Whether you run your own business or you're a freelancer, or you have a lot of photos on your phone and need to make a little extra space, the security and convenience benefits of modern cloud storage far outweigh any risks that used to be associated with moving all of your data online.
Fran Villalba Segarra, CEO, Internxt (opens in new tab).
The truth is that many cloud storage services are more reliable than physical devices, and many are even safer than your physical hosting storage at home.
What kind of cloud storage is best for your needs? What is the real difference between business and personal cloud storage options? What features should you be looking for when choosing a cloud?
We'll explore the pros and cons of business and personal cloud storage services below so you can make an informed decision on where to park all of your precious data.
What is online cloud storage?
Cloud storage does everything physical storage does: it holds files. The difference is that cloud storage is accessed via the internet, and files are not stored at the user's location. Cloud storage traditionally stores data in large, centrally-located servers, though modern cloud storage services built on blockchain now store data over vast peer-to-peer networks.
The advantages of cloud storage are that it is less prone to user errors and local emergencies such as power outages, fires, floods, etc. Also, cloud storage is generally more secure. Though data breaches happen, most cloud operating networks are incredibly advanced and well-looked after.
The downsides? Privacy can be an issue as many cloud services track user data, and trusting a company with all of your information isn't always reasonable. Recently many zero-knowledge cloud services have come online, which ensure users' right to privacy is protected.
Cloud storage has come a long way in recent years, and regardless of the service you choose, it likely has more upsides than downsides. There are plenty of options available, so which type of plan or subscription you use matters. If you want the best deal and service for your use case, it's essential to know the difference between personal and business services.
Personal cloud storage: pros and cons
Personal cloud storage is, well, personal. It's an excellent option for a single person or maybe for a family to save things like basic documents, PDFs, photos, and home videos. Personal storage is also an effective solution for freelancers who need more storage space.
Many personal plans contain all the features of their business counterparts, but they are typically capped at a data or user amount. The good news is these plans are often cheaper, and most providers offer a free trial you can try before you buy. They also provide short commitments, typically one month, and you can re-up for as long as you need the service.
Below are the pros and cons of a personal storage cloud service:
- More affordable
- Less commitment
- Simple to use
- Smaller storage amounts
- Not designed for multiple users
- No admin features
Business cloud storage: pros and cons
Business cloud storage plans are developed for companies or people using cloud services to make money. They often include technical support or a designated representative to help you make the most of your service. Business plans are usually paid for by the number of users. The more users or employees you have accessing the system, the more it will cost. They come with a lot of data, and clients can almost always add more.
The most significant difference between business and personal is that business plans usually come loaded with administration features, allowing you to change settings and limit access accordingly. You can also use an admin account to access all files stored on the company network, regardless of who is the original owner/creator.
Below are the pros and cons of a business cloud storage service:
- Massive storage amounts (sometimes unlimited)
- Admin features
- Able to support many users
- Scalable to your business size
- Designated customer service reps
- Must meet a minimum requirement of users
- Long-term commitment
Your unique cloud service needs
Before choosing what option is suitable for you and your team, it's wise to ask yourself what your cloud storage will be for and how you would like to use it.
- Is this storage just for me or for my business or team?
- How many users do I want to have access to the account?
- How much data will I likely need?
- Am I going to be mainly saving docs, photos, or videos?
- Will the cost of storage be offset by the value, convenience, or security added?
- How much am I willing to spend, or what's my budget?
- Will my storage needs grow or shrink in the future?
- What other services would I like to be compatible with my cloud service?
- What devices do I normally run?
- How important is security and privacy, or how sensitive is my data?
Which cloud storage is right for you: business or personal?
The pros and cons listed above are general. All cloud services are a little different in some way or another. By knowing precisely what you need from your cloud service, you can quickly narrow down your list to some services and plans that would be perfect for you, your family, or your business.
Still, unsure what cloud provider or service ecosystem is right for you? Ask friends or others in your industry what service they use and if they like it. You'd be surprised how many people have moved on to the cloud.