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Cloud Storage and Backup
For
Personal & Small Business Use


This page discusses cost effective cloud solutions for personal use that may also be satisfactory for some small businesses. For Cloud Solutions that are valuable to Enterprises and many SMBs, see Cloud Services for SMBs & Enterprises.

Other than Email and calendars, some of the cloud services most valuable to individuals are cloud storage and cloud backup. Although there are many options, some of the most popular personal use cloud options are Google Drive, OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), Dropbox, IDriveSync and Mozy. The first four are recommended for cloud storage and especially for synchronizing files between two or more devices. There is also an IDrive backup product similar to Mozy. However, Mozy is recommended for backup. To sign up for any of these, go to the bottom of this page.

All the following offer:
  • Automatic synching
  • Versioning
  • Access from the web
  • Access from Windows machines, Macs, iphones, ipads, and Android phones


Google Drive OneDrive (SkyDrive) Dropbox IDriveSync Mozy
Free Storage Space 15 GB 5 GB 2 GB 5 GB (10 GB) 2 GB
Additional Free Storage none 500 MB per referral  500 MB per referral  1 GB per referral  256 MB per referral 
Paid Options N/A 50 GB: $25/year N/A 150 GB: $50*/year 50 GB: $60/year
Next Step Up 100 GB: $60/year 100 GB: $50/year 100 GB: $99/year 500 GB: $150*/year 125 GB: $120/year
Even More Space  200 GB: $120/year   200 GB: $100/year   200 GB: $199/year   1000 GB: $300*/year   145 GB: $144/year 
Google Drive OneDrive (SkyDrive) Dropbox IDriveSync Mozy
Concurrent Editing Yes for online edit Yes Yes for Office 365 No No
Link Sharing Included Included Included Included No
 Keep Deleted File Copies  RISKY! No 30 days+ Yes 30 days+
Security SSL and encryption SSL and encryption SSL & AES-256 bit encryption 256-bit AES encryption 256-bit AES encryption


* Sometimes the IDriveSync site shows a 30-50% sale for "today only". In other words, the real IDriveSync pricing for "today only" is less than what appears above.
+ Dropbox and Mozy keep copies of files that you've deleted for longer terms if you use certain of their paid versions. Incidentally, IDriveSync keeps copies of your deleted files forever, unless you delete them manually from IDriveSync (in addition to having deleted them from your computer) or via their automated "Archive Cleanup" process.
! Google Drive is NOT a backup service and there are many complaints that G Drive has itself deleted files on PCs without the user intending such. For more info, read some of the posts at Google Drive Product Forums.

Encrytion is an option for these services. In some cases, e.g., with Google Drive, there is a cost to adding encryption. The entire Mozy business successfully completed a SOC 1 SSAE 16 Type II audit and received ISO 27001 certification.
Microsoft has gone all out to convince us that OneDrive is the best choice. An article with perhaps a more unbiased view comparing OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box is OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box: Which cloud storage service is right for you?. You may also find Cloud storage made simple: How to integrate it with your workflow to be useful.

Although there are many other cloud providers, if you add iCloud to the products discussed above, we are looking at the products used by most people. An April 16, 2014 article in The VAR Guy states that "Apple, Dropbox, Google and Microsoft dominate the market, together having more than 85 percent of personal cloud accounts".

Some definitions:
  • Concurrent Editing means that the system is designed to allow the same file to be edited from two different devices; e.g., from a desktop and a laptop at the same time.
  • Link Sharing means that you can send a link to anyone who can then access the file that you wish to share with them from within your cloud storage.


To sign up for a free OneDrive account, go to OneDrive. By signing up from this link, you receive an additional 500MB of storage space over and above the standard 7 GB and I receive an additional 500 MB for the referral.

To sign up for a free Dropbox account, go to Dropbox. By signing up from this link, you receive an additional 500MB of storage space over and above the standard 2 GB and I receive an additional 500 MB for the referral.

To sign up for a free IDriveSync account, go to IDriveSync. By signing up from this link, you receive an additional 1 GB of storage space over and above the base and I receive an additional 1 GB for the referral. Each time I've clicked on that link recently, it offers you 50% off the pricing given above.

To sign up for a free Mozy account, go to MOZY. By signing up from this link, you receive an additional 256MB of storage space over and above the standard 2 GB and I receive an additional 256 MB for the referral.