Top 7 Cloud Storages For Personal and Business Use: Which Suits You Best?

Monisha Fernando
June 20, 2024
Decentralized Cloud Storage

We deal with a huge amount of data every day. From sharing media with friends and family to storing important business documents, an average internet user deals with around 2 to 10 GB of data daily. Whether you’re an individual or an organization, managing all your files privately and conveniently is critical. Cloud storage provides a simple and secure solution to this. It has multiple advantages over traditional in-device memory – it is a safe, accessible, and highly scalable method with unique features like easy backups and collaborations. 

Today, over 64% of internet users use the cloud, while almost all organizations use the cloud in some way, whether through SaaS applications or a fully cloud-native network. It’s estimated that the total amount of data stored on the cloud will reach 100 zettabytes by 2025, a whole 50% of the total data at that time – most of which will be personal files and media. Because of this, storing and sharing data on the cloud securely and conveniently is very important. This article explores the top 7 cloud storage services in 2024. We will look at traditional options like Google Drive and OneDrive as well as some innovative options such as Züs Vult, providing you with a comparative analysis to help you choose the right one.

Comparing the Cloud Storage Options

We will compare the storage options based on some straightforward criteria like storage capacity, encryption, cross-platform support, and other parameters like whether or not the storage is decentralized. Züs Vult stands out from the rest because of its unique decentralized storage compared to traditional server storage, and its immutability and tamper-resistance. Let’s take a look at the storage options one by one. 

Züs Vult

Züs Vult, powered by Züs Network, is a unique cloud storage provider that uses decentralized blockchain technology to store data. It uses multiple smaller servers set up in different geographical locations to store data rather than a single powerful server. This prevents any centralized failure points and ensures high data availability. Further, Vult has enabled switching of providers and repair of storage allocations to ensure data integrity. The blockchain technology is used to verify that stored data remains unchanged and changes are tracked on the blockchain, and is a single source of truth. Proxy re-encryption methods are used for secure data transfer. Vult offers enhanced data resilience and flexibility by accommodating multiple providers in its decentralized storage. This allows users to choose providers based on performance and cost. Vult’s advanced security features make it an ideal option for those industries with privacy as the top priority such as healthcare, legal, HR, sales in enterprises, and finance.

Pros:

  • High Security: Use of data fragmentation, proxy re-encryption, and immutability to protect against cyber threats.
  • Decentralized Control: Multiple servers across many locations and the blockchain technology ensure high data security and availability. Züs enhances security through distributed storage by fragmenting your data across multiple servers. This minimizes the risk of a single point of failure, ensuring data security even if one server is compromised. Additionally, Züs provides distributed immutability, ensuring that once stored, data cannot be tampered with or altered. This combination of data fragmentation and immutability ensures the long-term security and integrity of your data.
  • Data Integrity: The open-source system uses blockchain to track data handling operations, ensuring that no alterations occur. It also guarantees data integrity by conducting verified challenges on each server storing your data, leveraging blockchain technology for this process.
  • Data Transparency: Provides full data transparency and allows users to switch servers and locations based on performance, geographic preference, and cost, enhancing user control.
  • Private Sharing: Secure, private, and transparent sharing of sensitive information.
  • Privacy: User data remains fully private and within the user’s control, with no access granted to us or any external entities, including governmental bodies.
  • Fast Performance: Parallel data downloads and uploads for less waiting times, without any capping on the file sizes.
  • Easy Backups: Create backups at different servers at minimal costs.
  • Smaller Carbon Footprint: Eco-friendly architecture utilizes lower disk space compared to other cloud providers while offering higher redundancy and availability. 
  • Free Egress: No charges for downloading or accessing your data.

Cons:

  • Limited Free Storage: Even if limited storage is provided, Zus is highly scalable and can be used by everyone.
  • Platform Navigation: The decentralized, blockchain-based approach may be complex for new users.
  • Emerging Platform: Being relatively new, it needs more robust support and resources.

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the leaders in personal and enterprise cloud storage. It’s a platform that offers good features even for the free plan, but it also comes with some caveats. Google is quite upfront about the data they collect for profiling and ad-targeting. Users with sensitive data may not want their accounts profiled, but there’s no option for opting out – even for a paid plan. Google offers highly-scalable options for storage, starting at 100 GB for consumers and going all the way to 10 TB (or more!) for businesses that need it. Also included with a paid plan are some additional features like photo editing and email drafting.

Pros:

  • Centralized Storage: Data storage and maintenance is efficiently done in a single location.
  • Extensive Features: Advanced features like real-time collaborations, strong security, and anonymous sharing are offered even for the free plan, along with 15 GB of free storage.
  • Robust Performance: Excellent integration with other Google services and reliable uptime.

Cons:

  • Low Transparency: Users do not have any insight into data management and storage location as Google uses a closed-source platform. This is an issue for users wanting to store sensitive information. 
  • Extensive Data Collection: Google is known for collecting significant amounts of user data across its services, including Google Drive. This data can include file names, contents, and metadata.
  • Integration with Other Services: Google Drive integrates with many third-party applications. While convenient, this also means that these third-party apps may have access to user data stored in Google Drive.
  • Compliance with Legal Requests: Google, like other major cloud service providers, complies with legal requests for user data. 

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft launched OneDrive in 2007, a full five years before Google Drive. If you have a Windows computer, OneDrive is something you should definitely set up. It’s tightly integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem, supporting file syncing directly from a folder. Moreover, OneDrive also comes with the Office 365 suite. This allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams and flowcharts directly using the browser. Overall, it is a very comprehensive, convenient solution. Here is OneDrive at a glance:

Pros:

  • Centralized Storage: Like Google Drive, OneDrive also operates on a centralized server, making it efficient, but it can create single-point failure issues. 
  • Integration with other Microsoft Tools: OneDrive seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft services and the Microsoft 365 suite, supporting real-time collaboration and automatic media uploads.
  • Performance and Reliability: OneDrive syncs files across platforms and operating systems, making it easy for enterprises to access their data from any device. 
  • Cross-platform Support: OneDrive supports a wide range of devices and seamlessly syncs through browsers.

Cons:

  • Complex UI: OneDrive’s UI is confusing for new users.
  • Automatic File Syncing: With a Microsoft account on Windows, file syncing is turned on. If data is deleted from the synced folder on the PC, it also gets permanently deleted from the cloud.
  • Transparency and Data Ownership: Like Google Drive, OneDrive operates on a closed-source platform, giving users no visibility in data management and storage locations. 
  • Less Storage on Free Plan: OneDrive only provides free storage of 5 GB per user. 
  • Complex Privacy Settings: It is very inconvenient and complex to change privacy settings and make them suitable for sensitive data.

NextCloud

NextCloud is a good option for users prioritizing open-source platforms. NextCloud integrates well with NextCloud Web, which is a four-in-one service: it contains a cloud storage platform, a video conferencing platform (NextCloud Talk), an office suite (NextCloud Office), and an editing tool suite (Collabora Online). Tha platform offers robust data privacy and security to ensure user control over data. NextCloud is trusted by hundreds of enterprises worldwide for its secure and transparent cloud storage. 

Pros:

  • Open Source and Self-Hosting: NextCloud’s open-source platform ensures the user complete transparency over data management and storage locations. It also supports self-hosting or managed hosting through an external service provider, making it highly scalable. 
  • Integration with NextCloud Web: NextCloud integrates smoothly with the other tools from the same company for video conferencing, email, and an office suite.
  • Transparency and Data Ownership: NextCloud operates on an open-source platform, ensuring full disclosure of how data is managed.
  • Scalability: NextCloud is highly scalable across a variety of devices, from high-end computers to Raspberry Pi systems. This makes NextCloud an ideal option for tech businesses.

Cons:

  • Difficult to Set Up: NextCloud’s self-hosting is tiresome to set up for users who want an out-of-the-box experience.
  • Does Not Integrate with Google / Microsoft: NextCloud by itself does not integrate well with offline apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Self-Hosting Can Be More Expensive: Depending on location and need, self-hosting cloud storage can be much more expensive than using an online platform.

Mega

Mega is highly-focused on user privacy and security. It offers a large amount of storage for its users, with scalable options for professional and enterprise clients. But Mega’s real advantage lies in its robust end-to-end encryption and security features. Along with their zero-knowledge architecture, Mega is one of the best options for privacy-focused power users.

Pros:

  • Strong End-to-end Encryption: Mega uses the AES algorithm to encrypt files before transferring them, ensuring maximum security
  • No Metadata Collection: No file contents are scanned for ad profiling, data collection or any other purposes.
  • Seamless Link Sharing: Mega allows instantaneous, high-speed anonymised file sharing for all users with no restrictions.
  • Scalable Storage: Free users of Mega get 20GB storage, which is excellent for privacy and media storage.

Cons:

  • Past Security Concerns: Mega has faced scrutiny over its security practices in the past, particularly over how it manages encryption keys.
  • Limited Collaboration Options: Real-time collaboration is not possible using Mega.
  • Limited Editing Options: Mega does not offer any tools for editing files like Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

pCloud

pCloud is one of the lesser-known alternatives for a cloud storage solution. Based in Switzerland, pCloud offers a very unique approach to cloud storage with lifetime subscription options. They provide easy-to-use, accessible cloud storage with good pricing options. pCloud allows users to choose a data region where their files will be stored. All files can be encrypted on the client’s side before sharing them with anyone or uploading to pCloud’s servers. They also support up to 365 days of version control, helping to prevent malware or ransomware attacks on data.

Pros:

  • Lifetime Subscription: pCloud is the only platform on this list which supports lifetime subscriptions for cloud storage.
  • Client-Side Encryption: Files are encrypted before they are uploaded to pCloud servers
  • TLS/SSL Channel Encryption: Malware or other packet sniffing tools cannot access data while transferring.
  • Data Redundancy: Up to five copies of data are stored on pCloud servers, ensuring 99.99% uptime with no connection lag.

Cons:

  • Paywalled Security Features: Most features which make pCloud distinctive like file history and zero-knowledge privacy, are only accessible by paying additional charges.
  • No Editing Tools: pCloud does not offer any in-built tools to edit files on their servers.
  • Speed Variability: pCloud does not have servers globally, which can affect bandwidth and network speeds.
  • No Free Storage: pCloud does not offer any free storage. 

SpiderOak One

SpiderOak is a cloud storage platform known for their excellent security measures and their strong commitment to user privacy. Like other services built for professionals and enterprises, SpiderOak offers end-to-end encryption. They operate on a closed-source model like Google Drive, and offer unlimited, OS-agnostic backups. 

Pros:

  • Cross-platform Support: SpiderOak works seamlessly on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.
  • Anonymous Sharing: File sharing without account creation is possible.
  • Zero-knowledge Architecture: Ensures that the recipient has the correct file without revealing its contents. 
  • Decentralized Access Control: Distributed ledgers are used for key management and access control, which improves security. 

Cons:

  • Cost: SpiderOak tends to be very costly for larger storage tiers, sometimes even the costliest out of comparable services.
  • No Free Storage: SpiderOak One does not offer any free storage whatsoever. 
  • Limited Collaboration Features: No real-time collaboration or editing tools are available.
  • User Interface: SpiderOak’s user interface is confusing for new users and not configurable.

Cloud Storage: A Quick Look

FeatureVultGoogle DriveOneDriveNextCloudMegapCloudSpiderOak One
Data IntegrityLeverages blockchain tech to ensure data integrity through transparent, verified challenges for each server storing your data fragment.No provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provision
Distributed Immutability Additionally, contributing to data integrity, Züs ensures distributed immutability, meaning once stored, the data cannot be tampered with or altered. This combination of fragmentation and immutability guarantees that your data remains secure against unauthorized changes and stays unchanged over time.
NoNoNoNoNoNo
TransparencyProvides clear insights into server usage, data fragment distribution, and server performance against set benchmarks. 
MinimalMinimalMinimal MinimalMinimalMinimal
PrivacyGuarantees complete privacy, ensuring user data is solely within user control and never accessible to us or any external entities, including the governmentBasicBasicBasicBasicBasicBasic
Private Cloud Feature Vult offers businesses a private cloud feature where the servers are dedicated for the enterprise or the enterprise can bring their own. These provide enhanced security, optimized performance, and granular control for organizations.No provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provision
Private Data SharingUses proxy re-encryption protocol to share encrypted data for secured sharingBasic SupportBasic SupportYesYesBasic SupportYes
Add Redundancy on the FlyAllows for the smooth and seamless integration of redundancy to boost data reliability without disrupting service.No provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provision
Multiple Geo Distributed RegionsFunctions across various geographically distributed areas to enhance access speeds and resilience.No provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provisionNo provision
Full TransparencyKnow where your data is located and if it’s safeProprietaryProprietaryOpen-SourceNoNoNo
Data Uptime > 99.9%Configurable availability and reliability based on number of parity shards. Uptime is over  99.9%, ensuring high data availability and reliability.Not configurableNot configurableNot configurableNot configurableNot configurableNot configurable
Smaller Carbon FootprintEco-friendly architecture NoNoNoNoNoNo
High quality display of dataLossless data visualization on web, mobile, desktop NoNoNoNoYesNo
Editing Tools and office suiteNoYesYesConfigurableNoNoNo
Free Storage2GB15GB5GB5GB20GBNoneNone

What Sets Vult Apart?

Vult stands out from the other service providers for many reasons–but its most unique aspect is its robust security and privacy features. It uses a blockchain approach to track activities and ensure data integrity through random challenges of data fragments. The storage protocol uses erasure coding to fragment data across multiple servers in different geographical locations. Unlike other platforms, Vult’s immutability feature is decentralized, with control spread across multiple servers. This distribution ensures enhanced robustness and security. Data integrity is preserved by verified transparent challenges of each server storing one data fragment. Vult is scalable with fast data transfer and allows for large file upload sizes.

Another important feature Vult offers is proxy re-encryptions in addition to its immutability to protect against potential cyber attacks. Vult’s multiple-server decentralized system gives users complete control over their data. If performance issues arise, users can switch providers, and the system automatically repairs data allocations to maintain integrity.

The above features not only make Vult a great cloud storage platform but also a convenient way of sharing files across devices. With high security, advanced encryption methods, and blockchain technology, Vult is ideal for anyone prioritizing privacy and security, such as businesses dealing with sensitive data like healthcare, banking, and legal companies.

Endnotes

The need to store data will only grow in the coming years. Storing your data safely with tracking has become a necessity especially due to the emergence of AI and deep fake technology. Cloud storage provides a way to store data safely, reliably, and conveniently for individual users as well as businesses. 

However, simply using the cloud service is not enough. Make sure that the data you’re storing will be handled carefully, and how each provider ensures data integrity. Look for features like transparency of data storage location, data encryption, ease of collaboration, and secured private sharing. Open-source and blockchain-based platforms will ensure that your data activity is transparently monitored and kept safe by the blockchain. Further, look for a scalable platform to store the growing volume. Multiple decentralized servers tend to have fewer data-loss issues than the traditional options. Data transfer speed is another parameter to look for to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money. 

Whether you are an individual looking to store media or a small business looking to store its customer data, choosing the right cloud service makes all the difference!

FAQs

  1. What advantage does a cloud-based sharing system have over offline storage?

Cloud-based sharing systems have multiple advantages over offline storage. They offer real-time collaboration, instant file sharing, office suites, and editing tools. They also don’t use any of your system resources, leaving you free to work on more demanding applications. Further, the data is stored outside of your system. It becomes easy to switch devices, and your data remains safe even if the device is changed or damaged.

  1. How does Vult stack up against traditional clouds like Google?

Vult competes with world-leading cloud storage systems like Google Drive due to its transparency and security features. Users have complete ownership and control of their data and know where it is stored at all times. Vult also uses advanced encryption algorithms, ensuring nobody other than you or people you share with can access your data. This, combined with lossless media storage, transparency of data location and integrity,  and the high security and privacy of the platform, makes Vult one of its kind.

  1. How does Vult ensure my data remains safe?

Züs takes data security very seriously. With advanced encryptions and proper platform maintenance, Vult provides a safer cloud storage solution where everyone can store their data without worrying about safety. It also uses proxy re-encryption methods, allowing you to share data with other users privately.

  1. Can I easily switch from a different cloud to Vult?

It is very easy and straightforward to migrate to Vult. The platform offers a migration tool with a comprehensive guide to quickly and seamlessly transfer data without any hassle. 

  1. How does Züs Vult support mobile users?

Vult is designed to be used on web, mobile and desktop platforms and operating systems. We recommend using a PC or a Mac to use the full feature set of Vult. However, you can use the official mobile app as well, which is available on the Android and iOS platforms.

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