Best Cloud Storage Software & Buyer's Guide

Top Best Cloud Storage Software & Buyer's Guide

Goodbye, clunky external harddrive. Hello, future.

10 years ago, “the cloud” was a buzzword that no one understood; nowadays, it’s one of the core elements of our online operating system. Instead of purchasing your own physical storage, you can pay others a fraction of the cost to store your data on their servers; however, the question becomes, whose cloud storage software is the best?

In this guide, I cover the best cloud storage solutions for individuals, independent professionals, and organizations alike, so you can move forward with confidence, knowing there’s nothing left uncovered.

10 Best Cloud Storage Software

These are the 10 cloud storage software solutions that I’m going to go over, in no particular order:

  • Cloudinary: Best for media management with superior image and video handling.
  • Bitrix24: Best for integrated business tools including CRM, project, and document management.
  • Box: Best for enterprise-level cloud storage with advanced security features.
  • CrashPlan: Best for continuous, automatic backup solutions, particularly for small businesses.
  • Google Drive: Best for seamless integration with Google’s suite of productivity tools.
  • OneDrive: Best for Microsoft users needing seamless Office integration and file sharing.
  • Dropbox: Best for easy file sharing and reliable sync across devices.
  • Nutanix: Best for hyperconverged infrastructure requiring scalable cloud solutions.
  • Sync: Best for privacy-focused users with its end-to-end encryption feature.
  • IDrive: Best for comprehensive cloud backup, offering storage for multiple devices.

Expert Pick


Cloudinary 92


Automate your entire image management lifecycle Cloudinary accelerates your time to market, automating fast, pixel-perfect image delivery on every device. * File Upload and Storage - Easy and secure uplo... View Listing...

Best for media management with superior image and video handling.

What Is Cloud Storage Software

Let’s go over the basics.

Cloud storage software refers to services that provide users with a system for storing data on remote servers that can be accessed over the internet, commonly referred to as “the cloud”. This data is typically maintained, managed, and backed up by the cloud storage provider, often on multiple servers to ensure redundancy and data safety.

Types Of Cloud Storage Software

There are different types of cloud storage services, often categorized based on their specific use-cases or the method they use to store and manage data. Here are some common types:

Public Cloud Storage: This is offered by third-party service providers over the Internet. It’s scalable and you only pay for the storage you use. Examples include Google Drive, Amazon S3, and Dropbox.

Private Cloud Storage: This is a proprietary network or a data center that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall. It offers more control and better security, making it suitable for businesses handling sensitive data.

Hybrid Cloud Storage: This combines public and private cloud file storage. Some data can be stored in the public cloud for cost savings and scalability, while other, more sensitive data is stored in a private cloud for security. Think of it like having your own private storeroom inside a public warehouse.

Cloud Backup: These services, like Backblaze and IDrive, focus primarily on backing up data stored on a device to the cloud for disaster recovery.

Cloud Storage Gateway: These are hardware-based or software-based appliances that serve as bridges between local applications and remote cloud-based storage.

Object Storage Services: These services, like Amazon S3, store data as discrete units called “objects” that are retrieved via unique identifiers. They’re good for managing large amounts of unstructured data.

How To Choose Which Cloud Storage Software To Buy

In order to figure out the best storage option for you, I need to understand who you are and what you need your software to do. This section will help fill that purpose.

Which type of buyer are you?

I have definitely not covered all of the use cases for cloud storage software; however, this does include all of the main buckets.

Individual Users

These are private individuals who need to store personal files such as photos, documents, videos, and backups of their devices. Public and cloud storage options such as Google Drive and Microsoft Onedrive are great for individual users due to their ease of use, integration with other services, and cost-effectiveness. They also offer free cloud storage tiers for users with modest storage needs.

Small Businesses

Small businesses need an affordable, scalable way to store, share, and manage data. Public or hybrid storage options typically get the job done best here, and tools such as Box and OneDrive are great options as they offer affordable plans and integrate well with other productivity tools. They also support collaboration and easy file sharing.

Large Enterprises

Large enterprises need a robust and comprehensive solution to store files as well as manage and analyze vast amounts of data. They often require advanced features such as administrative tools, data protection, and high-capacity plans. Box Enterprise and Google Workspace (which includes Google Drive) offer these features, along with scalability and wide third-party integrations.

Creative Professionals

These are individuals or companies in creative fields such as photography, video production, design, etc. They need cloud storage platforms that support large files and offer robust media management tools. Cloudinary is a great choice for this group, with strong media management capabilities and transformation features.

Software Developers

Developers need cloud storage for code repositories, app data, and backups. They may need features like versioning, APIs, and integration with development tools. GitHub (for code repositories) and Amazon S3 (for general object storage with powerful APIs) are good choices.

I’ve noticed while traveling that software developers often have the most robust personal cloud storage out there – if they lose a piece of hardware, they can pick right back up where they left off without missing a beat.

Organizations with High Security Needs

Organizations handling sensitive data, such as government agencies, healthcare institutions, and financial services firms, need cloud storage with top-tier data protection and security features. Nutanix offers a private cloud solution and on-premise infrastructure that can be more secure and controllable. Box also offers a high level of security and compliance features, such as two-factor authentication.

Key features to look for

Cloud storage software is more than just a place to host your data and many of the best options have myriad features that you’re going to want to be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most important features:

  • Data Encryption: This feature ensures the security of stored data by encrypting it at rest and in transit, protecting against unauthorized access.
  • File Versioning: This feature allows for keeping multiple versions of a file, providing an option to restore an older version when necessary.
  • Automatic Syncing: File syncing ensures that changes made to a file are automatically updated and synced across all devices where the file is accessible.
  • Selective Sync: This feature allows users to select specific files or folders to sync across devices, helping manage storage space effectively.
  • File Metadata: This feature includes details about the file (like creation date, last modification, etc.) and can be used for organizing, searching, and managing files.
  • Data Deduplication: This feature eliminates redundant copies of data, saving storage space and increasing efficiency.
  • Data Compression: This feature reduces the size of data files, leading to more efficient use of storage space.
  • File Locking: This feature prevents simultaneous edits on a document, thus avoiding conflicts and confusion.
  • Trash/Bin Feature: This feature allows for the recovery of deleted files within a certain period, providing a safety net against accidental deletions.
  • Chunking: This feature breaks down files into smaller pieces for more efficient uploading and downloading, especially useful for large files.

Functionality to look for

Cloud storage software offers numerous functional advantages, enabling efficiency, security, and flexibility in managing data. These are some of the most important advantages you’re going to want to consider when evaluating cloud storage software:

  • Data Accessibility: Cloud storage allows you to access your data from any device with an internet connection. Many vendors provide mobile apps compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices, so users can access their data from anywhere. This is crucial in today’s increasingly mobile and remote working environments, enabling flexibility and productivity no matter where you are.
  • Disaster Recovery: With your data stored in the cloud, you avoid the risk of complete data loss due to local hardware failure, theft, natural disasters, or other mishaps. This is critical for business continuity and peace of mind. Ask what safeguards and redundancies your vendor has for their physical data storage.
  • Collaboration: Cloud storage software enables multiple users to work on the same files in real-time, promoting teamwork and boosting productivity. This is especially valuable in business settings where collaboration is key.
  • Cost Efficiency: Cloud storage typically operates on a pay-as-you-use model, which can be more cost-effective than maintaining your own physical storage infrastructure. This is important for managing expenses, particularly for businesses. Try to find out any hidden costs associated with your potential providers.
  • Data Security: Reliable cloud storage providers offer robust security measures, including encryption and strong access controls, to protect your data from unauthorized access. In an era of growing cybersecurity threats, this is an essential consideration.
  • Scalability: Cloud storage allows you to easily scale your storage capacity up or down as your needs change, without having to invest in additional hardware. This flexibility can be crucial for growing businesses but you need to make sure the scalability they offer is cost effective.
  • Automated Backup: Many cloud storage solutions offer automated backup features, ensuring your data is regularly backed up without needing manual intervention. This saves time and reduces the risk of data loss.
  • Reduced IT Burden: With cloud storage, the service provider takes care of maintenance, updates, and troubleshooting, freeing up your IT team to focus on other tasks. This can be a significant advantage for businesses with limited IT resources.
  • Environmentally Friendly: By utilizing shared infrastructure in data centers, cloud storage can be more energy-efficient compared to each user maintaining their own physical storage systems. In a world increasingly conscious about environmental impact, this can be an appealing advantage and you should ask what your vendor is measuring their environmental impact against.

Important purchase considerations

In addition to features and functionality, there are several other important considerations when evaluating cloud storage software:

  • Pricing: Understand the pricing structure. Some services charge a flat monthly or annual fee, while others may charge based on the amount of storage used. Additionally, look for any hidden costs such as data transfer fees or charges for certain features.
  • Reliability: Look at the provider’s uptime history and their Service Level Agreement (SLA). Frequent downtime can be disruptive, so a strong track record of reliability is important.
  • Customer Support: Consider the quality of the customer support. When issues arise, you want to be sure you can get help quickly and efficiently. Look at their support channels (email, phone, live chat), hours of availability, and response times.
  • Integration: Consider how well the cloud storage software integrates with other tools you use. For example, if your team heavily uses Microsoft Office, OneDrive might be a better choice for seamless integration.
  • Data Sovereignty: Depending on your location and industry, there might be regulations about where data can be physically stored. Make sure the provider’s data centers comply with any relevant laws or regulations.
  • Vendor Reputation: Consider the reputation of the provider. Look at user reviews and case studies to understand other users’ experiences.
  • Exit Strategy: Understand the process if you decide to switch providers in the future. How easy is it to retrieve and move your data? Are there any costs associated with this?

It’s worth spending some time to thoroughly evaluate different options before making a decision – consider all of these things not only for your current business but for the business you’re looking to create.

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Key Takeaways

These are the most important things to remember when evaluating which cloud storage software to purchase:

Type of cloud storage: public, private, hybrid, cloud backup, cloud storage gateway, and object storage services.

Who you are: individual users, small businesses, large enterprises, creative professionals, software developers, or organizations with high-security needs.

The features you need: data encryption, file versioning, automatic syncing, selective sync, file metadata, data deduplication, data compression, file locking, trash/bin feature, and chunking.

The functions you want: data accessibility, disaster recovery, collaboration, cost-efficiency, data security, scalability, automated backup, reduced IT burden, and environmental friendliness.

What else matters: pricing, reliability, customer support, integration with other tools, data sovereignty, vendor reputation, and exit strategy.

Good luck and reach out to my team if you have any questions or want help with the purchasing process!

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