Six Clicks: The best personal and SMB cloud-storage services

Six Clicks: The best personal and SMB cloud-storage services

Summary: There are dozens of personal cloud storage services, but which one is the best deal for you or your company? Here's my pick of the best of them.


 |  Image 5 of 7

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Google Drive

    Google Drive takes the tried and true Google Docs cloud-based office software and adds simple, easy to use file storage to it. Like Dropbox, it integrates with Windows and Mac file systems. I'm sorry — and annoyed — to report that, despite years of promises, Google Drive still doesn't support Linux. Enough already Google! Google Drive does, however, support Chrome OS, Android, and iOS.

    Another nice feature is that Google Drive enables you to share and collaborate on any kind of file, including documents, music, images, and videos. In addition, Any content you create in Google Docs doesn't count against your storage quota.

    Speaking of storage, Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage. This storage space is also used for your Google+ Photos and Gmail.

  • OneDrive

    The big feature of OneDrive, Microsoft's newly renamed SkyDrive, is its integration with Windows 8.x and Office Online. You can also use it with Windows 7 and up, and for OS X, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. If your business is committed to Windows, then your choices will be between Box and OneDrive.

    OneDrive comes with 7 GBs of free storage per account. With an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription you get an additional 20 GBs. You can also pay for more storage: for $25 annually you can get 50GBs; $50 gets you 100GB and for $100 you can add 200GBs.

    There's also Microsoft OneDrive for Business. This enterprise-grade storage is not just an upgrade of OneDrive. It's built on SharePoint Workplace, which means Microsoft adds metadata to your OneDrive for Business files to make them more useful. There are a variety of plans. In each one every user account gets 25 GBs of secure online storage as well as 50 GBs for Exchange email. Microsoft is also promising that the minimum account will go up to a monstrous 1TB per account.

  • SpiderOak

    Let's say that while you love the idea of cloud storage, the thought of having your data naked out there somewhere on the cloud gives you the heebie-jeebies. In that case, be sure to check out SpiderOak.

    Long before most people were worrying about the NSA, SpiderOak set up a cloud storage system where even they can't see what files you have in their systems or their associated metadata. Indeed, in its "zero knowledge" design they don't even see your password or encryption keys. Oh, and did I mention that your files must be encrypted? If privacy is what you want, then SpiderOak is for you.

    Individual accounts start with 2 GB of free storage. Upgrades come in 100 GB increments, and cost $10 a month or $100 a year. The SpiderOak Blue business service starts at $600 a month, with a terabyte of storage for up to 100 users.

Topics: Cloud, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Networking

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Who does it my way?

    I haven't found any that work the way I want. I want selected files sprinkled around my directory tree on my main machine, to be shared and available on my laptop and my smartphone (android). Both of these occasionally create new files and they should create them in my master file tree structure. Since my smartphone has somewhat limited space, it needs to move them to the main machine and not keep them (most photos after a few days). Both the laptop and smartphone may need access when the internet is not available so I need a way to force them to be resident as well as suck them down on demand if not present and internet is available.
    • Look at SugarSync

      They just recently stopped being free but they work the way that you say that you need.
    • SMB Cloud Storage Services

      We us a product called GetIt Remote. It allows us to access all of our data folders from all of our devices, laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, all syncing to your live data. No file duplication, add, remove, share, download, it has it all. $9.99 monthly, mobile app is free. I have it setup on my office computers and also my home pc. Very slick you should check it out.
  • Google Drive cannot sync big file libraries

    With best prices on the block I thought GDrive will be a good way to back up personal music and photo libraries, but it's client would break, leaving file database corrupt and asking each time to re-upload 10s of GBs of data. Googling for this problem it appears, that many users experience this.

    So if you have 10s of thousands of files, you better search for some service that has reliable sync tools, because GDrive is not for you.
    Tomas M.
    • Same issue here.

      My work group had to move off drive because the documents also became corrupt. OneDrive is actually quite good, but it will be a cold day in hell before sjvn ever admits it. SpiderOak is good too, although I primarily use it as a backup service.
  • StoAmigo

    I find the smaller cloud companies are the most innovative. I've been using StoAmigo for a few months now and it offers many more features than you find with Dropbox and Google Drive and less restrictions. I'd recommend it to anyone to give it a try.
    Tech Geek99
  • There's an important distinction

    between casually available local file synchronization (e.g. Dropbox) and backup / storage proper. Many will love the former but everybody needs the latter.

    A case in point: I keep my ebook collection (including Kindle and epub files) on Dropbox. I also back my Dropbox up to storage monthly. I was interested in doing something with a reader / editor application called Calibre and installed it on single thumb drive as a test. It sought out my ebooks in their Dropbox folder and generated hundreds of Calibre-specific subdirectories for its own purposes, all clogging up the sync on several machines running various operating systems. All my local ebook folders were automatically "updated" to include hundreds of files, and it was a time consuming nuisance to undo it, after deciding I don't need Calibre after all. Thanksfully files were not deleted or corrupted in the process.

    Meanwhile i was "safe" in knowing that I have complete storage in a separate service for all my Dropbox files, which include all the contents come and gone from Dropbox over five or six years. In a pinch, if Dropbox is mucked up by human error among several users with access to it, there is separate safe"storage". Users should not confuse casual local access to files that are conveniently in sync on devices, with a true backup system that is not casually accessed and will still be there no matter if some fool has a bad day with the local file system.

  • Private, Encrypted Cloud-Storage: arXshare

    More and more companies prohibit their employees to use public file-clouds because of security concerns. I can underline this, therefore, my company hosts our own cloud storage for our employees. We use arXshare (, because it was easy to install and has a major focus on encryption and security.
  • OneDrive file size limited to 2 GB

    On Microsoft OneDrive, the file size maximum is 2 GB (regardless of pricing tier). So it's useless for not-so-uncommon video files or backup zip files.
  • people

    no wayy
  • CertainSafe w/ MicroTokenization

    While I love Dropbox for sharing family photos, I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole for transmitting sensitive files. I used to store a doc with all my usernames on Google Drive, then got smart. Even with 2 factor authentication, I don't trust GD. So my current choice is CertainSafe. They recently won some awards, primarily because of what they call MicroTokenization. It breaks the file and encrypts each component with a token, then scatters them across random servers.
  • livedrive

    Try LiveDrive. 2 terabytes (2048gb) for $8/mo.