Cloud Storage Providers

With nearly 50% of all revenues for cloud computing companies coming from storage, it should be no surprise that the number of cloud storage providers is skyrocketing. Whereas there were just a handful of major players in this market just a few years ago, there are now dozens. If you’re trying to decide which one can best accommodate your business needs, our guide to “what to look for in cloud storage providers”, and our review of the Top 10 services will help point you in the right direction.

What to Look For in Cloud Storage Providers

Cost is one of the first factors that most of us consider when trying to decide which service to choose, but where cloud storage is concerned, this should not be the first thing you look at. In fact, most experts on the subject will tell you that the price of the service should rank no higher than fourth, because there are three other factors that should always take precedence.

Availability

Depending on how much of your data you plan on backing up with cloud storage, the issue of availability can range from being a fairly minor one to absolutely critical. Knowing how often a provider backs up your files and how much redundancy there is in their storage will tell you just how reliable you should expect its availability to be. It goes without saying that providers who offer higher levels of guaranteed availability (i.e. frequent backups and high redundancy) also charge more for their service.

Flexibility

In addition to the availability of your data, flexibility in using it is also a major feature that you should look for when evaluating cloud storage providers. The ease with which clients can access previous versions of files, edit them, and share them varies from one provider to the next, so make sure any company you are considering offers a level of flexibility that can handle your company’s workflow.

Security

Perhaps the greatest concern that businesses have when moving their data storage to a cloud-based service is security – and with good reason. The way that online storage providers handle this sensitive issue is by providing encryption of your data while it is at rest on the network servers, being transferred to remote cloud storage, and as it is being sent to and from local cache storage. Be certain that the level of encryption provided by a service meets your company’s security standards.

The Top 10 Cloud Storage Providers

The market for cloud storage is highly competitive and volatile, thanks in large part to a growing tendency by consumers to treat the service as a commodity. For that reason, establishing a Top 10 list of providers is a bit arbitrary.

Nonetheless, the list contained herein represents 10 companies that have been consistently ranked among the most-reliable, competitively-priced providers in the business for a number of years.

SugarSync

Notable for its capability to stream data directly to your mobile device, and automatically sync files and folders to unlimited users on one account, SugarSync is considered by many to be the leader in the consumer cloud storage market.

OpenDrive

Flexible enough to adapt to either business or personal users, OpenDrive is celebrated for its ease of use, affordable pricing, and state-of-the-art security features.

Mozy

Mozy has carved out a niche for itself as the storage leader in data security for business users. In addition to offering its clients military-level encryption, its service is also celebrated for its speedy, frequent, automatic data backup feature.

Box.net

Lightning-quick data transfer and its usefulness as a web interface tool for synching files and folders are what sets Box apart from other cloud storage providers. While many of its features make it attractive to personal users, it also stands out as a business service provider thanks to its 256-bit SSL security encryption.

ElephantDrive

As its name suggests, ElephantDrive does cloud storage on a large scale. Offering two months of free 500GB storage for personal users and unlimited space for businesses with a one-year subscription, the company caters to those with large storage needs and further ingratiates itself to these clients with one of the fastest, and most-trustworthy, backup systems available.

Carbonite

Specializing in file recovery and unlimited backup capacity, Carbonite has made a name for itself as one of the most-affordable, no-frills cloud storage providers for businesses. Its security and automated scan for backups feature also make it a favorite among companies that handle exceptionally large volumes of unique, sensitive files.

iStorage

Relatively popular among personal users, iStorage gets high scores for its superior customer service and user-friendly interface. While its wealth of personal use features do make it an enticing service for those with limited personal use needs, its storage restrictions and pricing make it less suited to larger users.

MyPC Backup

Unlimited storage, scheduled backups, and the ability to automatically synchronize files edited or created offline with online users as soon as an internet connection is established, are just some of the features that make MyPC Backup a giant in the cloud storage world.

ADrive

One of the breakout cloud storage providers of 2011, ADrive took the cloud storage industry by storm with a built-in document editor, 50GB of free storage, and one of the friendlier price points you’ll find among providers who cater to business users.

FlipDrive

FlipDrive’s easy-to-use service and organizational functions make it a force in the personal storage market, where it also excels by allowing users unlimited photo storage and the ability to create either private or public albums to share with specific users. It’s security features and pricing place it behind many of its competitors, however.

A Final Word on Cloud Storage Providers
Finding a storage service provider that can meet all of your personal or business needs is important. As our world has become increasingly integrated with technology, the ability to quickly, safely, and efficiently share important data with family, friends, and business associates has become critical. When choosing a service, just remember that price shouldn’t be the only issue you consider. When it comes to cloud storage providers, there are simply too many other important issues that should be weighed into your decision.