Pros and Cons of Cloud Drive Storage
We live in a digital world. Education, business, entertainment, health care, banking, and socialization all take place over digital platforms — especially with the shift to remote work . Overall, just about everything we create, study, or share has a digital footprint.
With all the data produced, we need a way to safely store the files and information that we deem important. But rather than navigating the realm of hard drives and physical storage devices, there’s an easier storage option available that simply requires an internet connection. Say hello to cloud drive storage.
What is cloud storage?
If you’ve ever moved, renovated, or simply lacked home storage space, you may have used a storage facility to house your personal belongings. These storage facilities function similarly to cloud drive storage. Cloud drive storage is a third-party service that supplies off-site storage space for data, accessible to users through the internet. So, rather than placing your files on your computer’s hard drive, a USB flash drive, or a bulky NAS or SAN storage device, cloud storage stores your data on a remote server that you can access from any device with an internet connection.
Whether you have personal or work-related data that you want to store and secure, cloud drive storage is a solid option to consider. Before you make a final decision, review the following benefits and disadvantages of cloud storage.
Why you should switch to cloud storage
The COVID-19 crisis taught us that people can adapt. Remote-friendly and remote-first companies emerged, making cloud drive storage the top contender in data storage . But there are so many other reasons to benefit from cloud storage. Here are some areas where cloud storage shines.
Do you work with a remote team? Use multiple devices? Like having easy access to things? You’re a perfect candidate for cloud drive storage if you answered yes to any of these questions. Remote teams love the convenience of simplified file sharing and digital collaboration . Plus, these files can be accessed anytime from any device.
Improvements to technology are ongoing, and the world of digital storage is no different. When you use a cloud drive, you reap the benefits of upgrades and advancements to the storage technology, all without paying for a new external storage device.
While we’re on the topic of money, let’s talk about the expenses you don’t have to worry about when you use cloud drive storage. People who invest in external hard drives or other physical storage options regularly pay for updates, software licenses, or a completely new device should it break or become outdated. Not to mention there are also the salaries to pay of those who manage these devices. Meanwhile, cloud drive storage users simply pay a monthly fee for their services and nothing more.
You may have suffered the heartbreak of losing or breaking a phone or laptop. Even worse, you may have forgotten to back up the data on that device before the disaster struck. When you use cloud drive storage, your data is automatically backed up to an external device, so you never have to stress about backups again. Crisis averted.
Let’s revisit our storage facility analogy. When you sign up for storage space, you initially choose how big of a space you need for your belongings. Should your needs change, you can increase or decrease the size of your storage space. Similarly, with a cloud drive service, you can adjust the amount of digital storage space you need for your data. Cloud drive storage plans eliminate the need to start deleting files or buy a device with more storage capacity. Simply upgrade your plan and never run out of space.
5 flaws of cloud storage
Like most technology, cloud storage still has its flaws and downfalls. Though many businesses overlook some of these potential issues, consumers should take the time to understand the possible risks associated with cloud drive storage. Here are some factors to take into consideration.
Though you should always go with a reputable cloud drive storage company, there’s always some risk involved when you place private information in the hands of another entity. Among these cloud storage risks are data loss or leakage, credential exposure, cyberattacks, and account hijacking. Cloud drive storage companies are tightening security precautions with data encryptions, firewalls, and various AI tools, but something as seemingly trivial as a weak account password could pose a serious security threat to users.
When a third-party business handles your data storage, you may find it difficult to customize the setup of your data storage. Larger companies or those with specific security protocols may need to manage their own data storage for a tailor-made setup. Sadly, cloud users may also discover that additional fees and long wait times await those wanting extra technical assistance.
Cloud drive storage gets a little complicated when internet issues appear. When the internet goes down or begins to lag, cloud drive users can’t properly save or access files. You may also experience slower internet speeds if your internet bandwidth is lacking. Though this can be remedied by adjusting bandwidth utilization rules or simply investing in internet service with stronger bandwidth, it can be a pain having to rely on the strength and availability of the internet.
Cloud drive storage is certainly cost-effective when comparing its low monthly fees to the high cost of an external hard drive and all other associated maintenance fees. However, depending on the size of your business and its data storage needs, you may find that the lifetime cost of paying for a cloud storage service surpasses the cost of storing data on your own personal storage device. Plus, you may find that some cloud storage businesses add extra operating expenses to the bill. Always do your research before selecting a business.
Just as it’s a huge ordeal to move personal belongings from one storage facility to another, users have found it difficult to make the switch from one cloud drive storage provider to another. Moving it proves to be a time-consuming and complicated process when you’re dealing with a massive amount of data. If you decide to use a different provider, there’s certainly a way to accomplish a data transfer, but it won’t be easy.
How to choose the right cloud drive storage
Every cloud drive storage provider comes with its own perks, prices, and pitfalls. Ultimately, there are a few main factors to focus on in your search for the best cloud storage option. Ask yourself the following questions when considering these four important factors.
Consider the cost
What’s the fee schedule for the service? What is included in the price? Do the fees change over time? Is it possible to upgrade, pause, or terminate a contract without additional charges?
What security measures are in place to keep your data safe? Does the company have a history of data breaches or cybersecurity issues? Is there a two-step verification process available on the account login page?
Does the company offer technical support via chat, phone, and/or email? Are there helpful resources available on their website? Are there extra fees associated with using support?
Does your cloud storage also include cloud computing ? Can you easily edit and share documents in the same drive? Are you able to access and attach files from your cloud storage in your email?
Cloud drive storage providers
There is no shortage of cloud drive storage options. To guide your search for the best fit, here are some reputable options to reflect on.
Google Drive is one of the most integrated storage options available. Connected to hundreds of Google and third-party applications, the type of files that you can create, store, and share in Google Drive are almost limitless. Owned by the company with the world’s top search engine , Google Drive boasts ridiculously powerful search technology, so you can always find the file you need.
Google offers several plans to meet both your personal and business storage needs. With a Google Workspace plan , you can give your business a customizable space to collaborate and securely store your company’s data. Google also offers Google Classroom, a unique cloud drive storage experience for educators and students to interact and share . For your personal data storage needs, Google One plans are a great option to store high-quality images, backup your phone, and secure all your important files.
Similar to the concept of Google Drive, OneDrive is a Microsoft-owned service that integrates seamlessly with all of your favorite Microsoft apps, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Unlike Apple’s iCloud, which only works with Apple devices, OneDrive is available on just about any device (i.e., PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and Xbox One). Windows 10 users can enjoy automated file synching of Office documents and regular back-ups of device settings.
OneDrive for Business plans let you choose the services and apps needed for your team. Users with personal data storage needs can select a Microsoft 365 personal or family account to enjoy plenty of storage space along with access to Microsoft’s Office apps.
Though it may not be a household name, Box has been providing secure data storage and file synching before many big cloud drive service providers. A steady contender, Box carries all the main features of today’s competition while boasting some of the best security protocols. Box lives on your device as a folder, allowing you to store files on your hard drive to access offline or free up device space by keeping them online.
Primarily geared towards businesses, Box integrates nicely with software like Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Workspace, and Office 365. Offering Box plans with a variety of storage and feature options; Box also gives you the option to pay monthly or enjoy some savings by paying annually.
Dropbox has a solid combination of the key features from other cloud drive services while offering some of the best file syncing options out there. Just like Box, Dropbox also gives you the option to store files on your hard drive and/or online. It has its own version of Google Docs in the form of Paper, an app that lets you share and collaborate on documents in real-time. Dropbox Transfer takes the worry out of sharing files as it’s configured to package and send even the largest of files (100 GB — or 250 GB with the Creative Tools add-on).
Dropbox plans have the usual cloud storage customizations to entice users, with an additional option to try before you buy. Though the 30-day free trial option is only available for business plans, it’s nice to have the chance to test out a cloud drive storage service before you commit.
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