Best Cloud Backup
With our increasing use of technology, keeping backups of your files and data is more important today than it ever has been. When data is lost it is no longer a minor inconvenience, it could do some serious damage. You have several options when it comes to backing up important files but few offer as much ease and convenience as cloud storage. Cloud computing is growing as a means of innovation and is expected to surge in 2016.
A quality cloud storage provider allows you to store data offsite in the cloud, a network of servers which are combined to store and process data. This means you don't need to use a hard drive or other physical devices to store your data on you own. Some cloud storage services allow you to set up automatic backups so files can be saved directly to the cloud.
Cloud Storage: What to Consider
As you look over cloud service provider options, there are several key factors to consider. It gets down to how you use your tablet, smart phone and laptop, and what you wish to save. The best data storage solutions work smoothly with other apps and services and of course on all your devices. Ideally working with a data storage service is a seamless experience; keep this in mind as you research the options.
Security is Your First Concern
First and foremost, look for a company with a strong reputation for air-tight security. Does the company have robust encryptions to protect your data? Conduct a due diligence check on data storage companies you are seriously considering. Have there been reports of incidents where their security was breached? Most of the date storage providers we recommend are known for their top-notch security.
Also consider how you will use the cloud. For example, be careful about connecting you social media accounts like Facebook to your cloud service. If your password to a social media account becomes compromised, hackers can gain access to your cloud storage via your social media. Another possible leak situation occurs downloading from your smartphone to the cloud. Strong passwords are helpful, but what security measures are in place from the data storage provider? Be aware of which apps automatically work with your cloud storage. You must also be vigilant against uploading malicious files into your cloud storage.
How Much Data are You Storing?
If your data storage needs are small, services like Dropbox offer a limited amount of storage for free. Some cloud storage services offer a free version, with a limit on the amount of storage you can get at no cost.
Take a look at what type of data you work with, and prioritize which files are most important to you. Create a spreadsheet to calculate how much cloud storage you really need. Tally up how much data you have on hand that you'd like to put on the cloud. As a rule of thumb, go ahead and double that when you sign up for a personal cloud data storage service, as you'll have ongoing storage needs. Some services offer unlimited storage, but price can be a factor.
Look at Accessibility Options
Does the service allow you to access your files from multiple devices and computers, or only from a single computer? The best data storage services allow access, filing sharing and archiving from all your digital devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. It's very convenient to create a file on a tablet and instantly have it available on your laptop or phone. You could start a file over coffee with friends for example, and open it up later at home and work with it on a different device.
Data storage is a relatively new industry, driven by innovations in service. This works in the consumer's favor, as accessibility options like file sharing and syncing become the norm. For those in the cloud storage game, they must keep up or they will be out of business quickly.
What Are You Storing?
There are services geared to a specific type of file, such as music or photos. If you want to store a range of file types, be sure you sign on with a service that can handle all of them. If you have a lot of large files should consider a service that offers unlimited storage and no file size cap such as ZipCloud or Carbonite.
Before backing up all of your documents, photos, music and videos to a cloud service, take the time to look at what you have and edit it. Musical taste changes and we all take plenty of bad photos. Why pay good money to store files you don't need? Interestingly, financial documents and information, some of your most important files, may be quite small in actual file size. Videos and PDFs can be enormous files, eating up a ton of space.
Cloud storage is intended to solve your data backup problems, putting your precious digital files in a secure place in case your laptop has a meltdown, or your two-year old spills a coke on it. But things can, and do, go wrong with cloud storage, so it's good to have a hedge against this possibility. First of all, many cloud storage services offer either a free trial, or a free account for a small amount of space. Go ahead and use a service on this basis with a sub-set of your digital files and get the hang of it before you commit to placing all of your data in an unproven cloud.
When you do commit to paying for cloud storage, look carefully at the customer support options of each service. Should something go wrong, it's great to have access to help, especially if the company offers multiple channels of contact such as phone, chat and email. Check independent customer service reviews, off the company website, to see what actual customers have to say about each provider's customer support.
Compare the Fees and Terms
An important part of shopping for a monthly service is to get the best deal on good terms. Bottom line, you can get a heck of a lot of storage for just a few dollars per month from a good cloud storage service. Typically, there are incentives such as a free month for paying for a year or more upfront. The basic data storage plans are in the $4 to $6 per month range if you are willing to pay for at least a year at a time.
Meet the Best Cloud Storage Providers
We've evaluated the data storage industry and can recommend these top providers of cloud storage with confidence. Keep in mind which type of files and devices you work with and choose a provider that will be able to best provide you with smooth service as you move files back and forth.
- ZipCloud provides unlimited storage, no file size cap
- Offers multi-device backup
- Built in file organizer
- File archiving and sharing
- Desktop client
- No telephone support
- Inability to search for files
- Limited mobile access
ZipCloud leads the way in online backup services with great features like unlimited storage and no file size cap, multi-device backup and file archiving and sharing. The service includes a program that intuitively organizes files for you. They have a great FAQ page at their website, but do not offer phone support, although you can phone with billing questions. Technical support is available via email.
- Automatic backups
- Access files from anywhere
- High-end security
- 24/7 customer support via email
- FAQs section
- Limited to email support
- Non-competing price
JustCloud is a renowned for their high-end security, delivering peace of mind along with data storage. You can access your files from anywhere and your files are automatically backed up. They offer 24/7 customer support via email, but sometimes the response time lags. JustCloud offers unlimited data storage, but at a price that is at the high end of the scale for this service.
- High-end security
- Password protected data
- Great customer support
- Various ways to backup data
- Unlimited storage
- Does not support file sharing or archiving
- Some bothersome features
- No file sharing or syncing
Carbonite offers a bundle of great features with its data storage service. Your data is password protected of course, and their security is among the best in the cloud storage business. They also offer unlimited storage and excellent customer support. They claim 93% customer satisfaction and have received customer care awards. They were late to offer file sharing and syncing, but recently have begun offering these industry standard features, moving them up a notch in our ratings.
- High security standards
- Access files online and on mobile devices
- Sync with multiple computers
- Share files easily
- Slightly more expensive that similar services
Livedrive offers unlimited data backup and an abundance of data storage service plans to choose from, and a 14-day free trial. You get all the standard features like access from all your digital devices, file sharing and syncing. They maintain high security standards, keeping your data safe. Livedrive charges a bit more than comparable services.
- Affordable mid-range plans
- Set bandwidth limits
- Live chat available
- File sharing ability
- Secure encryption and data transferring
- Pricey top tier plans
iDrive backs up all your digital devices with one account, offers top-notch security and good customer support via phone or live chat. They do not offer unlimited backup, but overall they are very good with clever features like Facebook and Instagram backup.
Cloud Storage Advice
As you think over the pros and cons of each cloud storage provider, take the time to look over our advice guides to learn more on the subject. These articles are sure to be helpful in making a decision about the best data storage company for you. Here's several examples of articles in the advice guide:
- How do you currently store and backup your data? Are you aware of the advantages of using a cloud storage service? If your files are on the hard drive of your laptop, you leave yourself vulnerable to a system crash and loss of your files. Or maybe you have a bunch of flash drives scattered about? It may be time to consider using a data storage service.
- For those who own or operate a business, cloud storage can help your business. Your digital data is critical to every aspect of running a successful operation. All aspects of business activity from marketing to order processing generate an ongoing stream of digital information, which must be properly archived and accessible at a moment's notice. The most efficient choice for storing business data is to put it in the cloud. When looking for a cloud storage service for business, keep an eye out for their data organizing features, a must-have for backing up business files in a variety of categories.
- Let's face it, 15GB of storage space at Google Drive is not enough. It's a great cloud service where you can store all of your digital files, and comes with 15GB of free space. You can access Google Drive from your tablet, smart phone and computer, with the files synced to all devices. Certainly you can pack a lot of stuff into 15GB, but things really open up for only $1.99 per month, their fee for storing up to 100 GB. If you need a truly huge amount of space, for $10/month you get 1 TB (1000GB).
- Explore the best methods to store backup data. Our work, play, financial, education, family and hobby activities all have a toe in the digital waters. It's become critical for most of us to have a secure home for our digital files. Take a close look at the options for backing up your data. External hard drives are handy, but you must manually add files, and like your laptop, they are vulnerable to crashes, spills, toddler tantrums and other hazards. Then there are online backup and cloud storage services, with cloud storage offering the easiest access from all of your digital devices.
Cloud storage is a convenient way to back up files so that they can be accessed from anywhere. In a world where our online lives are increasingly connected to our real ones, this service is very important. Find one that has features, and a price, that works for you.
As you look over the options, keep in mind how you use your data, and on what type of devices. Check each service carefully to insure that you'll have a positive experience backing up and moving your digital information to the cloud.