Top 5 Cloud Storage Services

Top 5 Cloud Storage Services

What is the best cloud storage service for you and your scanned photographs? I will explore the best of the cloud storage providers, so that you can find the service that best suits your needs.

Dropbox   https://www.dropbox.com/

 

This is probably the most well know cloud hosting service worldwide and there are good reasons for this.

A free account comes with 2GB of storage although this can be very quickly and easily filled up with files; photos are particularly good at draining storage amounts so be careful with low storage capacities. Luckily, this 2GB can be upgraded to 16GB, by referring dropbox to friend who, if they sign up, Dropbox will add 500MB storage capacity to your account.

This can involve a lot of work and 16GB is still quite a small amount of storage when using it for digital images. Therefore, a monthly fee of £7.99/month could be the answer because you will get 1TB of storage, this is massive and unless your photo library is huge then this will certainly suffice.

Dropbox’s interface is clean and easy to use. Dropbox will create it’s own local folder on your computer where, when anything is copied into it, the contents will be synced to your account, so that they are backed up. This is great and means you can back-up hundred of folders on your computer with a quick copy and paste.

The sharing options on Dropbox’s free account is limited, because you cannot set the level of control the person you have shared the file with, has over it. With a paid account there is a much better function for changing access levels along with a few other neat features to make things like this better.

Security of these types of service has caused much debate over the past year, but Dropbox, being a reputable service, does have a decent level of security in place to protect you files; this includes all files being encrypted on their servers and SSL encryption during the uploading and downloading of files from Dropbox.

 

Google Drive   https://www.google.co.uk/drive/

If you already have an account on any of Google’s services then you can use it to access Google’s cloud service which is called ‘Google Drive’. 

With a free account, there is a 15GB of storage, although this space is also used by your Gmail inbox if you use Gmail, this is only a problem if there are large files being attached to the emails you are sending and receiving. One big positive about the service is that they do not count photos up to 2048x2048 or videos under 5 minutes in this amount, you can easily resize you photos to fit within this constraint with little loss of quality using an ‘image resizer’, just have a search on Google, there are plenty of free ‘image resizers’ available.

This cloud also uses the local file set-up which is easy to use and works in exactly the same way as Dropbox’s.

As with all Google products, it has a great, clean user interface and it is available on most operating systems apart from the Windows Phone.

Similarly to Dropbox, Google encrypts the files on the server and while they are being transferred via upload or download.

 

OneDrive   https://onedrive.live.com/

This is one of Microsofts services and it comes with 15GB of free storage. It also has a similar referral scheme to Dropbox which allows you to earn an extra 500MB per successful sign up that your referral has led to, although it can only increase your storage by a maximum of 5GB.

Office 365 users get 1TB of storage as part of their subscription, so it is a great option if you have the 365 subscription.

Unsurprisingly, it has a design very similar to Windows 8 in it’s upload/download clients.

With the free version there is a good amount of flexibility with access level that you can grant people who you share the file with; this can be from read-only access to full editing powers.

Privacy could be a problem, similarly to Apples iCloud platform (which is discussed below), because they reserve the right to scan through files in search of objectionable or copyrighted content.

 

Box   https://www.box.com

Box offers a different approach in limiting different types of accounts. It’s free account offers 10GB of space but has a 250MB limit on the file size that can be uploaded, this would be a very large file so it is nothing to worry about concerning photos, although long or high res videos and large documents could cause problems. There are upgrades available, these include:

£3.50/month = 100GB and a file size cap of 2GB.

£7/month = 100GB and a file size cap of 5GB.

The functionality is great and works very reliably, plus it supports most operating systems which is a must for someone who has a diverse range of devices.It has a clean design and also offers a web portal where you can access a free document editor with a downloadable plugin. Sharing permissions is basic like Dropbox, unless upgraded but there is a great feature of being able to assign tasks and comments to files for collaboration with others.

The security is similar to all of the other services, with encryption, and the service is solid, fast and reliable although the best deal, in my opinion, is for paying customers because of some of the extra features they offer.

 

Apple iCloud   https://www.icloud.com/

As with all Apple products, it works well with Apple devices but is lacking support for Windows Phones, Android and Blackberry, which could be big drawback if you have both Apple and Android devices. They have now made it capable of storing most file types. Photos taken on iOS devices can be automatically backed-up to iCloud Photo Library which syncs all of the images across your iOS devices that are logged into the same Apple account.

The auto back-up feature has been most useful to me when I dropped my iPhone in a puddle because I found that iCloud had backed up all of the data onto iCloud, so when I logged into my new iPhone all of my contacts, photos, etc synced very smoothly.

It comes with 5GB of free storage which is pretty small, paid accounts do start off quite cheap. They are listed below:

79p/month = 20GB of storage

£2.99/month = 200GB of storage

£6.99/month = 500GB of storage

£14.99/month = 1TB of storage

Apple uses the industry standard encryption in iCloud, but privacy could be a problem with a similar condition to OneDrive of them reserving the right to go through files if they believe they could be illegal or harmful material.

 

In summary, all of these services are quite similar but have subtle pros and cons, it is highly likely that your decision on which to use will be based on the devices you have. My personal favourite is Dropbox because of it’s simplicity, although they are all very good services.