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Cloud storage services comparison

Get the information you need to pick the right free or paid service

Last updated: April 2014

Cloud storage gives you 24/7 access to your documents, photos, music, and videos—and you can get all of it wherever you are and on any compatible device, as long as you have an Internet connection. Cloud storage also makes sharing easy. And not least, it's an excellent way to back up all your digital content.

If you're trying to decide which cloud-storage service is best for your needs, check our rundown of 12 popular services, which covers pricing, security, special features, and other details you'll need to choose.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Price: Files: 5GB, free; 20GB, $10/year; 50GB, $25/year; 100GB, $50/year; 200GB, $100/year; 500GB, $250/year. Music: 250 imported songs, free; 250,000 imported songs, $25/year.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, Kindle Fire (Web UI requires (FlashPlayer).

Collaboration: No (only the subscriber can work on cloud-based files).

Security: Data is sent to and from the company’s servers using 28-bit RC4 encryption, but files are not encrypted on company servers.

Customer support: Free 24/7 phone calls (you can either click the Call Me button for a call back from a live person or get an automated customer-service system by calling 1-866-395-6761), e-mail, and chat.

Special features: Dedicated photo apps for iOS and Android devices, Kindle integration via Photos tab on Kindle devices, and video playback on Kindle and Android devices.

URL: amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=cd_def?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&docId=1000828861

Apple iCloud

Price: 5GB, free; 15GB, $20/year; 25GB, $40/year; 50GB, $100/year.

Supported OSes and devices: iOS, OS X, Windows with iCloud Control Panel, Apple TV (photos, iTunes in the Cloud).

Collaboration: No.

Security: Data is sent and stored using a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption and uses secure tokens for authentication. Encryption keys are never provided to third parties.

Customer support: An online knowledgebase.

Special features: iCloud Photo Sharing lets you share photos and videos with others, and you can invite them to add their own.

URL: icloud.com

Bitcasa

Price: 20GB, free; 1TB, $10/month or $99/year; 5TB, $49/month or $499/year; infinite, $99/month or $999/year.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: No.

Security: Enterprise-grade 256-bit encryption on the client side, when sent, and on company servers.

Customer support: Help Center, community forums, and Twitter support feed for free-service users; paid users get all of the above plus e-mail and chat.

Special features: Centralized storage makes even large video files available instantaneously on all devices. Folder mirroring enables users to interrupt a large backup and resume later, say when a network connection is available.

URL: bitcasa.com

Box

Price: 10GB, free; 100GB, $5/month.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, Blackberry.

Collaboration: Yes.

Security: Provides 256-bit encryption, both in transit and on the company’s servers.

Customer support: US-based, 24/7 phone support (1-877-729-4269), e-mail, and self-service Web support.

Special features: Includes a website optimized for mobile browsers; document creation, previewing, and editing capabilities with support for more than 75 file types; and a collection of 700 apps, such as education tools for students and teachers, and general productivity.

URL: box.com

Carbonite

Price: Unlimited, $60/year (1 computer only).

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, Blackberry.

Collaboration: No.

Security: Data is stored using 128-bit Blowfish encryption and sent using SSL technology.

Customer support: U.S.-based phone (877-222-5488), e-mail, and chat.

Special features: none (for individual users)

URL: carbonite.com

Dropbox

Price: 2GB, free (500MB more per referral, up to 18GB); add 100GB, $99/year.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, Blackberry, Kindle Fire.

Collaboration: Yes

Security: Data is stored using 256-bit AES encryption and two-step verification.

Customer support: FAQs, e-mail, and community forums.

Special features: Others can upload their own files to your Dropbox.

URL: dropbox.com

Google Drive

Price: 15GB, free; 100GB, $5/month.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: Yes.

Security: Supports 2-factor authentication and uses HTTPS and TLS for transmissions to and from your device. You can also encrypt files before adding them to Google Drive.

Customer support: Phone, e-mail, knowledge base, and community.

Special features: Includes tools to create presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and drawings.

URL: accounts.google.com

Microsoft OneDrive

Price: 7GB, free; add 20GB, $10/year; add 50GB, $25/year; add 100GB, $50/year

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: Yes.

Security: Password-protected data is SSL-encrypted during uploads and downloads.

Customer support: Phone (800-642-7676, during business hours), self-service Web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Special features: Includes free browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

URL: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/skydrive

Mozy

Price: 2GB, free; 50GB, $6/month (1 computer); 125GB, $10/month (3 computers).

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: No.

Security: Data is sent using 256-bit AES encrytion; data is stored using 448-bit Blowfish encryption, or users can use their own 256-bit encryption key.

Customer support: Chat (with paid service), video tutorials, knowledge base, and community.

Special features: None

URL: mozy.com

SOS Online Backup, SOS Pro

Price: 100GB, $10/month, 150GB, $16/month; 250GB, $20/month.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: Yes, with Filelocker Pro (free)

Security: Data is stored on both the customer's computer and at the data center using 256-bit encryption. It is transferred using SSL.

Customer support: Chat, e-mail, and knowledgebase.

Special features: Each past version of every file is kept, but only the largest version is ever "counted" toward your storage.

URL: sosonlinebackup.com

SugarSync

Price: 60GB, $7.50/month; 100GB, $10/month; 250GB, $25/month.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: No.

Security: Files are sent using Transport Layer Security and are stored using 256-bit AES encryption.

Customer service: Chat, knowledgebase, community, and e-mail (phone support, $100/year).

Special features: Remote wipe and automatic photo backup for mobile devices.

URL: sugarsync.com

WD MyCloud

Price: 2TB, $150; 3TB, $180; 4TB, $250. No monthly fee.

Supported OSes and devices: Android, iOS, OS X, Windows.

Collaboration: Yes.

Security: 256-bit encryption.

Customer service: Phone (800-275-4932) and e-mail.

Special features: This product differs from the others in that you buy a personal server, called the MyCloud, and keep your content on it; it’s accessible from anywhere, as content on other cloud services would be. So it doubles as a traditional backup drive, and data is not stored on public servers.

URL: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=1140

—Nancy Feldman

   

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