Backing up your data to the cloud is becoming a standard for many PC and Mac users. Today, the ease of this process is as simple as dragging and dropping. Many providers like JustCloud and offering users a 1-Click option to automatically backup the most important files on your computer. With automatic scheduling and version control, utilizing the cloud is not only recommended but it also offers peace of mind when it comes to making sure your data is stored on a secure and safe server in the cloud.
For most of us the data on our PC’s is irreplaceable, especially files such as photos and videos. Thankfully, there are many pieces of software and hardware that have allowed us to be able to backup our data just in case the PC suffers from some form of problem which causes you to lose your data. However, it’s very easy to lose external hard drives or for them to suffer a fatal error, which is where the Cloud comes in.
- 1 Best Cloud Storage Service Reviews of 2017
- 2 What Are the Main Benefits For Using A Cloud Backup Solution?
- 3 Best Free Cloud Storage Providers
- 4 There are several advantages to remote online backup, including:
- 5 How To Choose A Reliable Cloud Storage Provider?
- 6 Main Considerations Before Deciding On A Cloud Storage Provider
- 7 Cloud Security
- 8 Privacy Concerns About ‘The Cloud’
- 9 Protectionist Measures
- 10 The need for an open global market
- 11 Support
Best Cloud Storage Service Reviews of 2017
The cloud is perfect for backing up your data as there are so many options, most of them not costing you a penny. The benefit of backing up to the cloud is that you don’t have to worry about losing your data as it’s safely stored on the internet and with high speed broadband in most households, it won’t take as long as you’d first think.
Best Provider With Encryption
SpiderOak offers a ‘Zero Knowledge’ encryption is a rare feature found from cloud providers. Basically this is local encryption where your files are encrypted before leaving your computer. This means that only you have the key to unlock the encryption so if for any reason your files get intercepted during upload or download or even hacked on the cloud servers then you can rest assure that they are protected. Typically cloud providers only encrypt on the server side and not during transmission. So if you are highly sensitive about privacy then SpiderOak should be your cloud provider.
pCloud is a great DropBox alternative if you are tired of the high fees. Offering the same great features as a DropBox drive such as file sharing with anyone you specify (public or private), using it as a separate drive that you can access from any location and on any device. Plans starting at $4.99 a month for 500gb. For a limited time they are offering all Reviewster visitors a 1-time payment option of $59 for 500gb for a lifetime. Don’t pass up this offer, click the button below to get that deal. See our full pCloud Review
- User friendly. The interface of the software is really easy to use. You will be surprised how simple it is!
- Rich in features. Having Synchronized storage is really a very HUGE plus point for JustCloud. Although you don’t get multi giga bite of Synchronized storage, the 1GB come with any plans does do the job for me. I love that!
- 7 file versioning. 7 is a good number where you don’t need to mess with too many different versions yet it provides sufficient protection.
- Cheap pricing. JustCloud is one of those services that achieves great balance between profit and value. They don’t provide bombastic features but they charge reasonably low. Perhaps that is what makes them so popular today.
What Are the Main Benefits For Using A Cloud Backup Solution?
Any time your personal or company’s data become unavailable due to system failure or other disaster, this can quickly translate into wasted time trying to recover or lost revenue for your business. Cloud backup providers like our top rated service (JustCloud) offer a web-based service that allows you to back up and store files to a secure, off-site location, and is the best way to keep your personal and company’s vital data safe at all times.
Although remote online backup requires a fast Internet connection, this is usually not a problem since broadband access is common, especially among business users. Most likely, your connection will be fast enough to accommodate the traffic between your computer and the online backup server.
Cloud computing services allow people to access data and documents from any computer, tablet or smart phone, as long as they have a working internet connection. This is especially helpful when working on collaborative projects, as documents can be simultaneously viewed and edited from widely disparate locations. The automatic software updates that come with cloud software also make it easier to keep up with current regulations and compliance laws.
By far this is more cost-effective than traditional software. Instead of purchasing and installing programs onto various devices, the software exists on a remote server. Use of the software is on a subscription basis rather than purchasing the software outright. In other words, businesses are required to pay for the service only when it is required. This saves money and provides the flexibility to scale up or down as demand fluctuates. For companies that have seasonal spikes, cloud storage provides a distinct advantage over buying software.
Another major benefit from utilizing the cloud is the doing away with server and hard drive constraints. Businesses offer varying degrees of storage, and upgrading capacity is simply a matter of paying a higher monthly fee. Conversely, increasing storage space by traditional means would involve purchasing expensive equipment and installation costs. Maintenance expenditures are also eliminated as all the storage equipment is owned by the computing provider. There is no need for a specialist IT staff to fix bugs and install upgrades relative to the software. An example of this type of storage is SugarSync.
4. Security and Backup
Cloud software cannot be pirated as the program is hosted on a single centralized server. These servers are extremely resilient and hosted over multiple countries, making it highly unlikely that data will be lost or inaccessible. Moreover, the cost of security is defrayed as the provider is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the system. As the cloud computing provider’s business is dependent on keeping client data secure, these measures are often complex and impossible to crack.
5. Green Credentials
In a recent study by Microsoft, it was purported to reduce carbon emissions for businesses by as much as 30 percent. This is primarily due to the energy savings garnered from utilizing the cloud in lieu of an entire in-house server. Going green saves your company money while at the same time can be used as an effective marketing strategy to clients looking for more responsible businesses.
Best Free Cloud Storage Providers
These days, big hard drives are more obsolete then ever before. With the emergence of cloud storage, people are now looking to online storage as a means of backing up their files. The best part about cloud storage is that there are a number of providers whose services are free. However, just because a service provides you with free storage, doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust it to keep your precious files. Some services are prone to downtime, and others only give you very limited storage space. Luckily, the following article has a list of the best free online storage providers. Read through the list and see which providers best suits your needs.
#1 – Google Drive
Probably the most popular storage provider out there is Google Drive. It isn’t hard to see why so many people flock to Google for their storage needs. Since it’s launch in April of 2012, Google has caused many people to ditch their old storage providers and join its own and it is not hard to see why. The greatest feature that Google Drive has is that it integrates itself with all of your other Google tools, such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google+. With 5 GB of free space and both PC and Mac support, its no wonder this is the quickly becoming the most popular online storage provider.
#2 – Dropbox
If Google Drive is becoming the most popular online storage provider, it is taking away the top spot from Dropbox. Dropbox is one of the first online storage providers to be widely used by the public. It has a very simple user interface that many people love and it allows you to share your files with other Dropbox users. While their free service only gives you 2 GB of storage, users can increase it up to 18 GB by referring other people to Dropbox. This makes Dropbox the best online storage provider without question as far as storage space is concerned. Dropbox is also the only storage provider that has apps for Android, Apple and Blackberry.
#3 – Apple iCloud
What list would be complete without mentioning Apple. If you have any of Apple’s latest devices you’ve probably been asked to set up an Apple iCloud account. Similar to Google Drive, iCloud integrates with many of the tools found on Apple’s iOS. iCloud users also have the option to sign up for iTunes Match, a service that allows users to store non-iTunes music on the iCloud servers. However, iTunes match will cost users $25/year. Like Google Drive, users get 5 GB of free storage space. The only downside to this service is that the the only mobile apps it has are for iOS, making it useless for Android users.
There you have it, the three best free online storage providers. Remember, you have the option to get more storage space with all three providers however there is going to be an annual fee that you have to pay.
There are several advantages to remote online backup, including:
Your files will remain available and can be accessed remotely from any location with an Internet connection. Files stored locally, as on a hard drive, are not accessible remotely.
Remote online backup providers adhere to rigorous practices that virtually eliminate the possibility of your data being completely destroyed due to a disaster. Your backups will be physically safe. Remote online backup protects your hardware and software against theft, failure, and natural disaster whereas backups kept on a hard drive, CD, DVD, and even Blu-Ray are still vulnerable to such occurrences. Remote online backup services include such security measures as traffic encryption, password protection for stored files and secure file sharing. Many remote online backup vendors offer real-time backup protection at no extra cost, a service that most businesses will want to take advantage of. For many businesses, remote online backup can be much more cost-effective than the offline alternative. Cloud backup solutions are usually built around a client software program that collects your data then compresses it, encrypts it and transfers it to a server. Typically, this process is carried out on a daily basis. With a remote backup of all your important information, you can be assured that your information is safe and easily retrievable even in the event of a system crash, theft, natural disaster or user error.
When you have a reliable and trustworthy provider, you can place your company’s data in their hands with confidence. But with dozens of companies offering cloud backup services, how do you go about choosing the best provider? What are some common issues you will need to consider? And in what ways do the services of various providers differ?
Examples in business include SaaS, file storage, online backup storage, file syncing, and customer relationship management. In fact, it is now possible for companies to create their own private cloud, which is used to provide specialized services unique to a specific group of employees.
How To Choose A Reliable Cloud Storage Provider?
Since pricing and features can vary greatly, it’s important to assess your needs before you begin the process of selecting a vendor. Remote online backup services designed for small businesses are very different from those intended for larger enterprises. A lower priced service with basic features such as web access, scheduled backup and the ability to share files or send files by CD/DVD/Blu-Ray may be adequate for the needs of a smaller company. A larger business will require more complex features such as historical backup, live database, tighter encryption and the ability to backup operating system files. One popular business cloud plan is from Tapnet.
Below are a few basic questions to ask when considering different providers:
- Does the provider offer historical backup?
- Will the software be able to recover from an interrupted backup process?
- Does the service offer live and continuous backup in addition to scheduled backup?
- Is there an option for network backups?
- Is database and operating system backup–including registry files–available?
- Will the vendor make copies of my company data available on DVD or Blu-Ray for emergency data restoration?
- Can I delete or edit stored files?
- Can I select an entire folder to back up rather than individual files?
- Does the service allow scheduling of multiple file sets for different times?
- Can I set up filters to include or exclude certain file types?
- How long will the provider keep my data on their servers?
- Will my files be duplicated to at least two separate geographic locations?
- Where is the provider’s data center located?
- How many different versions of my company’s data will be stored?
- Is this company a re-seller or an original provider? (If speed is important to your business, you might want to consider paying a bit more for faster service.)
- Does this provider support my company’s type of computer system?
- Will the service provide tight enough encryption to keep my data safe?
- Does the company perform frequent automatic updates?
- Will the system be easy to use?
- Who are the clients of this company?
- Does the company have a solid financial history?
- How long has this vendor been operating?
Main Considerations Before Deciding On A Cloud Storage Provider
- Space Requirements
You should carefully consider how much space will be required to store your company’s data. Find out whether the vendor will be able to support all the files that you need to have backed up. You don’t want to sign up with a provider only to find that you have to choose which files to back up and which ones will be left vulnerable.
It’s important to note that the initial backup will require the most time and bandwidth since all the files you’ve selected for backup must be delivered to your service provider. If you need to prepare multiple computers for online backup, be sure to stagger the first few backups to prevent overburdening your Internet connection.
- Archiving Period
It is vital that you know how long your data will be kept on the company’s servers if your account has not been accessed for a certain amount of time. Most companies do delete data after a designated period of account inactivity. If you anticipate a need for extended storage, find out if the provider will accommodate your needs, and what additional fees they might charge. You want to be sure that you can readily access your archived files from any computer whenever you wish.
- Speed, Reliability and Up-time
These are three key factors to look at before making your final selection. Since backups are usually the only option for recovering data after a system failure or disaster, remote online backup services do not have a great margin for error. The data stored with them must be there when needed. Find out what steps the provider has taken to secure their clients’ data. Feel free to ask such questions as:
- Does the center have a continuous, un-interruptible power supply, including a back-up generator in a secure location?
- What is the up-time for the data center?
- How many clicks are required to actually begin the online backup process?
- When the backup is running, many disk resources or CPU does it consume?
- Is the backup continuous?
- How quickly can files be restored?
The price you will pay for remote online backup service will naturally be one of your prime considerations. Many remote online backup providers offer unlimited storage for a very affordable price, either on a monthly or yearly basis. Some provide enough free storage to accommodate the needs of most smaller businesses.
Your own company’s needs will be the determining factor when comparing prices. For example, do you simply require a scheduled data backup at the lowest possible price or are you willing to pay more for real-time backup of email and database applications?
Pricing details to consider from the company include:
- Do they charge per computer or per account?
- Is there a free trial period available?
- What are their set-up fees, if any?
- Will telephone technical support cost extra?
- How much does the provider charge per GB per month?
- Will I be charged if I exceed the allowable traffic and storage quota?
- How frequently and what amount of data backup is allowed daily or monthly?
- Can I cancel at any time or am I obligated for a minimum period?
Be sure to compare the services of a few different companies before settling on any one remote online backup provider. It will be worth your time to find a company that has the best reputation, price and storage space. Reviewster’s cloud backup comparison chart can make your search much easier. We did the research to make choosing easier for you.
Security should be a primary consideration when choosing a remote cloud backup provider. To ensure the safety of your company’s data you will want to make certain the vendor you select provides substantial encryption and password protection for their clients. This ensures that the only people who can access your company’s stored data are those authorized by you, and to whom you have given the password. With proper encryption and password protection, even your backup service provider will not be able to access your information.
A system that offers 128-bit encryption is sufficient for most users. However, if you require the utmost privacy and security you might opt for a much stronger encryption, such as the 448-bit encryption offered by some providers. Whichever you choose, your data must remain secure once it reaches the destination server, which means the provider should have appropriate policies in place to ensure that employees cannot access client data unless authorized to do so. Most providers take a very serious view of the security of their clients’ information.
Privacy Concerns About ‘The Cloud’
Privacy concerns seem to be one of those perennial woes of mankind that never seem to be settled. Tech buffs are bothered about computer monitoring software and cell phone spy apps breaching their privacy while foreign cloud providers fear that their data might not be safe in U.S. soil.
The growing market of cloud computing is ostensibly facing its demons in terms of expanding its frontiers overseas, the reason is privacy and security concerns by the foreign governments along with their attempts to foster domestic companies at the expense of U.S. firms, according to a panel of tech officials that prompted the members of a House subcommittee. According to the witnesses’ testimony, an increasing number of legislations by foreign governments – mostly EU member states- have ordained restrictions meant for U.S. firms to stay out of their markets. Such regulations are usually presented because of over-propagated issues regarding the Patriot Act and other U.S. laws giving the government unrestricted access to the data that U.S. companies store.
According to Justin Freeman, the corporate counsel for the firm Rackspace, there are several concerns impeding the growth of American cloud companies, by not allowing them to compete internationally. Data privacy issues jeopardize American companies’ competition abroad while foreign companies are getting increasingly unwilling to do business with them. Even if it is unwarranted, the perception still exists that U.S. privacy protections do not suffice for the protection of data stored with U.S. companies or even on U.S. soil.
The senior analyst at Information Technology and Information Foundation, David Castro, sees these measures a kind of cloud mercantilism, threatening free and fair global IT market as several critics view the privacy concerns a distraction meant for the protection of home industry thereby restricting competitors. He implies that the policies by these foreign countries are unfair as they are intended to advantage their domestic cloud computing companies while the lawful fair competition and foreign competitors are not given much significance.
A report titled Lockout also aims at warning about the different discriminating practices by foreign nations hindering the growth of IT providers, by a trade group having members from the hardware and software sector- the Business Software Alliance. The CEO and President of BSA, Robert Holleyman mentioned a Chinese policy pertaining to the providers of cloud computing, calling to form joint ventures with domestic companies and agreeing about sharing the source code. He further elucidates that the regular appeals made to the Patriot Act by foreign governments and international competitors are mostly blown out of proportion. The misrepresented powers signify that the U.S. government has a much more capacity to gain access to the information stored in the cloud as compared to any other government. He clarifies that despite being false; it is still used by many to attack U.S. companies that provide cloud solutions.
The need for an open global market
Dan Chenok, the executive director of the Center for the Business of Government at IBM, convinces the policy makers to look for internationally viable open standards that will aid in resolving these issues rising with regards to cloud computing. Cloud computing can be fully utilized by relying upon open standards promoting portability and interoperability of data. These factors are pivotal for proper adoption and delivery of cloud computing. Governments will also be able to gain from the greater efficiency resulting through an open global market for cloud based solutions.
Support is another key issue when deciding on a cloud backup solution. Find out if the company has an emergency user support system that you can contact whenever you need assistance. Will you be required to fill out a lengthy online form before receiving help? The best companies will offer 24/7 support via both telephone and email, and will gladly tell you how long it typically takes their support team to respond to requests. This should be true not only for their technical support, but also for general customer support and service.
- What type of technical support does the provider offer?
- Will support be available during the hours you are most likely to need it?
- Is there any extra charge for technical support?
- Does the vendor offer a toll free number to call?
- Is technical support available 24/7?
- Does the company’s website list their physical address?
- How quickly do they respond to email queries?
- Does the company have an international presence?
- Are there any customer support satisfaction reports available?
- What is the average hold time for phone support?