Best cloud storage for the UK
Cloud storage services are more affordable than ever, but which one is best for your business?
Cloud computing is one of the major technological advancements of this century, allowing applications to run off-premise, individuals and businesses to store huge swathes of data and employees to effortlessly collaborate, even if they live in opposite parts of the world.
The concept of cloud computing has actually been around for decades. The idea of connecting people and data remotely was invented in the 1960s by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, an American psychologist and computer scientist. He developed the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) that was the predecessor to the internet as we know it today.
But cloud as a way of storing information wasn't introduced until 2006, when Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its cloud storage service as a means of keep data safe away from the on-premise data centre. This was then adopted by Dropbox (which has since built its own infrastructure), followed by Pinterest and soon, cloud storage was generally adopted by the likes of Google, Microsoft, Apple and more.
Now, cloud storage has become one of the entities we take for granted. There are so many options, it can be difficult to determine which is best for your business. There are so many considerations, such as the amount of storage you can take advantage of: collaboration features, security, uptime and any service extensions, are but a few examples.
It's vital you put your business needs first when making any decision about your company's IT infrastructure, making sure it's right for your immediate operational needs but also flexible enough to deal with the future challenges your organisation will face.
While such a big decision can appear daunting, but fear not, because we have tallied up the best in the market and compared their features and prices to bring you a comprehensive list of the best cloud storage services available in 2018.
Best Cloud Storage Quick Guide
|Syncplicity||10GB||100GB = $60 per user per year||300GB + 5GB per user storage - $60 per user per year|
|Tresorit||14-day trial||200GB = $125.04 per user, per year or $12.50 per month
2TB = $288 per user, per year or $30 per month
|1TB = $240 per year or $25 per month (max. 9 users)|
|IDrive||5GB||2TB = $52.12/year (currently on sale)||From 256GB - $74.62/year (currently on sale)|
|pCloud||20GB (50GB cap on link download traffic)||500GB = $3.99/month
2 TB= $7.99/month
|Mozy||2GB||1 PC, 50GB = £4.99/month
3 PCs, 125GB = £7.99/month
|From £9.98/month (varying storage options available)|
|SugarSync||30-day trial||100GB = $7.49/month
250GB = $9.99/month
500GB = $18.95/month
|1000GB from $55/month (depends on users)|
|SpiderOak||250GB 21-day trial||100GB = $5/month
250GB = $9/month
|$5/user per month, plus setup fee of at least $299|
|AWS S3||5GB||From $0.02/month per GB||Not specifically, but is generally considered a business offering in its own right|
|Apple iCloud||5GB||50GB = £0.79/month
200GB = £2.49/month
1TB = £6.99/month
|ownCloud||Yes - hosted on own server||No||From $3,600/year|
|Box||10GB||100GB = £8/user per month||From £4/user per month|
|Microsoft OneDrive||5GB||50GB = £1.99/month||From $60.00/year per user|
|Livedrive||14-day free trial||Backup only = £5/month
2TB = £10/month
5TB = £15/month
|Google Drive||15GB||100GB = £1.59/month
30TB = £239.99/month
|30GB/user free, then from £2.50/user per month. Requires Google Apps for Work subscription.|
|Dropbox||2GB||1TB = £6.58/month||From £10/user per month|
|Backblaze||15-day trial||Backup only = from $5/month||Unlimited backup = $50/year - Storage = $5/month per terabyte|
|BT||From 5GB, depending on subscription||+50GB = £3/month
+500GB = £9/month
|Sync.com||5GB||500GB =$49 per year||1TB = From $5 per month shared between users|
Best cloud storage 2018: Sync.com
Sync.com offers top-quality security, with its zero-knowledge encryption architecture and secure link sharing, meaning it's nigh-on impossible for anyone to gain access to your files and folders. Sync.com, despite its misleading name, is available as a desktop client, web app or mobile device, which means you can sync across devices.
It may not have all the integrations as some of its counterparts, but Sync.com's main purpose is to extend the storage facilities of your device, rather than offering loads of collaboration tools.
All this and the pricing structure is cheap as chips, whether you're a personal user or power user. Although the free tier only offers up 5GB free storage, this is better than some of its competitors, but we'd recommend the paid-for option, because, for less than a fiver a month, you can access up to a terabyte of storage on a business plan.
Best cloud storage 2018: Tresorit
Tresorit may be a little more expensive than some of the options covered here, but its security features are top-notch, offering both two-factor authentication and zero-knowledge encryption (a standard shared with pCloud and Sync.com), meaning no-one, apart from those granted explicit access, can ever access files stored on the service. It also boasts secure file-sharing options like demanding a password to access a link, download limits and expiry dates on files, so they can only be accessed up to a certain date.
All files are synched between devices you have it set up - including Android and iOS, which it has native apps for. They are fully-functional extensions to the desktop and web-based platforms, allowing you to upload files and access your storage from wherever you may be. It also integrates nicely with Outlook via an add-on, allowing you to easily store any attachments to your cloud storage too.
Best cloud storage 2018: Syncplicity
Syncplicity, a Santa Clara-based cloud storage provider, offers competitive subscriptions for both businesses and individuals. The firm highlights the following as the strengths of its cloud storage service: native support for scores of file formats, the accessible visual interface for viewing and managing files across devices, and a choice between the US or EU to store their data. Syncplicity offers three tiers: 10GB for free for personal users, with the option to upgrade to 100GB; the business edition costs $60 a year and offers 300GB, plus 5GB of user storage; and the enterprise edition, for a minimum of 25 users, is priced case by case.
Best cloud storage 2018: IDrive
Calabasas-based cloud service provider, IDrive Inc, offers a selection of competitively priced cloud storage option for consumers and small businesses. Its free account option offers 5GB of storage out of the gate, and users can get additional storage via referral. A 2TB personal plan and customisable 250GB business plan have one-year introductory offers of $44 and $75 respectively. It also offers a file synchronisation and sharing service as part of its cloud storage services.
Best cloud storage 2018: pCloud
For those looking for greater protection when it comes to cloud storage, pCloud is worth considering. The Switzerland-based cloud service places extra emphasis on security with its pCloud Crypto service, which provides client-side encryption for any sensitive data you, or your business, may wish to store. Business plans start from 1TB and include pCloud Crypto as standard. For personal accounts, the service also compares favourably to others on the market, offering entry-level storage of 10GB – with a possible 20GB free via referrals and other offers. Larger plans offer 500GB or 1TB for $3.99 or $7.99 a month, respectively.
Best cloud storage 2018: Mozy
Mozy offers a limited free service with 2GB of storage space. The differentiator here is that you can manually select which folders you wish to upload when you install the client application on your system. Its support by PC (Windows), Mac, Android and iOS. Additional features include 30-day versioning, so previous files can be recovered, and the ability to download all your files with one click – useful if you need to back up your entire Mozy repository on a local hard drive. Basic packages start from £4.99, rising to £7.99 for multiple computers/users.
Best cloud storage 2018: SugarSync for Business
Not only a cloud storage service but also a means to back up entire computers for your business. Extra features include, admin users have access to and control over other staff accounts. This means that, if someone leaves the company, their data stays under your control. You also get the ability to remotely wipe work files from devices connected to any of the accounts you manage.
We thought the service offered power synchronisation that lets staff any folder on their computers and mobile devices.
Best cloud storage 2018: SpiderOak Blue SMB
SpiderOak provides online backup and syncing services for personal, SMB, and large enterprise users. It is designed to work on any platform your staff are likely to use, with Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android clients. This SMB-oriented version of the service provides unlimited storage and unlimited version control, allowing your users to backup all their important files without ever having to worry about overwriting crucial content or running out of space.
In our review, we found the service to provide cost-effective online storage for SMB groups with zero-knowledge security so that no one except you has access to your data.
Best cloud storage 2018: Amazon S3
Less of a service aimed at the individual, Amazon S3 is for organisations and developers looking to store data for business purposes. Users can create buckets (like folders) and place files inside them. While there is no limit to the number of files that can be stored, there is a 5TB limit per single file.
Amazon assigns a URL to each file and also sports two-factor authentication and third-party applications support. The developer guide is available as a Kindle e-book download, unsurprisingly.
Best cloud storage 2018: iCloud Drive
iCloud Drive – part of Apple iCloud – used to be only accessible through the apps on iOS devices themselves. In addition to that, it now offers more traditional means of access to your data through an app itself.
It still bridges the storage gap between iOS and OS X devices in a unique way. Documents worked on via an iOS device should seamlessly synchronise across to OS X applications so users can pick up where they left off.
Not only are documents stored on the service, it will also sync your calendar, contacts and photos. This works reasonably well, as long as you stay within the Apple ecosystem, but works less well once you start to use third-party apps, such as Microsoft Office.
Best cloud storage 2018: OwnCloud
OwnCloud is very different to the other cloud storage providers as you provider the storage yourself, either on-premise or via a hosting provider. Either way means it is the user or organisation that has direct access to the hardware, and you know where those servers are.
Once set up, OwnCloud behaves pretty much like any other cloud storage service. OwnCloud sells the mobile apps while desktop and web clients are free.
Best cloud storage 2018: Box Business
Many enterprises look to the cloud to provide a means to safely share files and collaborate on documents. Box offers teams of three or more people a work-secure environment. Box’s OneCloud app ecosystem means there is a host of third-party tools that will integrate with the service, extending its usefulness beyond simple cloud storage.
The service also sports fine-grain admin controls, enabling users and groups to be granted access to specific shared folders. Owners, co-owners, and editors can upload, download, edit, create a shareable link and delete files from any folder they have access to.
Best cloud storage 2018: OneDrive / OneDrive for Business
While, on the face of it, OneDrive and OneDrive for Business seem identical, below decks the two show up some vital differences. They are based on different technologies and serve different purposes.
OneDrive is baked into Windows 8 and shows up in any Explorer window; it is very much aimed at the consumer market. However, OneDrive for Business is aimed at people within organisations sharing information. This version comes with business-oriented Office 365 plans.
Best cloud storage 2018: Livedrive
Livedrive offers not only cloud storage but also the ability to backup PCs and laptops. While it offers unlimited storage for subscribers, it comes with caveats. Some users have had their accounts cut off with Livedrive citing they had used “excessive bandwidth/storage”, sometimes without warning or the means to recover data.
The initial backup of a PC can take days or even weeks to complete, depending on how much you need to backup. But once that is out of the way, the operation is pretty much “set it and forget it”. The service will also keep up to 30 versions of an individual file, which is good should someone accidentally write over a critical file.
Best cloud storage 2018: Google Drive
Google Drive is cross-platform, and if you have an Android phone or Chrome OS device, it is utterly indispensable. Users get 15 GB of free storage to share across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. (Photos under 16-megapixels don't count towards the 15GB limit.)
Available through a browser or mobile and desktop apps, Google Drive sports a stripped back user interface and great search facilities, so documents need never get lost again.
The apps make it very easy to upload files from a device and back down again to a PC. Google Drive also integrates with other apps, notably its own Chrome browser.
Best cloud storage 2018: Dropbox
Dropbox is a hugely popular service, despite its paltry free allowance of 2GB. However, users can quickly increase these limits by using certain features or referring friends to the service.
It touts that hundreds of thousands of apps can connect with Dropbox now, most notably Microsoft Office. The service is dead easy to use and is as hassle-free as it gets.
Files are stored using 256-bit AES encryption and the service uses SSL for data transfer. These are stored on Amazon’s S3 servers, and we found uploading and downloading to be pretty quick in tests.
Best cloud storage 2018: Backblaze
This cloud storage backup service allows users to back up not just their PC but also any external drives connected to it. The service will, for a fee, post your backups to you on an external hard disc as an alternative to your downloading it.
Backblaze provides reports and mapping specifically designed to help recover lost or stolen hardware.
Best cloud storage 2018: BT Cloud
This cloud storage service is exclusive to BT Broadband customers. Most will get the default 5GB of free storage with their subscriptions, but BT Total Broadband Option 3 or BT Infinity Option 2 customers receive 50GB. Users can increase this by paying extra per month, up to a hard limit of 550GB total storage.
If you are worried about data leaving the EU, BT’s servers are located only within the European Union. It also promises that it does not inspect the contents of the files for the purposes of targeted advertising.
The service has desktop apps for Mac and Windows as well as apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, and can also be accessed via a web browser.
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