How to Select the Right Cloud Storage Service

Selecting a cloud storage provider need not be complicated, and it certainly need not be stressful. But in order for it to not be this way, it is important to first understand your personal or corporate needs (if you are picking a service for your company) and then starting the selection process. This approach will help quickly eliminate those service providers that do not meet your requirements, and leave you with comparing those that do. Below are some questions to get you started. These questions will give you an idea about how to approach this selection process, and develop your own questions when starting the search for a cloud stroage provider.

How much space do I (my users) need?

This is an important question to which one should know the answer. If you deal with a lot of images, graphic files, or large files of other type, then it may be necessary to look at companies which offer 1 terabye (TB) or more of storage with their paid plans. This is usually not a concern, as most major services have this type of storage capacity on offer.

For how many users do I plan to get the service?

This question is mainly for those who are looking to get cloud storage for their company, and depending on the number of users, may be able to get better pricing with some vendors.

For what will I, primarily, be using the storage service?

In cases of personal use, people mostly store photos, and some documents, but that is, of course, not a rule, so you, and only, you can figure out what type of use you are looking to get out of the service. For example, if 90% of your files are comprised of photos, but you do have some other types of documents which require cloud storage, then a service like Flickr is out of the question.

What level of security is required?

Are you looking to store sensitive documents, or are simply paranoid, then it may be necessary to consider a zero-knowledge cloud storage service.

What is your budget?

Even though most of the cloud storage providers offers similar pricing, there is some variety that you will come across, so if you have budgetary constraints, figure out your limits.

Aside from cloud storage, will you be looking to utilize other cloud solutions as well?

It is important to think in the long-term, as you may be able to minimize costs by subscribing to a service which bundles a few services together. For example, if Dropbox is your cloud storage of choice, but you also will need to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, then you may be wasting money on your Dropbox subscription since Office 365 also offers 1TB of cloud storage with their office suite subscription.

What does their service level agreement (SLA) cover?

It is important to know what the provider's uptime guarantee is, or what their policy is on lost or deleted files. Figure out what is important to you and see if the SLA addresses your concerns.