3 Free Cloud Storage Options You Can Use Right Now
Cloud technology is moving to dominate the post-pandemic business scene quickly. One survey forecasted a gradual decline in on-premises workloads by 2025, from 35% before the pandemic to 22% after. Cloud utilization will see an increase as more companies shift their workloads to public, private, and hybrid setups. (1)
But before you start getting into the cloud bandwagon, keep in mind that transitioning into the cloud takes months, if not years. How long it’ll take depends on the amount of data earmarked for the move, legacy apps that need to be rebuilt around the cloud, and several factors. It also won’t come cheap, with the total cost upwards of tens of thousands.
If your business needs a cloud storage solution right now, there are a few options worth considering—and they’re free of charge:
- Google Drive
Since its launch almost a decade ago, Google Drive has built a significant customer base with more than 800 million daily users and two trillion files stored. In 2018, the service reached a milestone for breaching the one-billion mark in registered users. (2)
However, only a fraction of the user population pays for its premium services (six million in 2019); the rest use its free plan that provides 15 GB of storage space. While possibly enough for personal or small-scale business use, it isn’t enough for large-scale operations. Storage spaces starting from 100 GB already require a paid plan.
More importantly, Google Drive limits upload size depending on the file. Documents have a limit of 50 MB or 1.02 million characters, spreadsheets with a limit of 5 million cells or 18,278 columns, and presentations only to 100 MB. The recently-added feature to store webpages also has a limit: 15 million characters per page, 10,000 pages per site, and 15,000 images per site. (3)
Nevertheless, Google Drive has the edge in other aspects, such as easy access from various devices and editing the files. All you need is a Google account to access Google Drive and Google’s family of services like Docs, Spreadsheets, Slide Presentations, and more (most are also free). These apps enable users to make necessary changes to files in Drive in real-time.
Mega Encrypted Global Access (MEGA) is the successor to Megaupload, a file storage service that operated until 2012. Based in New Zealand, MEGA has a smaller user base at roughly 200 million users, including the 60% registration surge when the country went into lockdown. (4)
MEGA prides itself on being ‘the privacy company,’ featuring its end-to-end encryption system called Zero Knowledge Encryption. It has the distinction of leaving the encryption to the user via their password, meaning only the sender and receiver can access the file. As the term implies, the service has ‘zero knowledge’ of the encryption used and thus can’t open it. (4)
This setup has its drawbacks, as the user would be responsible for ensuring a strong password. It gets worse if the user forgets it, as they’ll be locked out of their own files. The only way MEGA can help in this case is with the user’s recovery key, which they also have to remember, to reset the password. If the user also forgets this one, the chances of recovery diminish.
As for storage size, MEGA slightly edges out Google Drive with free storage of 20 GB. While still small for large-scale business activities, the larger size will help private and small business functions. The free storage is only available to individual plans; there are no free business plans.
One of the newest cloud storage services, Stockholm-based Degoo has made quite a name for itself in the industry for having the largest free storage space allocation so far. A free account grants a whopping 100 GB of space, but it doesn’t end there. (5)
Degoo has an ongoing referral program that grants 5 GB of additional storage space (up to 500 GB) for every referral that signs up for the service. Maxing out will give an account a total of 600 GB, which is enough for most small and medium-level enterprises. The storage space also features end-to-end encryption. (5)
However, the more enhanced security features are only available to paid plans. With a free plan, Degoo will generate and store multiple copies of one file in a single data centre, which can be a security risk. On top of that, free plan users need to access their account at least one day every year to keep their files in storage. (5)
There are plenty of other free cloud storage services in the market, but these three options stand out for their decent storage size and security measures. They can serve as stopgap solutions until the business can employ more customized cloud systems.
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- “Cloud 2025: The future of workloads in a cloud-first, post-COVID-19 world”, Source: https://www.logicmonitor.com/resource/cloud-2025
- “Google Drive will hit a billion users this week”, Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/25/google-drive-will-hit-a-billion-users-this-week/
- “Files you can store in Google Drive”, Source: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/37603?hl=en
- “Mega, the encryption company that wants to be everything”, Source: https://businessdesk.co.nz/article/technology/mega-the-encryption-company-that-wants-to-be-everything
- “Simple, transparent pricing”, Source: https://degoo.com/