Cloud Storage: Types, Benefits and Best Services of 2021
Do you want to store, retrieve, and share data that is simple, reliable, and scalable? You can easily make use of cloud storage for your business to do all these actions.
To understand the uses and working of cloud storage, you first need to understand what a cloud is.
Let’s discuss all the factors related to cloud storage.
Understanding cloud storage is a crucial factor to make use of cloud storage effectively.
Cloud is a resource usually a computing power or storage that you can easily access remotely online.
It can either be free or for a fee. Let’s learn more about them in detail.
You can think of cloud storage as a self-storing service, which home movers and renters cherish, however, instead of filling them up in storage boxes, you fill the cloud storage accounts with your own files and data.
Moreover, with using cloud storage, sharing and collaboration are much easier today.
53% of the people use cloud storage for sharing files.
Many businesses are making use of cloud storage instead of local storage drives.
However, it is important to note that many storage providers are giving accounts to businesses instead of individuals.
This is because they have certain features that can be confusing for individuals and are not much of use to them.
With the help of the following graph, you can easily understand the number of users for some cloud storage providers.
Many of these service providers offer a free plan if you want a minimum space out of their services.
However, if you want security and a much larger space for your business, then you will have to buy it.
Working of Cloud Storage
You can purchase cloud storage from a third-party vendor that owns and operates data storage capacity.
Moreover, they are responsible for delivering it over the internet in a pay-as-you-go model.
The responsibility of these cloud storage vendors is that they manage capacity, security, and durability to make data accessible to your applications worldwide.
These applications can access cloud storage through traditional protocols or directly via an API.
Most vendors offer complementary services to help collect, manage, secure, and analyze data at a massive scale.
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Types of Cloud Storage
There are 3 types of cloud storage.
These include object storage, file storage, and block storage.
Each one of these types has its own advantages and have their own uses.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
If you develop applications in a cloud then you can effectively take advantage of object storage’s vast scalability and metadata characteristics.
Moreover, they are ideal for building modern applications from scratch that require scale and flexibility.
You can also use them to import existing data stores for analytics, backup, or archive.
Some applications need to access shared files and require a file system, thus cloud file storage type of storage is often supported with a Network Attached Storage NAS server.
These are ideal for use cases like large content repositories, development environments, media stores, or user home directories.
This one is another enterprise application like databases or ERP systems.
It particularly requires dedicated, low latency storage for each host.
Moreover, it is analogous to direct-attached storage, DAS, or a Storage Area Network, SAN.
Block-based storage is provisioned with each virtual server and offers an ultra-low latency for high-performance workouts.
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Benefits of Cloud Storage
Like all other technologies, cloud storage has a number of advantages for your business, whether a small scale or a large-scale business. There are a number of cloud storage provides but we will discuss them later in the article.
So lets’ understand the benefits cloud storage has for your business.
The following are the benefits of cloud storage for your business, whether small scale or large scale.
Usability and Accessibility
Most of these services come with an easy-to-use user interface and provide a feature of drag and drop.
For instance, you might have used Google Drive from Google or iDrive from Apple.
Both of these have a user-friendly interface and you can easily upload your file on the online drive without any expert knowledge.
Moreover, you can easily retrieve the file in your drive using your smartphone with internet connectivity.
It does not matter what your location is, if you have a good internet connection, you can easily access your file which is saved on the data centers.
Convenience and Security
Every cloud storage provides a file-sharing feature that helps you to share your file with other users.
Moreover, you can either send the file to another user or invite them to view your data.
Most of the vendors provide a cloud environment in which two users using the same cloud service can share their data.
However, it is important to note that only a few of them allow or offer cross-platform sharing features.
For many businesses, security is the primary concern when using storage online.
Thus, before choosing any cloud service, it is important to make sure that they provide quality security.
Cloud storage saves your data across different servers. However, if any one of the servers collapses, your data is well managed by other data centers.
Moreover, most vendors keep additional copies of your data at different centers, so even if your data gets lost or corrupted, the backup files are always there.
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Automation and Cost-Efficient
It is important to note that cloud storage works like a hard drive on your system, thus, if you want to store any file, it will not affect or temper any ongoing task.
Moreover, there may be more than one user using the services, and your work will not affect the working of another user as it is well managed and automated.
With the help of cloud storage, most business can outsource their storage.
By using online data storage, you can effectively reduce the expenses of internal resources.
Moreover, you do not need inner support to manage and store your data, rather the cloud storage vendor will.
Multiple Users and Disaster Recovery
You can add multiple users to your organization on the same cloud environment.
It can help you collaborate with the common files. Thus, with the help of this, other users can access and edit your file.
Another advantage of using cloud storage is that in some cases, you may lose your data or it may collapse.
Thus, it is one of the reasons why you should use cloud storage. It provides the best platform for disaster recovery data, thus, in case of data loss, you can retrieve backup data from the cloud.
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Every vendor offers a sync feature, and with this, you can easily sync the cloud storage data with any device you want.
With the help of this feature, you can access data from any device in any part of the world.
With proper credentials, you can log in to your subscribed storage service with any device and access all the data in that cloud storage.
Now let’s see which cloud storage providers are the best in 2021.
Best Cloud Storage Services of 2021
In this section, we have enlisted all the cloud storage providers for 2021.
Most of them offer a free trial, allowing you to understand the working of it. Moreover, before handing over any amount, make sure you read the terms and conditions.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
1# IDrive Cloud Storage
This storage provider offers 5GB for free tier and storage side up to 5TB.
Moreover, you can connect unlimited devices on this cloud storage platform.
IDrive offers continuous syncing of your files, even the ones on network drives.
Their web interface supports sharing the files by email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Moreover, it is important to note that if you delete a file from your system by mistake, it does not delete the file from the cloud storage automatically.
It retains up to 30 previous versions of all files that you back up from your account.
Moreover, it provides access to IT admins to the IDrive Thin Client Application, which allows them to back up or restores, manage settings, and more from all the connected computers via a centralized dashboard.
It also offers IDrive Express that sends you a physical hard drive in case you lose all your data.
In an enhanced version, IDrive Business offers priority support, single sign-on as well as unlimited users and server backup.
2# pCloud Cloud Storage
This one provides 10 GB of the free tier and 2Tb of storage size with 5 devices.
pCloud is one of the few providers that offer lifetime subscriptions, thus you will get a virtual and permanent cloud drive.
Moreover, they describe themself as a ‘personal cloud space where you can store all your files and folders with a user-friendly interface that clearly shows where everything is located and what it does.
pCloud comes with a 30-day trash history and unlimited remote upload traffic, for this, you will only need the URL of the file.
While some bandwidths may apply limits, there seems to be no limit to the size you want to upload.
The service is available on both computers and smartphones. Moreover, since 2020, they give their users an option to select where they want to store their data, either in the EU or the US.
They provide unlimited storage size.
Backblaze is a cloud storage giant, an industry veteran that caters to both personal and large-scale business backup needs.
Moreover, they back up your files and offer unlimited cloud storage, with no strings attached.
There provide different plans for personal or individual users, however, it gets better when you sign up for the award-winning VPN provider, ExpressVPN.
Not only it is one of the favorite cloud storage providers out there but also protects your privacy online, reinforcing your anonymity, and letting you geo-spoof your location.
You also get 15 months of subscriptions for the price of 12 months, with free Backblaze.
If you want this for your business, it will back up your files and keep them extremely safe.
Simply install the app and it continuously backs up your important data with no need for any intervention by you or any other users.
Its backup speed is fast, encrypts your data for security and you can also have a free hard drive or a flash drive in case you want restoration.
4# IceDrive Cloud Storage
They provide 10GB of the free tier, with 5TB of storage capacity with an unlimited number of devices.
Icedrive may have only been in the cloud storage business for a few years, however, they offer compelling solutions and ones that are different from traditional clouds.
The key difference is the online storage can be presented as a standard drive on your window system, just like your hard drive.
The idea behind it is that it makes storage easy and more intuitive to use.
It is just like accessing a local drive and you can use different functions like opening and editing the files with almost the same speed as a local operation.
They also provide strong security, and with their Ice Drive employing safe Twofish encryption, the data leaving your system will be encrypted on the client-side as well.
Thus making it even safer.
They provide 3GB of the free tier, with 500GB capacity and unlimed devices.
You might have heard the name Nordlocker, as it is from the makers of NordVPN that is one of the best VPN providers.
Moreover, it is relatively simple but its effective services give you a cloud storage locker.
Or alternatively, you can use it to create a local file vault on your device for secure storage, protecting your data with encryption in both cases.
You can use it on your system, as it is free and with a free version, you also get a small amount of online storage, 3GB to be precise.
However, for more space, you can pay for their subscription.
Nordlocker allows you to sync all your files in the cloud, between all the devices, with just a simple drag and drop motion.
It will automatically encrypt and upload your file on their server.
6# Microsoft OneDrive
This one provides 5GB of the free tier, with 6TB of storage capacity with 30 devices.
If you are a committed user of Microsoft, then it is the best cloud storage platform for you.
It also offers neat integrations with Outlook.com as well.
OneDrive also ties with Windows 10 and is also available with different mobile apps to facilitate access on the move.
It is also integrated with other services like AutoCAD.
Moreover, you can easily share files with others using other storage cloud platforms and they also have the ability to edit files online without downloading them.
If you are using Microsoft 360, you can get 1TB of space automatically for free with an option to boost it up.
It is important to note that it is one of the simplest cloud storage with barely any advanced features here.
7# Google Drive
It provides 15GB of the free tier, with 2TB of storage capacity and unlimited devices.
If you want to use it for personal use, then it is one of the best options for android users.
You can easily add your photos and make use of Google’s own suite.
However, if you want to upgrade to a paid version, then they provide a number of features that tie to the Google Cloud Platform.
It is bewildering and is evolving continuously.
This brings us to the point that they have just recently rolled out the ability to request approvals for Drive items and lock approved versions.
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Since the last decade, cloud services are gaining huge popularity in the software industry and every big giant in the market is making use of one.
No matter whether you have a small or a large-scale business, you need these services as data is the next power weapon. Different cloud storage solutions provide real time benefits and storage systems.
Big techs are investing in the cloud industry as it has the potential to change the structure of storage and communication.