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  1. Technology
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July 29, 2015

Top 5 public cloud alternatives to AWS, Google & Microsoft

Public cloud isn't just three big companies, there are plenty of other options.

By James Nunns

Amazon, Google and Microsoft may dominate the public cloud market, but they aren’t the only options out there.

Many other companies offer a more than adequate service if you aren’t interested in joining up with the cloud giants.

To help you decide what option will suit you best, CBR has compiled five of the best alternatives.

1. Dropbox

The popular online storage solution is one of the only solutions that can be used by Linux and BlackBerry clients, alongside the usual Android, iOS and others.

Although the free account has a relatively small offering at just 2GB, you can upgrade to 1TB for £7.99 per month. However, if you want to get around that, you can build up your storage by recommending friends.

You will add an extra 500MB per friend, up to a limit of 16GB. There are other ways to build it up as well, you can link Facebook and Twitter, both of which will give you 125MB. Or perhaps you fancy a tour of the Dropbox basics, if you do that you’ll get an extra 250MB.

Enabling the camera upload feature will gain you 3GB.

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Dropbox’s ease of use is one of the reasons why many turn to it. It creates a local folder on your PC which then syncs with an online version – simple.

This is an excellent cross-platform solution that offers two-step authentication, with all files held on the Dropbox servers encrypted by AES 256-bit encryption.

2. Copy

Copy has been around for a number of years but one that many may not have heard of. It is a simple alternative to the likes of Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.

Bringing cloud back to the basics you can access Copy via a web portal, download a desktop client for Windows, OSX or Linux or use a mobile app.

You get a starting 15GB of free storage which is the same as what you’d get with Microsoft and Google. You can bolster this with a referral system similar to Dropbox, but 5GB each up to a maximum of 25GB.

As you would expect, you can set different levels of control on your files. Barracuda, which is the company behind Copy, delivers a range of compatible apps which are designed to extend the features.

These include, digital signatures, system backups and on-site hardware to improve performance, but that would perhaps defeat the purpose of public cloud simplicity.

3. Box

Box has been around since 2005 and is more focused on the business side of the market. Although it offers a generous 10GB of space for any new account, the joy at this is reduced by the fact that file sizes are limited to 250MB.

If you upgrade to a personal plan for £7 p/m will give you 100GB and a file limit size of 5GB, while a Starter plan for £3.50 p/m also gets you 100GB but 2GB maximum file size. So you may just have to be clever with how you split larger files.

Having been around for a bit longer than a lot of its competitors, Box has managed to gets its interface to a point where it is simple and easy to use, plus integration with Microsoft Office and Google docs makes it a good option for creating and editing files.

4. KnowHow

You may recognise the name from shopping in Currys/PC World stores, if not, then they are the people behind it.

Under the hood is the LiveDrive engine which has received good reviews on its reliability.

There are two services on offer, backup and storage. Backup is designed for backing up the hard drive of your PC or Mac, at intervals which you can specify in the control panel, you can basically create a mirrored version of your hard drive in the cloud.

The storage service is Briefcase, it’s a general online storage facility which isn’t linked to a specific PC. It works like a Dropbox or OneDrive and can be accessed via your PC, phone or tablet.

Storage space varies on which package you buy; one of the best is 2TB of storage covering five devices for £30 per year.

KnowHow encrypts data in transit using TLS, so you don’t have to worry about anyone intercepting your data, then Briefcase files are encrypted on the user’s machine.

If you are worried about data location, then this is for you, all the servers are based in the UK.

5. Tresorit

Tresorit aims to offer secure cloud storage and offers a wide range of apps to access the service, from Windows, through Linux and BlackBerry.

The company is so confident about the encryption that it offers that they even offer $50,000 for anyone that can overcome its security systems. According to the company, over 1000 hackers have been trying for around 500 days without any success.

That’s a pretty good selling point, even if it is a bit like trying out your bullet proof vest by getting your mates to shoot you.

This is obviously for the more security conscious folks, so you get a bit less in free storage (3GB) and a file limit size of 500MB which can be used by up to three devices.

Restrictions also apply for how many you can share encrypted files with (10) although this is probably a good idea. Restrictions free up when you go for a premium package for £8p/m, you then get 100GB storage with unlimited sharing.

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