written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 9/12/2010
Cloud-based storage is a cloud service that makes life easier by giving users access to it from any location, without carrying optical or flash drives with you. Try the top cloud storage sites listed here and see for yourself how keeping data online can simplify your life.
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Cloud Storage Overview
As Web-based services increase in appeal to both business and personal users, cloud-based storage has received a lot of attention for a couple reasons. First, it is a simple concept. Most people now understand the concept of storing their data online. Secondly, cloud storage meets a need. After all, who hasn't had to go through the trouble of copying files to CD, DVD, or flash disks, intending to take the disk to work, only to forgetfully leave it in the computer at home?
These top cloud storage sites all offer the convenience of having your data available when and where you need it. They also enable you to share data with others from your cloud storage site. With cloud storage you can also eliminate the problem caused by multiple file versions. Whether you have a service that allows you to edit your files online or not, you can still re-upload modified files when your work is done so that you have just one version to deal with.
Some of the top cloud storage sites offer both free and paid services, and most of them have robust security guarantees. Personal users may find a site that meets their needs for free, but serious business users should consider the potential return on investment they can get through the use of paid services.
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Top Cloud Storage Sites
Windows Live offers a Web-based storage solution called Sky Drive. This site requires a Windows Live login, but offers an impressive 25 GB of storage space for free. To use it, you login, browse or create online folders in your browser window, and then click the option to "Add files." You then get the chance to upload the files you want to your Sky Drive. Of course, you can also create your content online by using the "Live" options of Office 2010.
IDrive is an online storage solution that offers free and paid services that allow users to automatically sync files on their computers to the Web. This service ensures that users always have access to the latest versions of files, satisfying remote access and backup needs.
ADrive offers 50 GB of free online storage in hopes of persuading users to subscribe to its powerful desktop client service. Premium storage plans for up to 1 TB start at around $14 per month.
Hosted FTP is a site based on Amazon's famed S3 infrastructure for impeccable reliability. Users can try the service for free, but to continue using it beyond 30 days users must pay for a plan. An enterprise package that includes an API is the strongest option with this service.
Boxnet offers secure file storage and sharing intended primarily for business use. Although it offers a 1 GB free personal option, most companies will need either the business or enterprise plans that start at $15 per month for each user.
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You will find that cloud storage options easily integrate with your life, making file storage, sharing, backup, and syncing easy. Be sure to try these top cloud storage sites before making your final decision. One last thing: if you already have a Web hosting service, you may want to contact it to see what cloud storage options it has that might integrate with your existing hosted storage. Also keep an eye out for future developments in the cloud storage market so you don't miss out on any exciting new features.