Cloud Insight

The Top Three Cloud File Sharing Services

2 Apr

Cloud file storage has become one of the most widely used cloud services in the last several years. It allows individuals the ability to store files of all sizes on a drive that isn’t built inside their computer or on an external, physical hard drive. This alone is a nice feature, however, the most exciting is the ability to access your files from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Taking this a step further is the capability to share files with others using the same platform. Individuals and businesses alike have taken advantage of cloud storage services for improved collaboration and quick access to important documents and files. We’ll take a look at some of the top cloud file sharing services available today.

#1: Dropbox

If you haven’t heard of Dropbox by now it’s time to remove yourself from underneath that rock. Dropbox is the most versatile cloud file sharing service due to the fact that it works with almost every common operating system including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, and Blackberry. Users receive 2GB for free when signing up, with additional free perks by having others sign up through referral. For businesses needing more storage capacity there are paid options including 5TB of storage for around $75/month for up to five users. All in all – Dropbox is the best cloud file sharing service.

#2: Google Drive

Rivaling Dropbox is Google Drive, Google’s flagship cloud file sharing service. When it comes to free storage Google Drive is the cream of the crop giving users a whopping 15GB of free storage if you have a Google account. Of course, anyone with a Gmail or Google+ account has access to Google Drive. There is a caveat, however, as email attachments and smartphone photo backups to Google+ will count towards the storage space. Unless you’re a so-called “power-user” of Gmail and/or Google+ you’re only likely to make a small dent anyways. Google doesn’t offer options for additional free storage via referrals and the like but the paid options are comparable to competitors with 1TB of storage running at $9.99/month. In the end if you or your business uses Gmail, Google Calendar, or work primarily in the Googlesphere then Google Drive is a prime option.

#3: Box

Some may argue that OneDrive (which we’ll talk about in a minute) is the next best thing behind Dropbox and Google Drive. However, as we focus primarily on business applications and use Box fits well in the bronze medal spot. In fact, Box is considered the original cloud storage and sharing service – founded in 2005. Box focuses primarily on the enterprise market and has built a great reputation in the space. There are also a number of apps that increase the functionality of Box including apps for the iPad, iPhone, and Blackberry – not to mention apps that allow you to save all of your Microsoft Office documents directly to Box. The one gripe about Box that is commonly heard is the file size limit. While Box provides 10GB of free storage on sign up, it limits users to files of 250MB or less. While this is just fine for most people, you can forget about storing large media files such as videos. Ultimately, Box is number one cloud file sharing service in the enterprise arena, but falls a little short of its rivals when it comes to consumer storage and sharing.

Honorable Mention: OneDrive (SkyDrive)

OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive, is another big time cloud file sharing service offering great bang for the buck. OneDrive is the service to use if you work primarily on the Windows platform. 15GB of storage are offered for free, with added storage available either through paid subscription or through referring friends. A nice thing about OneDrive is its inclusion with Office365 – Microsoft’s Office for the cloud. Office 365 subscribers receive 1TB of storage as part of their subscription; perfect for small businesses or individuals with the need for large storage space and sharing capabilities. One thing users tend to dislike is the user interface, which mirrors Windows 8’s “boxy” design. However, users can choose to alter the look and feel to the traditional file tree design. Of course, OneDrive is available on mobile devices just like its counterparts, but it falls short as a simple consumer storage and sharing system. Overall, OneDrive is a solid sharing service but is really intended for those that primarily use Windows or Office.

Up and Coming: iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive is Apple’s version of file storage and sharing. While it has become more like its counterparts it still falls short in many ways. For one, it has very limited support for mobile devices – except the iPhone of course. While iPhone use continues to rise, including in business, the lack of support for Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phones doesn’t make it a great option if you’re consistently on the move.