Cloud storage is a data storage model whereby the digital data is stored in logical pools, the physical storage spreads across multiple servers, and the physical environment is typically owned and managed by a hosting company.
Therefore in basic format, cloud storage is data stored online in the cloud. Online cloud storage is one that has become increasingly useful for individuals and businesses as it is deemed to be more secure.
There is a wide range of Cloud storage service applications, but from these CBR lists the five best cloud storage services.
File hosting service, Dropbox not only offers cloud storage but also file synchronisation, personal cloud and client software.
Dropbox is the only cloud services company to offer clients for Linux, Blackberry, Windows, Mac OS X, Android and IOS.
Dropbox offers a free business model, providing users with a free account with a set storage size with paid subscriptions also available. These offer larger capacity and other additional features. Users of Dropbox are given 2GB of free storage space.
The service is compatible with a wide range of applications, such as iOS-specific features which enables the ability to share files in iMessage and also use Dropbox to watch videos while using another app on an Apple device.
For an upgrade from the basic account, users will only need to pay £7.99 per month for 1TB storage space.
Read more: Dropbox delivers open source automated cyber security with new chatbot
Built onto the new Windows 10, Microsoft’s OneDrive is the best option for Windows users. It is also compatible across a range of devices such as PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
As it is pre-installed on Windows 10, users’ documents and photos will be saved onto OneDrive automatically.
OneDrive is suitable for both personal and business use as it can be paired with Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote from desktop, mobile device and online.
Its basic account offers 5GB free storage and for an additional £1.99 per month users are given an additional 50GB.
File storage and synchronisation service Google Drive was launched by Google in 2012. The service enables users to store files in the cloud, synchronise and also share files across devices.
Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, as well as Android and IOS smartphones and tablets.
Different to other cloud storage services, Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage space when a Google account is created or linked to an already existing one. Another benefit is for users who use Gmail, Google calendar or YouTube – these users are automatically provided with a Google Drive account. The storage space is also shared across these services.
For larger storage sizes of up to 30TB, Google Drive offers additional paid plans for a selection of bigger storage capacities.
Secure file sharing and storage service, Box, was launched in 2005 and although it is mainly used for business services, it also provides personal storage options.
Its free package offers 10GB of free storage space, however, in order for users to use all the free space, Box limits file storage to 250MB for the free account.
Files can be shared easily from the cloud with a simple provided link that can be delivered via email or straight from the Box service.
For larger storage space, Box offers its Personal Pro plan which provides 100GB of storage and a file size limit of 5GB at £7 a month.
Again, Box is also available in mobile apps across iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry and its web portal service enables users to create new documents in Microsoft Office, Google Docs or other web-based formats.
Apple’s cloud storage and cloud computing service, iCloud which was launched in 2011 and was initially only available for Apple devices. In 2014, however, the iCloud drive was changed, allowing users to store all files even if they were not created using an Apple application.
The service gives the option to automatically back up iOS devices directly to iCloud for automatic storage, reducing the need to backup manually on a Mac or Windows computer using Apple’s iTunes.
Although files can be shared across other devices, there is no iCloud app on devices other than Apple, which only makes it particularly useful for owners of Apple devices.
iCloud offers 5GB of free storage and for an increase of up to 1TB, users will need to pay £6.99 per month. The next option following the free plan is of 50GB at 79p a month.