs automatically. Users get a whopping 5GB of free space for storing anything on the iCloud. The best part is that all purchases made in the Apple stores – music, apps, movies, television shows, books, and even photo streams – are still stored separately and do not take up the free space. You could, of course, still buy an upgrade at the rate of 10 GB for $20 a year.
Cloud computing and storage is here to stay. The competition is down to only these top 5 cloud storage providers for now, but the future’s is bright and many more will emerge. Remember, to be able to upload and transfer huge amount of files to a cloud service you will need high speed internet service and you can get an AT&T internet service for cheap, just take a look at Att uverse deals.