5 Unique Cloud Storage Sites
Cloud computing is the use of a decentralized network of computers to provide hardware and software resources via the Internet. A "cloud" that is utilized for storage purposes is known as storage-as-a-service (STaaS), or cloud storage.†
At the top of the list, and for good reason, Symform stands out from the crowd because of the revolutionary way in which it operates. Heavily demonstrating the strength and values of the peer-to-peer philosophy, this provider utilizes a decentralized storage system where uploaded content is not stored on the company's servers, but is instead stored on the personal computers of other users. Because of the way in which a file is distributed, no file can be viewed by any individual other than the uploader. Additionally, upon registration, each individual is given 10 GB of free storage space and can, in theory, increase his or her storage limit to infinity simply by contributing their own hard drive space to the collective.
MEGA is the offshoot of MegaUpload.com which has risen in popularity as a result of the highly publicized -- and failed -- prosecution of Kim Dotcom. While MEGA offers an incredible 50 GB of free storage space upon registration, this is not what sets it apart. Widely known for its emphasis on data security and user privacy, MEGA sits near the top of this list for two reasons: 1) it allows individuals to upload content without registering with the website and 2) while most providers encrypt stored files, MEGA gives the decryption key to the uploader ensuring no individual or organization other than the uploader and whomever the uploader chooses can access the uploaded content.
Mediafire's strength comes from its simplicity and reliability, coupled with its hefty 50 GB of free storage upon registration. While this is far more than enough for most people's needs, additional storage space is available for paid accounts.
While not nearly as impressive as other providers on this list, RapidShare just barely makes the cut by offering an unlimited amount of storage space for free upon registration. Unfortunately, all content uploaded by free accounts is deleted after 90 days, making a free account with Rapidshare useless for long-term storage.
Though this provider offers a barely-usable 10 MB of storage with a 14-day free trial, a 2-year contract at 4.95 a month offers unlimited, permanent storage and a variety of other great features.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Wendt is a freelance writer and wedding photographer living in Austin, Texas. While most of his clients live in different cities throughout the US, Wendt decided he needed to be storing his files on a cloud storage site. After speaking with a cloud management consultant, Wendt was able to find the right cloud storage site to hold the photos from each of his events, and easily share them with his clients.