If you’re not familiar with it, “the cloud”” may sound like another fad or buzzword. But it’s actually a useful tool that benefits you in all kinds of ways.
The cloud boosts collaboration and productivity. It makes it much easier to work from anywhere. And it can save both small and large businesses a lot on overhead.
There are several basic consumer options when it comes to cloud storage, but three lead the pack. The problem is it can be hard to know which one is the best solution for your particular needs.
We’ve covered the most popular three consumer options below. If you’re looking for something for your personal use or even for a small business, each of these is a viable option. If you’re looking for something a little more robust, we suggest talking to your IT support provider.
Dropbox: Powerful syncing capabilities
Dropbox is a major player in the cloud storage solutions game. It’s popular because they offer automatic syncing between the cloud and your device’s storage via a Dropbox desktop or mobile app.
Dropbox has several security features, like encrypted file transfer & encryption at all times, password protection options, and the ability to set an expiration date for shared files. It also offers two-step verification, which cuts down on security breaches overall.
Here’s a prime example of the kind of security Dropbox employs.
In 2016, it was discovered that over 60 million Dropbox passwords had been leaked, dating all the way back to 2012. Granted, that’s not good. However, many of the leaked passwords were encrypted. That means they were basically useless to the hackers.
Dropbox asked all affected users to change their passwords. And here’s the remarkable part: it does not seem that affected accounts were accessed maliciously. (That’s the potential power of encryption.)
Dropbox is reliable, convenient and offers encryption to boost security.
Google Drive: Merge with your Google account
Many use Google Drive because it works seamlessly with your other Google products.
If you’re a Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps lover, you may find yourself using Google Drive as your primary cloud storage option. Not only can you store documents and files in your drive but you can also create them. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and more allow you to do anything that you would do with other word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, all for free.
In fact, many businesses find Google’s productivity suite to be a suitable replacement for Microsoft Office.
Drive has several ways to make your account safer, which are also typically applicable to your Google account as a whole. Using two-step verification is highly recommended by the company, and data is always encrypted both at rest and during transfer. Their physical data centers even protect servers with lasers and biometric scanning.
Of course, like Dropbox, this is a free product, so there is a catch. Google openly admits in its Terms of Service that it will scan all of your content to use for purposes such as advertising and spam detection. If ultimate privacy is your concern, Google Drive might not be for you.
OneDrive: Great for business accounts
OneDrive is Microsoft’s solution for cloud storage. It’s a great solution that has powerful options. However, it’s safest when you have a premium business account.
All data is encrypted during file transfer, but only business accounts have all data encrypted when “at rest.” In other words, once you upload something to OneDrive, anyone with access to Microsoft’s data center could take a peek.
Granted, Microsoft uses powerful security. It’s not likely your files will be accessed by hackers. But if they were, there’s no extra layer of encryption protection.
That said, it’s easy to merge OneDrive with other Microsoft programs, like the online versions of Word and Excel or OneNote.