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12 free cloud storage options

There's Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Google Drive and others, but which is right for you?

By , Network World
September 25, 2012 09:53 AM ET

Network World - With all the public cloud storage offerings on the market today, many vendors just want customers to sign up for their services. So, in return for a new account, many offer free cloud storage.

 
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Using the following 12 public cloud storage options, you could theoretically get 112GB of free cloud storage. But not all services are the same. Some have their pros and cons related to how large a file can be uploaded, the pricing of additional cloud storage space, integrations with various operating systems and mobile apps, and of course security precautions the vendors take.

Here are side-by-side comparisons of free cloud storage options.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Name: Amazon Cloud Drive

Free cloud storage: 5GB

Extra storage: 20GB, $10/year; 50GB, $25/year; 100GB, $50/year; 200GB, $100/year; 1TB, $500/year. Cloud Music player: 250 imported songs free; 250,000 imported songs, $24.99/year.

More info: Music purchased and downloaded from Amazon is automatically stored in Amazon Cloud Drive for free. Service also backs up Kindle-branded tablets. Since launching in March 2011, the service has come under criticism for its access policies, which states that Amazon is allowed to use access files stored in Amazon Cloud Drive. See more here (Section 3.3).

Apple iCloud

Name: Apple iCloud

Free cloud storage: 5GB

Extra storage: 10GB (15GB total with 5GB free), $20/year; 50GB, $100/year.

More info: Automatically synchs files, photos, videos and even Web browsing tabs across Apple devices. Windows iCloud Control Panel is available. Apps such as Keynote, Pages and Numbers are used for document management/synchronization. Apple boasts a minimum 128-bit AES encryption for iCloud.

Box

Name: Box

Free cloud storage: 5GB

Extra storage: Personal account, 25GB for $9.99/month; 50GB, $19.99/month. Business account: $15/user/month, 3 to 500 users; 1TB with password-protected sharing, access management and user administration. Enterprise edition: Custom pricing, unlimited storage, offers customer branding, group access controls.

More info: Provides SSL AES 256-bit encryption behind the firewall. For business and enterprise accounts, files are stored encrypted with automatic redundancy. File size limits: 100MB for the free accounts, 1GB for paid personal accounts; Business editions have 2GB file size limit. Box allows document editing in the cloud through third-party apps, such as Zoho.

MORE BOX: Salesforce.com takes aim at cloud storage market ... and Box

Dropbox

Name: Dropbox

Free cloud storage: 2GB

Extra storage: "Pro" accounts range from 100GB, $9.99/month or $99/year, to 500GB for $49.99/month or $499/year. "Teams" account, 1TB for $795/year for 5 users and $125 for each additional user.

More info: One of the best-known public cloud storage offerings, Dropbox uses SSL AES 256-bit encryption for its Pro and Teams editions. No limit on file size when uploading from the desktop application, which works on Windows, OS X and Linux; 300MB limit when uploading from the Dropbox website. Get 500MB of extra free storage when friends register, up to 16GB. Dropbox does not allow editing of documents directly in the service.

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