How to choose the best cloud storage for personal use

Acronis
Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
formerly Acronis True Image

We live in a world where computers make our lives easier, more pleasant, and provide countless opportunities for entertainment and work. Today, every one of us has a personal computer, and on it we store our valuable and sensitive information, like important documents, photos, videos, or files related to our work. Everything sounds perfect; having a PC and keeping this important information in the internal storage space is really a blessing. Unfortunately, there is a risk of losing all this data in unexpected events like hardware failure, cyber attack, data deletion by mistake, or natural disasters. This is really an unpleasant feeling that nobody wants to experience, but if we have to be sincere, the chance of facing such a problem is quite high.

If something unexpected happens, the only way to save your precious data is by using cloud storage solutions. By doing so, you will be prepared for these tough times, and it will guarantee you that no matter the circumstances, you won't lose it permanently. Nowadays, using cloud storage services is a must for every home user and business owner because it is one of the most secure and reliable methods to preserve your information and recover it in emergency situations.

Using cloud backup and recovery services provides you not only with the option to upload your data to the cloud but also with secure cloud storage tools, your information will be protected by comprehensive security measures against viruses, ransomware, malware, and identity theft. This is a fundamental aspect of protecting your data and keeping it in a safe place in order to be accessible whenever you need it.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic of the importance of using cloud backup and storage services and the benefits you will be provided with. If you want to expand your knowledge about the advantages of using cloud storage for personal use, you are in the right place.

What key features to Look for in Cloud Storage Services?

Storage capacity

Most service vendors will provide you with a certain amount of free data storage. For instance, Google Drive offers a free storage capacity of 15GB where you can store your data from your (Google Workspace, or your personal PC, like important Google docs, photos and videos), while iCloud offers only 5GB of free storage —this amount is usually adequate for some users. But, on the other hand, there are businesses and individuals that would need a lot more storage space, in some cases even unlimited storage, and with that comes the need to consider storage plans, weighing up how much storage space you need and cost-efficiency. 

How much cloud data storage a business organization or power user needs varies depending on the type and size of the files that will be stored on the cloud. Small businesses that are mainly storing text files like documents and have a smaller database will usually be fine with less cloud storage space, while a videographer, for instance, might need 1TB or more of space due to the large amount of files; unfortunately, this will increase the price of the cloud storage service significantly. So you will have to choose the exact amount that you could need in order to meet your budget, and don't overspend on storage space that you won't be able to fill. The good news is that every cloud storage service vendor offers scalability in their plans, so you will be able to increase the cloud storage space in case of need or decease it.

Security

You may ask yourself: Is cloud storage safe? Security is one of the biggest concerns when choosing a reliable cloud service provider. Individuals and businesses should assess the security features offered by each service provider to protect their data from security threats and attacks. This means that it is the user’s responsibility to understand how data is transferred and stored on the cloud server, who can access it, and what level of protection the service provider offers before choosing a cloud service vendor.

Make sure you select a top cloud storage services provider that allows transferring and storing data in encrypted form, so that your sensitive data is protected from intruders or any other cyber attacks.

File synchronization

File syncing in cloud storage refers to the process of ensuring that files and data are consistent across multiple devices or locations. The main purpose of this process is to make sure that the latest version of the user's data will be available on all devices or locations where it is needed.

The best cloud storage for personal use should provide you with synchronization features on their cloud servers, allowing you to access your files from all your devices, such as a computer, phone, or tablet, and keep them up-to-date with the latest changes to your database. The process of syncing stored files can be executed automatically or manually; this depends on the settings and preferences of every user.

Some of the advantages of synchronization in cloud storage include:

  • Accessibility: This process allows you to access your files and data from anywhere you are located, at any time. The only thing you need is an internet connection.
  • Collaboration: The synchronization process makes it easier for teams to collaborate on projects and work all together, as everyone can access the same files and data in real-time and, of course, make changes and develop the project.
  • Backup: Synchronization can help ensure that files and data are backed up in multiple locations, reducing the risk of data loss due to hardware failure or other issues.
  • Efficiency: It helps you save time by eliminating the need to manually transfer files between devices or locations. This means that you won't need to upload all of your files one by one, which, of course, is a time-consuming process.

How Secure is Personal Cloud Storage Service?

Nowadays, using personal cloud storage services is a must, no matter whether you are an individual or a business owner. This type of service offers greater protection against cyberattacks than any other options because it backs up your whole data regularly and stores it offsite, thus making you immune to all kinds of cyber threats. Vendors are taking care of providing robust cybersecurity infrastructure and tools that guarantee the safety of your data. The best cloud storage service or provider also monitors your data for suspicious activity 24/7; furthermore, the security of your data is ensured by being encrypted in order to keep away any potential threats.

Additionally, you will be able to benefit from two-factor authentication, which will add an even more comprehensive security layer to your account and the data stored on the same top cloud storage pick All these approaches, provided by top cloud storage service providers, guarantee the safety of your data. We can definitely say that cloud storage options are the most reliable and secure method to have a backup copy of your data in case of emergency situations.

Assessing Storage Plans and Pricing

As we already discussed, the emerging need for using cloud storage services is pivotal, but what choices do you have when selecting the right plan for you? There are mainly two types of cloud storage pick you can choose from: a free storage space and a paid one. Let's explore them in detail and have a closer look at how they differ.

Free cloud storage space plan

The cloud storage solution market has a countless number of options for individuals and businesses to consider. One of the key areas where different cloud storage providers differentiate themselves is through price.

Cloud storage often comes with various price tiers to ensure that there is a package to suit everyone’s needs. Most cloud providers also offer a free version of their product. However, the question remains: Are they as good as the paid versions?

The choice between free and paid cloud storage largely hinges on your requirements. There will be some features you will have to go without by choosing a free cloud platform, but they may not be particularly missed, and the savings could be substantial.

Wondering if free cloud storage is worth it? Well, it really depends. When evaluating whether to opt for free or paid cloud storage, there are a few factors to consider. Security should always be a priority. With a free cloud service, look for features like end-to-end encryption or multi-factor authentication to keep your files secure. Just because you're not paying for cloud storage doesn't mean you should compromise on security.

Additionally, consider the advanced features for security and synchronization that many personal cloud storage services offer. Some free platforms may lack these features. It's essential to investigate and see for yourself. Keep in mind that these features may not necessarily be included in paid services either. Free trials, which are commonly offered by paid cloud storage vendors, are a good way of determining whether you want to pay for your cloud storage or you are happy to stick with free alternatives. 

Paid cloud storage plan

One of the most obvious advantages you will be provided with when using a paid cloud storage plan is the amount of cloud space you can use. The question is how much cloud storage you need? You can opt from 20 GB to unlimited cloud storage space for uploading your documents and media files there. This, of course, depends on your needs. These vendors offer scalability, so you will be able to choose a plan with less cloud storage space, and in case of need, you can expand this capacity, which is really great.

Paid cloud storage will also come with fewer bandwidth restrictions, so your uploads and downloads are going to be completed at a much faster speed, which is a critical aspect if you are storing large files on a daily basis. Another pivotal thing to consider is the enhanced security protection you will benefit from with the paid storage plan, because we all know how important this aspect is in order to have peace of mind that no matter the circumstances, your data will remain safe on the cloud. Features like two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption will be on your side.

Furthermore, customer support is another thing to consider, because it tends to happen pretty often that you find yourself needing help solving a problem. Paid plans offer reliable customer support 24/7, so whenever you need support, there will always be someone to assist you. So the cloud storage cost that you would pay is reasonable for all the features and benefits that you will receive.

Another thing that must be considered is that when considering paid cloud services for personal use, you will be provided with ultra-fast upload speeds. This is extremely important for users who are storing large files on their computers and mobile devices. Thus, your changes will be uploaded automatically and very quickly to the cloud. As a conclusion, we can definitely say that cloud storage deals with paid plans are a much better choice compared to the free version.

What Happens if I Exceed Storage Limits?

One of the pivotal benefits of this great cloud storage service is that you are able to change your plan according to your needs. For instance, at the beginning, when you started using cloud services, you needed only 100 GB of storage space, but a few months later, you see that these are not enough for all your files and folders to be uploaded to the cloud. At this point, most cloud storage services provide you with the opportunity to change your plan to one with a higher storage space amount. This scalability feature is crucial for every individual and business owner because it gives you flexibility to add additional storage space before reaching the limit of your current plan.

Thus, you will give yourself peace of mind knowing that all the files that are stored on your PC will be uploaded to the cloud too, and you will have a complete disk image of this data. A quick tip that we can give you is that if you are in a situation where you are looking to expand your cloud storage limit, wait for discount days. Because the best cloud storage deals are done during discount periods, you will have the chance to add additional storage space at almost no additional cost. Of course, if the situation gives you this option, because sometimes we are not able to wait for weeks or months, waiting for such opportunities.

The flexibility and reliability of personal cloud storage services is one of their biggest advantages because they differ from the stereotype of physical hard drives, where you don't have this scalability option. Using cloud services reduces the dependency on your current internal storage drive. Thus, you won't be afraid anymore of running out of space.

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Security and Privacy Considerations

Without any doubts security is the most important aspect, when you want to protect your data from any unexpected scenarios. Luckily, using personal cloud storage services offers advanced and reliable cyber protection for your precious information. One of the most powerful security tools is the data encryption. Cloud encryption services and protocols fall into two main categories: symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

Symmetric Encryption

This encryption method uses a single key to encrypt plaintext and decrypt ciphertext. Symmetric protocols like the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and TLS (which could also be asymmetric) are used and preferred because they are known as:

  • Extra secure because of their complicity; cracking AES encryption can literally take a lifetime.
  • Simple and fast—easily dealing with large data sets and traffic volumes.

Despite being secure and effective, this single-key approach is more easily compromised. For example, if an encryption key is needed to be sent, a skilled enough cybercriminal can intercept it and expose the encoded data.

Asymmetric Encryption

In asymmetric encryption, encoding and decoding are processed with linked public and private key pairs. It's similar to a padlock; you can lock it (using a public key) without knowing the code, but only the individual who knows the code (the private key) can open it again. Thus, you are achieving a greater level of security compared to symmetric encryption, which uses a single-key approach.

Asymmetric encryption is known for:

  • Enhanced level of security, which is less likely to be compromised; exposed and cracked public keys can’t expose private keys because they have no relationship connecting them one with another. On the other hand, private keys never need to be transmitted. So this provides you with a strong and reliable level of security protection.
  • Another form of authentication is that a sender has the ability to sign a file with a private key in order to prove its origin to the recipient.

The disadvantage of this encryption approach is that it tends to be slower compared to symmetric encryption.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication has become a necessary feature rather than an optional one. If you are using cloud services, implementing this security layer can greatly reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

In today's world, most aspects of your professional life rely on cloud services, unless you take precautions. Relying solely on a password to protect cloud credentials poses a threat.

A cybercriminal who gains access to cloud services, especially email accounts, could engage in spying, sabotage, or cause chaos. among business users The solution is to activate two-factor authentication (2FA) for all your cloud services linked to corporate accounts.

Two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, is a security method that requires users to go through two authentication steps to access an account or computer system. The first step involves something you know, like your login details and password, while the second step involves something unique, such as a smartphone, a security token, or biometric data.

Enabling 2FA adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to user's data on their devices or online accounts. This security measure helps protect logins from phishing attacks, social engineering schemes, and brute-force password hacking attempts.

User-Friendly Interfaces

For the majority of people, using a personal cloud storage solution can be an easy and pleasant task. But others may find it difficult for them to deal with the software. For this reason, the top cloud storage providers have designed user-friendly software that is extremely easy to manage. They have implemented in their products intuitive navigation that makes the whole process as easy as playing a game.

Despite the fact that cloud security and storage services are topic number one when choosing a reliable vendor, next in line is accessibility and a user-friendly web interface. Recent research showed that 64% of the clients claimed the user-friendly interface as the most important feature after security policies and the cost of the plan. This clearly confirms the importance of having software that is easy-to-use.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

One major benefit of utilizing platform software that operates on the cloud, or Software as a Service (SaaS), is the convenience of accessing services on various devices at any time, provided there is an internet connection. This feature ensures free users have access to services and information whenever needed, leading to productivity and efficiency.

Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to a model where external providers host applications and offer them to customers via the internet. Cloud services eliminate the need for organizations to buy licenses in bulk, allowing them to access services through a subscription fee, which includes support anytime you need it.

With the rise of smartphones and computers, they quickly gained popularity in the market. In 2011, mobile devices even outsold computers (desktops and laptops) for the first time in history. The gap between smartphone sales and computer sales has continued to widen over time.

Moreover, individuals who work remotely find this setup highly advantageous and lucrative. It also facilitates updates of information, prompts customer responses, and improves communication among colleagues when needed.

Furthermore, the importance of having cross-platform compatibility emerged because it happens often to start using one cloud storage provider and, after some period of time, change your first vendor with another one that would provide you greater benefits at a lower price. When this happens, it is very important to have the ability to easily migrate your data from the first vendor to the new one. We can advise you: before making a choice about which service provider to choose, make sure that they offer easy migration. Otherwise, you will face difficulties moving your existing database to the new vendor's cloud storage space.

Advanced File Management Features

The best cloud storage services should be able to provide you with easy file management features, because it is essential to have the ability to easily create new folders on the cloud in order to have better file and folder organization. Thus, you will always be able to find the file sharing particular data you need and avoid searching it file by file, because this can really be a time-consuming and annoying process.

This is one of the main things to consider when searching for a reliable and user-friendly cloud storage service provider. Furthermore, having a version history of your backups and files is essential because you may want to process file recovery from an exact date. This is another feature that will make your life a lot easier when dealing with file recovery. Especially when you are executing the file recovery process for some specific reason, like recovering from a cyberattack or a virus that you have been infected with.

The searching functionality is extremely important for ease of use, especially when you are searching for a particular file. So when selecting a cloud storage vendor, make sure that you have this functionality on your side; believe me, it is priceless.

Collaboration Tools for Personal Projects

Being provided with collaboration tools that give the opportunity for multi-user access when working on a one file versioning or specific project is really a blessing. This is an essential tool feature for your business plans because it gives the opportunity for your whole team to work on a project without interfering with each other. Top cloud storage service providers offer this feature to your subscription plan because they know the importance of it for every business organization.

Thus, you are saving precious time and providing the opportunity to your team to multitask, with the main purpose of completing their work on time and without any disruptions.

Furthermore, another critical benefit provided by cloud storage vendors is their integration with communication platforms. As we know, all business organizations use such software for their team meetings, at all levels of the company. For that reason, collaboration and integration with these platforms are essential for being able to transfer data from the cloud to these programs. Thus, you will be able to communicate much easier with your colleagues and share the project you are working on without needing to access your email and send the files from there.

Offline Access and Syncing

As we know, cloud services are known for relying on internet connection, but there is an option to access your files even when you are offline, whether it is for secure file sharing, uploading, or downloading any type of data. In the past few years, this feature was not available yet, but nowadays, with advanced cloud services, it is now part of the benefits that your vendor will provide you with. Of course, it is your obligation to check before subscribing to a current vendor if they provide such a service, because there are few cloud service providers that still don't have this priceless tool.

Having offline access is very helpful. Imagine a situation where you do not have an internet connection but need to access some very important files from your cloud storage.

It would have been unthinkable a few years ago to still access this data without the internet, but thankfully these days, you are provided with such an option. So before you make any subscriptions for cloud storage services, check if offline access and syncing are on the checklist with the features that you will be provided by the vendor.

Nowadays, it happens to find ourselves in a situation where we are experiencing issues with our internet connection, whether the reason is an outage caused by the weather, internet service prevention, or just because you have forgotten to pay your monthly internet bill.

Everyone of us can find ourselves in such a scenario, and as it tends to happen, in these exact moments we need urgently to access some important file or document. In this kind of situation, offline access is priceless because it could solve your problems immediately. 

Customization and Personalization

Vendors have been clever enough to design features for customization in order to meet every user's expectations, thus you can customize your folder icons; you can even change the colors of them. They have thought about everything in order to make their product perfect.

You can, of course, organize the folders and files as you wish with the advanced features every vendor has. You can easily manage your files and folders and structure them however you want. This, of course, will lead to a better experience and organization of your data, which will result in easily finding a particular file or document that you need.

Furthermore, you will be able to set file access permissions for windows users to all your data or just a part of it. You are able to grant access to a single file or folder to other users than you. This is extremely useful if you have a small business where your employees have access to cloud storage, so you can grant them empowerment only to the files you want them to see.

All these features were designed and created with the main purpose of making the customer's experience as pleasant as possible. The main functions of the cloud storage service are essential, but the user-friendly interface is vitally important too.

How to select the Right Cloud Storage for Your Needs?

We already mentioned the countless benefits of using cloud storage services and concluded that it is a lifesaving option for protecting your data from unexpected scenarios. But how do you know which vendor providing cloud storage services is right for you?

We will mention a few things to consider before making a choice about which vendor will take care of your data. There is no universal answer to this question. Every user has his own motives and reasons for subscribing to a cloud storage service.

There is a huge difference if you are a business owner or a home user when talking about this type of service. For instance, if you need cloud services for storing your company's data, you will definitely need unlimited storage capacity because the data flow is constant.

Another feature that you would need as a business owner is a multi-user account access, where there won't be limitations for your employees to log in the account and to access files and use the information they need. But of course, you can grant them restricted access only to the files that you want them to see and use.

This, of course, is a feature that most vendors will provide you with to authorize users with the access they would need, not more nor less. Furthermore, the upload and download speeds are vital for ensuring your business workflow is continuous. In an unexpected scenario, the download speed of the data stored on the cloud servers would define the potential losses for your company because, as we know, downtime counts as money. The more time you are "out of the board," the more your losses will be.

Last but not least, multi-user access to the data is fundamental when working on a company's projects. Thus, you can guarantee that more work will be done in less time because your whole team will be able to work on a single project.

On the other hand, if you are a home user and you need cloud storage for personal use, things are different. In such a case, you would need a cloud storage capacity with some limit, of course, corresponding to your individual needs. Because every person has different habits and visions about keeping information on the cloud.

The good news is that every vendor provides you with scalability, so you can change your plan in order to add extra storage space whenever you need it. So you just have to find the right service provider that can equip you with the right features that you need and, of course, with a price range that meets your budget.

Data Migration and Transfer Considerations

Moving data, applications, or other business components to a cloud computing environment is what we refer to as cloud data migration.

Enterprises have options when it comes to types of cloud migrations. One common approach involves shifting data and applications from an on-premises data center to the cloud. Alternatively, a cloud migration may involve transferring data and applications from one cloud platform or provider to another, which is known as a cloud-to-cloud (C2C) migration. Another type of migration is cloud migration, also called repatriation or cloud exit, where data or applications are moved away from the cloud and back to a local data center.

Why is cloud migration important?

Moving to the cloud involves a transition or change for organizations. The cloud-adaptable pay-as-you go model allows businesses to tailor their resource usage to meet specific needs and pay only for what they consume. This shift in approach is appealing to businesses across different industries and company sizes.

However, deciding to migrate business workloads and data to the cloud can be more complex than it seems. Not all workloads are suitable for environments due to factors like performance requirements, dependencies, or workload design. Compliance security considerations and regulatory guidelines can also complicate matters by dictating where and how computing tasks can be carried out, including data sovereignty regulations.

Effective data migration is not only a procedure but also a critical business initiative. Every migration project should begin with defined business objectives and use cases.Only after technical personnel carefully navigate the path of cloud architecture design can they choose data and workload carriers, like virtual machines, storage units, and containers. Set up cloud services such as firewalls, load balancers, and databases, execute the necessary migrations to run the desired workloads in the cloud, and conduct testing and continuous monitoring to ensure the security and performance of these workloads over time.

As a result, migrating to the cloud can pose challenges for applications, with migration initiatives experiencing setbacks that may require corrective actions like reverting back to on-premises operating systems first It's important to understand that cloud migration doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

By evaluating and approaching each workload individually when considering cloud migration strategies, businesses can make decisions about leveraging cloud services in a manner that best serves their organization. Even if one workload's transition to the cloud proves unsuccessful, it doesn't necessarily mean that other workloads won't benefit from the adoption of cloud technologies.

Conclusion

We have already mentioned the importance of having a cloud storage service on your side, and you already know how to choose the best cloud storage services that fit your needs and meet your budget. In unexpected scenarios, a cloud storage service is your best ally because it guarantees the safety of your data. No matter what happens, you will have the ability to recover this important information of yours.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is the best choice you can ever make.

If you are still wondering how to choose the best cloud storage service and you are not sure if you can make the best choice when there are countless vendors on the online storage market, don't worry; we can help you, just subscribe to Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office. This is the most advanced cloud storage service for your personal or business cloud storage needs.

Acronis has designed this software to combine not only cloud services but also the best cyber protection for your data. Because protecting the information stored in the cloud is even more essential than the cloud storage service itself. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office has definitely the most advanced and complete cyber security tools and features built into this software.

Furthermore, you will be equipped with a user-friendly interface, which will make the management process as easy as playing a game. Another fundamental benefit is the option for automated data migration, which can be processed in a blink of an eye, which will save you a lot of time and headaches.

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is also equipped with comprehensive antivirus software that will take care of your data's healthy condition. The advanced security features and tools will stop every cyber threat and will ensure your peace of mind that no matter what happens, your information will remain untouched and secured. We will ensure this not only for your PC but also for your mobile devices. Thanks to our multi-device support, even your data stored on your mobile apps will be protected and able to be recovered whenever you need it.

The recovery feature will be your best ally in case of hardware failure, accidental deleted files, etc. Our product has been an industry leader for so many years, and we are implementing the most advanced tools, approaches, and technologies in order to provide the best possible results for our customers. Another important aspect to consider is the 24/7 customer support that will be on your side in case of any questions or difficulty.

Last but not least, our price is one of the best on the market. We have been industry leaders for many years, with countless awards, but our biggest achievement is the millions of satisfied customers all around the globe. So, if you are still wondering which service provider to choose for making the best decision, we think you already know the answer: Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office. Guaranteed, you won't regret it for a second.

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About Acronis

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 1,800 employees in 45 locations. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.

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