Affordable Cloud Storage Options
Popular cloud storage options combine affordability with the protection of your data. Read a guide on affordable cloud storage options available in 2021.
External hard drives are useful for storing important data. Capacity limitations and fragility often create more problems than physical devices solve, however. Affordable cloud storage options are available to not only solve but eliminate those problems. Cloud storage also offers numerous benefits for both home and business operations including affordable pricing plans, free trials and customizable features.
Your data is important to you whether it is personal or business in nature. Affordable cloud storage helps you back up and safely store all your vital data, which eliminates all risks associated with using physical hard drives. Popular cloud storage options offer a combination of affordability, flexibility and data protection/security. Read ahead for an informative guide on affordable cloud storage options available in 2021.
Cloud Storage 101
Cloud storage is a secure online location to where important files and data are uploaded and stored for future access. Instead of offloading files to physical, external hard drives your data is uploaded to an online storage space. The best cloud storage providers offer account and data encryption with expandable capacity plans. This combination of features allows you to upload a significant amount of data with the assurance your information is secure and protected.
Cloud storage is used for both business and personal purposes. Files are available for download as needed, although your information is also accessible without the need to download it. Online storage accounts are also designed for collaboration in both the business and personal worlds. Family plans are available for sharing data such as pictures, music, financial documents and more. Business accounts allow multiple users within an organization to access vital data as needed. Storage folders are accessible by logging into an account or via share-enabled links. Most paid plans offer affordable tiered pricing, which includes expanded storage capacities concurrent with each increased price-point. Many cloud storage services offer free trials prior to requiring a purchase commitment. Some cloud storage providers also offer entirely free plans with limited storage capacity and features.
Most cloud storage plans provide storage capacity in blocks of gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB). Some free and/or limited plans might offer plans where only a limited number of megabytes in storage capacity are provided. Storage capacity is often customizable and expandable inside an account to whatever sizes you/your company need. This of course also depends on the capacity sizes your cloud storage company is capable of accommodating. Multiple accounts are sometimes required when customizable storage space is not available. Most business services organize storage capacity in a per-account/per-user fashion with private pricing quotes available for expanded/customized needs. Some personal family storage plans operate in similar fashion albeit with more limitations pursuant to number of users and amount of available space.
Benefits of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage offers multiple benefits in lieu of using physical hard drives. Cloud storage also offers benefits unique unto itself. For example, one primary benefit of using a cloud storage service is expandable storage capacity, which a physical hard drive cannot provide. Benefits for home and business use of cloud storage services are also numerous.
Sharing data amongst family members is simple and convenient when using a cloud storage option. Data is accessible from multiple devices wherever Wi-Fi service is available. Pictures, music, personal documents and more are all available for download and/or real-time viewing regardless of your location. Data plans are required to access online/cloud-based accounts when a Wi-Fi connection is not available. Traveling with portable hard drives poses risks to the devices themselves and the data stored on them. Physical hard drives at home also take up space and are susceptible to damage from spills, drops and basic malfunctions. Physical hard drives also have capacity limitations and once the drives are full, new drives are required for expanded data storage. Purchasing a cloud storage account eliminates physical clutter and saves money by eliminating the need to buy multiple expensive hard drives when your storage needs expand.
Cloud storage plans for business use offer unique and vital benefits for your company. Data accessibility is fast and convenient. Physical office space is not required for cloud storage services so more company resources are available for other purposes. All permitted employees are able to access data in cooperative and collaborative fashion. Company projects are completed faster when using cloud storage services. Because documents are stored online, the loss of and damage to paper documents are eliminated. Editing of documents is also viewable in real-time, which eliminates overlapping/superfluous changes by different employees. All activity is also viewable by management/owners in real-time or via recorded activity logs.
Popular Cloud Storage Solutions 2021
Multiple popular cloud storage solutions are available in 2021. Plans for personal and business use are available, with business plans commonly having special pricing designed to accommodate a large number of users. One of the most common cloud storage services is Dropbox. Dropbox, like many other cloud storage services, offers free, personal and business plans to customers. Free accounts provide 2GB of storage. Dropbox Plus costs $11.99/mo for 2TB storage capacity. Dropbox Professional costs 19.99/mo for 3TB of storage, video commenting and extra security watermarks. Additional popular cloud storage solutions for 2021 include:
- iDrive (best for personal use & small businesses).
- MediaFire (upload files prior to purchasing plans).
- Apple iCloud (family sharing; cross-platform capability).
- SpiderOak ONE (user-friendly; high-end security).
- Microsoft OneDrive (simple Windows integration; multi-device compatibility).
- Nextcloud (open-source; set up storage from office/personal servers).
Cloud Storage - What Are the Risks?
Cloud storage services are not without some risks. Many services use a strong encryption protocol to protect your data from breaches and theft, but not all do. Accessing cloud storage requires a Wi-Fi or data plan connection. If both are unavailable, so is access to your data. Companies providing cloud storage services rely on a network of servers, which are vital to providing access to customer data. If servers go down, so too does the ability to get to your files. Loss of data when using cloud storage solutions is rare but is still a risk. Backing up your data in at least one other location is advisable.