With the easy availability of high-capacity networking system, cheap computers, availability of internet on the go, creating, storing, and transferring of data has become very comfortable. Earlier, we needed CD’s, pen drives, hard disks or even local servers every time we needed to store data. These often got damaged, corrupted or inaccessible due to various reasons. As a result, the virtual data often got lost.
With the improvement in technology, this necessity has largely been replaced by what is known as Online Data Storage. What is Cloud Storage? This is a virtual mode of saving data by the user through the internet in a remote network and accessing it time and again through the web. This data can be stored on a third party network and routed through Internet Protocol, or, may be retained through a cloud computing storage component, called Cloud Storage. You can personally use these platforms for photos, files, music, movies & family related memories. Let’s look at some Pro’s & Con’s of Cloud storing:
Cloud Storage: Advantages & Disadvantages
Here are the advantages of hosting files on online cloud…
- Paying as per usage by the companies, thereby incurring only operational expenses and not capital costs.
- Provides immediate access to a huge pool of data and information to the users via web-based services.
- Energy consumption by businesses using cloud storage reduces by as much as 70%, thereby choosing to become a green business.
The disadvantages are as follows…
- The risk of unauthorized access to storage due to they being located at multiple locations and replication.
- Increases the number of networks through which data is transmitted and stored.
- The number of people accessing the data could be compromised ethically.
- A potential source of information pool for hackers and security agencies.
- File sharing might infringe on privacy and copyright.
- Security of stored data and in transit data might be a major area of concern.
- Cloud Storage is quite expensive.
Cloud Storage Providers & Platforms (Free & Paid List)
There are several free and paid cloud storage providers who allow users to lease their space for digital data storage.
Free Cloud Storage Providers:
1. Mega: This provider allows 50 GB of free data storage and can be accessed through Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry phone device as well. Mega offers secured data encryption for combatting privacy breach.
2. Mediafire: Allows free 10 GB online data storage that increases up to 50 GB through referrals and application downloads. Accessible on iOS as well as Android devices. Files uploading can be as large as 25 GB, with no bandwidth limits.
3. DropBox: Starts with a 2 GB free storage and can be increased up to 18 GB through several simple ways. All files can be viewed and uploaded from a desktop, or a mobile app and you can share files with the people who do not have a Dropbox account as well. Dropbox is a desktop application for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS and several mobile apps.
4. pCloud: Provides a free storage of 10 GB, possible to increase to 20 GB through referrals and bonus steps. pCloud is also supported on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. There is also a mobile app for Android and iOS devices which are very user-friendly. Any one can send files and folders to the user’s account. Photo backs ups from social media like Facebook; Instagram, etc. can be done very conveniently. Find the link here:
5. Google Drive: This service is provided by none other than Google, with 15 GB of free storage space for each user. Other Google services like Gmail, Google+ Photos, etc. share this space as well. Collaboration with others regarding opening files, commenting or viewing without downloading and accessing by multiple persons at the same time makes this storage very convenient to use.
Paid Cloud Storage Providers:
Almost all of the above storage providers provide paid cloud storage with increased space for an annual subscription. Apart from the ones listed above, here are a few paid cloud storage providers:
1. MicroSoft ne Drive: for 2$ a month for 50 GB storage, this is provided by Microsoft and is seamlessly integrated into Windows 8 or 10 OS.However, it can also be accessed via the web through Android, iOS, XBox and Windows mobile devices.
2. Amazon Cloud Drive (Android): Does not offer any free storage. Offers a paid plan of 12$ a year for unlimited storage of photos, and 60$ a year for unlimited file storage. Operating Systems supported are Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Kindle Fire.
3. Box (iOS): Offers 250 MB for Free plan, and 5 GB for personally paid plan. The paid plan also has a storage of 100 GB available at 10$ per month. Operating Systems supported are Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry. Here’s the link:
4. Sugarsync: Extremely easy and intuitive for usage, with simple installation and online backup services. It does not provide any free storage.
The prices of storage for this are as follows- 100GB, $7.49 per/month, 250GB, $9.99 per/month, & 500GB for $24.99 per/month. The prices are not low if you compare it with Dropbox Pro or One Drive prices.
5. Certain Safe Digital Safety Deposit Box: The pricing is in two tiers, 12$ for 100 GB storage and offers access to 100 free guest users, or 15$ per user per month for 250 GB of storage and 200 free guest users. Data encryption and security are the USPs of this online cloud storage provider. However, the ease of use is not compromised with for this.
Other Cloud Storage options like – Copy, Tresorit, Knowhow Cloud, Apple iCloud, Mozy, Spideroak, Verdict, Egnyte, Norton, SafeCopy,Livedrive, Altdrive (paid), Zoolz (paid) and etc. are also available to check.
Cloud Drive Storage offers seamless movement of data across various locations quickly to multiple users through a complex network of servers. Though still quite expensive, most providers give access to free storage space to individual users as well. With physical storage becoming more expensive day by day, virtual storage of digital data accessible through web service application programs seems to be the new era solution to meet the ever increasing demand and supply of digital data across the globe.
In spite of the several disadvantages and security concerns about cloud storage, it saves businesses a lot of capital costs and redundancy of spaces required for storage of virtual information and is also an active step towards embracing clean and green business strategies. Cloud Storage is one of the biggest technological advancement of our times.