Cloud storage providers: Guide to who's who

Cloud filing cabinet storage

Storing your data on the cloud has come to the fore in the last few years as broadband speeds increase and the cost of storage plummets. Nowadays it is possible to store tens of gigabytes of data online for free.

But cloud storage has morphed from purely being a place to store data. From their file sharing origins, cloud storage now offers users and organisations shared folders, online document editing and collaboration and workflow capabilities.

As with SaaS applications, cloud storage offers no upfront costs and give organisations and users a hand way of increasing collaboration among employees and colleagues. Here is a round up of the main players in this space.


Description: Very much a basic cloud storage service that doesn’t offer plug-ins or productivity extras, Amazon Cloud Drive offers a means to store files without the fuss of its rivals.

Free storage: 5GB

Earning extra free storage: Prime members can get unlimited free photo storage.

Paid storage: 20GB for £6 per year per user up to 1TB for £320 per year.

File size restrictions: 2GB per file

OS support: iOS, Android, Windows

Other features: The service allows recovery of deleted files


Description: Apple’s foray into cloud storage with iCloud started out a syncing and backup service for iOS apps. The service will sync Calendar, Contacts, iTunes music, photos, and other files between an iOS device and a Mac or PC. It has branched out through iCloud Drive to offer more traditional file storage and syncing.

Free storage: 5GB

Earning extra free storage: No extra free storage is available.

Paid storage: 20GB for £0.79 per month up to £14.99 for 1TB per month.

File size restrictions: Individual file sizes are limited to 15GB

OS support: Mac OS X, iOS and Windows PC only. (iCloud Drive requires devices running iOS 8 and Mac OS X 10.10 –(Yosemite)).

Other features: The service offers tight integration with the Apple ecosystem and users can also use the web app to create and edit documents.


Description: Box has been running longer than similarly named Dropbox but has concentrated more in the enterprise space than on consumers. As such its sharing and privacy features have been developed specifically for business and IT users.

Free storage: 10GB

Earning extra free storage: Generally speaking, Box doesn’t offer extra free storage that regularly. It did however offer 50GB of storage to celebrate the launch of its new iOS app last year. This 50GB seems to be the maximum free amount you can get from the company.

Paid storage: Individual users can get 100GB of storage for £7 per month. Business users can get unlimited storage starting from £11 per month (minimum three users)

File size restrictions: On the free account the file size limit is 250MB or 5GB for paid storage options.

OS support: Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, and iOS

Other features: Business-oriented plans offer Active Directory and single sign-on integrations. The service also integrates with SaaS apps such as Salesforce and Netsuite, to name a few.


Description: Copy is a cloud storage service from Barracuda Network, so you can expect this to be a highly secure way of storing and accessing data in the cloud. Unlike Dropbox, space can be split between users. E.g. a folder that is 4GB when used by four people takes up only 1GB in each user’s Copy account. It is also primarily aimed at business users rather than consumers.

Free storage: 15GB for up to five users

Earning extra free storage: Users can earn 5GB in referrals. There doesn’t appear to be an upper limit on referrals.

Paid storage: 250GB for $4.99 per month. Company plans start at $899 per year for 10 users and 1TB of storage.

File size restrictions: Users can upload files sizes up to the limit of their storage space.

OS support: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, iOS, Android.

Other features: All data stored in the Copy cloud are protected with server-side AES-256-SHA encryption. A single account can split storage between personal and corporate data.


Description: Cubby is a cloud storage service from remote computer control software vendor LogMeIn. The service offers not only online storage but the ability to sync unlimited folders across devices without using the cloud.

Free storage: 5GB

Earning extra free storage: Users can earn up to 25GB in storage through referrals.

Paid storage: 100GB for $6.99 per user per month. Enterprise offerings for five users sharing 1TB costs $39.99 per month

File size restrictions: unlimited file size

OS support: Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android

Other features: Enterprise accounts offer policy management, domain-based administration, Active Directory support.


Description: Probably the most popular and most well-known cloud storage provider, Dropbox has managed to fend off the competition from the big guns.

Free storage: 2GB

Earning extra free storage: Users can earn extra free storage up to 16GB by referring friends, downloading features apps and enabling camera uploads.

Paid storage: Individual users can upgrade to 1TB for £7.99 per month or up to 5TB when using a business account – (starts at £11 per user month for five minimum users).

File size restrictions: Files up to 10GB in size are allowed through the website. Otherwise files must be smaller than storage quota.

OS support: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1; Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or later; Ubuntu 10.04 and Fedora 19+. iOS 7 or later; Android 2.1 or later; Blackberry OS 4.5 or later; Windows Phone (Version 1.1 was released in February 2015, enabling greater sharing and unsharing functionality for users).

Other features: Works with third party apps such as Microsoft Office 365 on iOS and Android.


Description: Google Drive has evolved out of Gmail to be very much its own product. It ties in with that service and other Google productivity apps besides. Of course, Drive also has the file sharing and syncing abilities of its rivals Dropbox and Box as well.

Free storage: 15GB for all users

Earning extra free storage: Google runs promotions from time to time offering free storage. Chromebook users can get 100GB of free storage for two years by visiting a Google site to redeem the offer. It also gave out 10GB to anyone that downloaded and linked to its QuickOffice app.

Paid storage: 100GB starts at $1.99 per month and 1TB costs $9.99 per month. This goes up to 30TB of storage for $299.99 per month.

File size restrictions: Files that aren’t converted to a Google Docs, Sheets or Slides format can be up to 5TB in size.

OS support: Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS and Android. All other platforms must use web app.

Other features: Integrated heavily with its Google Apps service. Users can create documents and work on them in real time with other collaborators.


Description: What used to be called YouSendIt had a name change in July 2013. The service enables users to send, receive, digitally sign and synchronise files.

Free storage: 2GB

Earning extra free storage: None available

Paid storage: £11.99 per user for unlimited storage. £18.99 per month for unlimited storage for up to 10 users.

File size restrictions: 250MG on free version, 10GB on paid version.

OS support: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.

Other features: The service features a Microsoft Outlook plug-in, digital signatures and 256-bit encryption for stored files. SharePoint integration for enterprise accounts.


Description: LiveDrive is both a backup service and a means to sync data across multiple computers. The service backs up everything without storage limitations. Users can either buy it as a backup service or as a file sync service (or both) there are also options for businesses looking to backup computers and share data.

Free storage: None

Earning extra free storage: None available

Paid storage: Backup for individual users starts at £3 per month for unlimited space. The Briefcase file sharing option comes with2TB of online storage for £7 per month. The Pro option offers unlimited backup for 5 PCs and 5TB of online storage space for £11 per month. Business options (three users, 2TB online storage) start at £22 per month.

File size restrictions: No file size restrictions

OS support: Client software for Windows and Mac. Apps for Android, Kindle Fire iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Other features: The service also allows users to retrieve up to 30 previous versions of documents storage on the cloud and files are encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption.


Description: Microsoft’s own take on cloud storage is OneDrive. Formerly called SkyDrive, OneDrive is built into Windows 8 and above but also supports a wide range of other platforms.

Free storage: 15GB

Earning extra free storage: Users can increase their storage to 18GB by enabling camera uploads and up to 25GB by referring friends to the service.

Paid storage: 100GB for $1.99 a month; 200GB for $3.99 a month; 1TB for $6.99 a month (includes access to Office 365)

File size restrictions: 2GB

OS Support: Windows, Windows Phone, Mac, Android, and iOS

Other features: As you would expect, OneDrive integrates heavily with Office Online, meaning that you can store your Office documents in the cloud and editing them via the web, apps as well as the desktop version of Office.

Mozy by EMC

Description: Mozy is EMC’s cloud storage service and has been around since 2005. It offers secure personal, business and enterprise cloud storage and backup.

Free storage: 2GB

Earning extra free storage: Additional 256MB for each referral.

Paid storage: 50GB for £4.99 per user per month (personal) up to £7.99 per user per month for 125GB. MozyPro for business users start at 10GB for £6.99 per user per month.

File size restrictions: Unlimited up to storage limits.

OS support: Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP and Mac OS X 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6, 10.5 and 10.4.

Other features: MozyEnterprise offers Active Directory integration and single sign-on functionality.


Description: This service bills itself as a “zero-knowledge” data backup, share, sync, access and storage service. It also appears to have the endorsement of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Free storage: 2GB

Earning extra free storage: Referring other users gets an extra 1GB for both users up to 10GB.

Paid storage: 100GB for $10 per month per user. Enterprise usage: $5 per user per month (min. 100 users) for unlimited storage.

File size restrictions: None

OS support: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (Debian, Fedora, Slackware), Android, iOS.

Other features: LDAP/Active Directory integration available in enterprise accounts. Service claims that the servers where data is stored has “zero knowledge” of data stored and is therefore 100 per cent private.


Description: Most cloud storage providers make users set up a special folder, which then syncs to others. SugarSync will sync the folders a user chooses on their computer to the cloud and to other devices.

Free storage: The service has discontinued its free offering

Earning extra free storage: N/A

Paid storage: 100GB for $74.99 per year per user. 250GB for $99.99 per year per user. Business accounts: $550 per year for 1TB for up to three users.

File size restrictions: No file size restrictions

OS support: Windows 7/8, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

Other features: The service also allows users to see up to four previous versions of a file in addition to the current one.

This article was originally published on 28/01/15 and has been updated multiple times (most recently on 22/02/15) to include new information.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.