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.
These are the 10 cloud storage software solutions that I’m going to go over, in no particular order:
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.
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 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.
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.
I have definitely not covered all of the use cases for cloud storage software; however, this does include all of the main buckets.
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.
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:
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:
In addition to features and functionality, there are several other important considerations when evaluating cloud storage software:
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.
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!