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The Cloud Storage Showdown: Dropbox VS pCloud VS Google Drive

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Choosing the right cloud storage solution can help you optimize hardware costs, improve transfer speeds, and easily share files and folders within your organization. Fortunately, there are several cloud storage platforms out there that can help you share data in a secure and efficient way.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at three of the most popular cloud storage solutions – Dropbox, pCloud, and Google Drive. Before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at why cloud storage is important for you as a business and as an individual.

Why Cloud Storage Is Important?

Moving to the cloud enables businesses to save on server hardware. It brings…

  • Convenience
  • Enhanced security
  • Mobility
  • Scalability

… to your team, clients, and customers, which is important for growing businesses.

Cloud storage also allows individuals to easily share files with their family and friends in a secure way. In addition to this, photographers can securely store photos with large image sizes while still being able to access them anytime, anywhere. Similarly, students can use its file sync functionality to collaborate on projects with group members.

Dropbox vs pCloud vs Google Drive

Here, we’ll take a look at three of the most popular cloud storage solutions to see how they stack up against each other.

Over the past few years, Dropbox has acquired a significant portion of the cloud storage industry. It first introduced the sync folder giving users easy access to cloud storage. As of this writing, around 500 million users across the world use Dropbox.

However, there are signs that Dropbox’s growth rate has recently begun to plateau, raising questions around the sustainability of its customer satisfaction levels.

pCloud is a lesser-known player in the cloud storage market. The company focuses on security as its top priority. With more than 8 million users, it has already acquired some big-name clients like BMW and Coca Cola.

Considering pCloud is not as prominent as Dropbox and Google Drive, we’ll make sure to closely examine its features and capabilities.

Google Drive is the most widely used cloud storage platform with around a billion users worldwide. It helps individuals and teams collaborate on projects and features an extensive library of third-party add-ons.

Factor #1: File Sync

File sync enables you to automatically share your files across different devices using the cloud. For instance, if you create a text file in your desktop sync folder, that file will be distributed to all other devices signed into your cloud account.

File sync with Dropbox

Dropbox works by installing a sync folder to your device. Once you’ve installed the client, you’ll easily be able to add files to your Dropbox folder and have them be uploaded directly to the cloud.

Dropbox

It uses block-level file copying – a process in which only the modified part of a file is sent to the cloud instead of the whole file. This helps you save bandwidth and speeds up file uploads.

This cloud storage client will automatically sync all the recent versions of your files. The Dropbox Plus account gives you 30 days of versioning whereas you get 180 days with Dropbox Professional. However, be aware these features can cost up to $200 a year.

File sync with pCloud

pCloud comes with a number of sync features and uses Windows, Mac, and Linux clients to add a pCloud sync folder to your desktop. This sync folder contains all of the files you want to distribute across your devices and have access to at all times. All you have to do is add the files to the sync folder and they’ll automatically be uploaded to pCloud servers and shared with your synced devices.

The newest version of your files will replace the older versions. You’ll still be able to access the older versions using pCloud Rewind. This allows you to revert unencrypted files which are useful in case you accidentally delete files from the pCloud folder or need access to information from previous versions.

It’s also worth mentioning pCloud allows its users to upload any type of file, regardless of its size. The platform allows users to download/upload files with no speed limit as well, regardless of the user’s subscription plan.

File sync with Google Drive

Google Drive’s sync function creates a sync folder in your file system. When you add a file to this folder, it will be shared with the cloud and other devices signed into the associated Google account. You’ll be able to backup and sync folders between the cloud and your computer using Google Drive’s desktop client.

Factor #2: File Sharing

Dropbox, Google Drive, and pCloud come with built-in distribution options enabling you to easily share photos, videos, documents, and other files with friends and family or within your organization.

File sharing with Dropbox

Dropbox lets you share files and folders using the desktop client. Simply right-click on the folder you want to share and click the Share button. You’ll be given two different options to share your files: public link and send by email.

If you choose to share files by email, you can give special edit access to users. This will allow anyone with access to modify, delete, and view files within the sync folder. You’ll also be able to set passwords and expiration dates to file links by getting Dropbox Professional.

File sharing with pCloud

pCloud offers three different ways to share files:

  • Upload links
  • Invite to folder
  • Direct link

Direct link works from a web interface where you simply move your mouse over the files you’d like to share and click the share button. A sharing link is automatically generated that you can use to share the files with others.

File sharing

You can also invite other pCloud users to view your files. This enables you to easily collaborate with team members on projects. Additionally, you can choose to restrict file sharing options to only allow users to download (or upload files) to your cloud account.

File sharing with Google Drive

Google Drive exceeds other file sharing solutions when it comes to file sharing and storage. You can create all kinds of documents and quickly share them with your family, friends, or team members.

To share a file or folder link using Google Drive, simply generate a link, copy it, and paste it or share it with your friends via email. This will allow them to view, comment, or modify the file based on the access permissions you grant.

Factor #3: Security

Storing files in the cloud makes you vulnerable to cybercrime including attacks related to poor password choices and data breaches.

Security with Dropbox

Dropbox doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption during transit. When you choose to upload a file to Dropbox, it’s first encrypted on your desktop then sent to Dropbox servers where it’s decrypted and encrypted again. This is done to extract metadata from your files for indexing which enables you to access them faster.

Dropbox uses 128-bit AES and TLS/SSL encryption to encrypt files during transit. However, when the files reach the server, they are encrypted using more secure 256-bit AES encryption.

Data breach track record: Dropbox has suffered a breach in 2012, which lead to 68 million Dropbox users having their email and password data on sale in the darknet marketplace.

Security with pCloud

pCloud has a robust security setup that offers powerful data protection features. It uses TLS encryption to protect your files during transfers. As a result, your data stays safe during the uploading and downloading processes. TLS encryption prevents hackers from viewing your files via man-in-middle and other eavesdropping attacks.

pCloud utilizes top-notch 256-bit AES encryption to keep your files protected.

Crypto

Crypto is an optional encryption method (exclusive to pCloud) that you can use to protect your files. Files are first encrypted on your desktop, uploaded to pCloud servers, and later decrypted when you download those files. This privacy method applies zero-knowledge encryption, which means that even pCloud themselves aren’t able to view their users’ files.

Data breach track record: pCloud has yet to suffer a data breach and hold a clean track record.

Security with Google Drive

Google Drive utilizes AES 128-bit encryption to transfer your files while they are present on its servers. TLS protocol is used to protect the files during transit. You can also choose to enable two-factor authentication to further secure your files.

Data breach track record: Google has suffered a breach by the so-called “Gooligan” at 2016, exposing 1.3 million Android users’ Google accounts, including Google Drive.

Google was also recently found responsible for putting an unknown number of its enterprise customers at risk, by mistakenly storing their passwords on Google’s systems in plaintext.

Factor #4: Cost of Storage

Pricing may become a decisive factor when it comes to choosing a cloud storage platform. Here, we’ll compare the costs of using Dropbox, pCloud, and Google Drive to securely store your files.

Cost of storage with Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox offers a free storage plan for up to 2GB data. Here’s a quick breakdown of Dropbox’s pricing plans:

  • Dropbox Plus costs $9.99 per month
  • Dropbox Professional costs $16.50 per month
  • Dropbox Standard costs $12.50 per user per month
  • Dropbox Advanced costs $20 per user per month

Dropbox Professional offers advanced sharing features, 180-day file versioning, text and image search, and smart sync.

Cost of storage with pCloud

Storage

pCloud comes with free cloud storage for up to 10GB. Here’s what’s on offer with pCloud’s Lifetime Plan:

  • Premium costs a one-time payment of $175 for 500GB data
  • Premium Plus costs a one-time payment of $350 for 2TB data

While Premium and Premium Plus offer the same features, the only difference is based on how much storage space you get. So, although it isn’t a budget option, the lifetime plans give users serious value in the long run and aren’t something other companies in the cloud storage space offer.

pCloud also offers a lifetime plan for the entire family. You get 2TB data and Premium features for up to five people. The Family Lifetime Plan will cost you a one-time payment of $500.

Cost of storage with Google Drive

Plan upgrade

Google Drive offers 10GB of free storage space that can be expanded up to 15GB by completing a multi-step process after registration. Here’s a look at Google Drive’s pricing plans:

  • 15GB: Free
  • 100GB: $1.99 per month
  • 200GB: $2.99 per month
  • 2TB: $9.99 per month
  • 10TB: $99.99 per month
  • 20TB: $199.99 per month
  • 30TB: $299.99 per month

Conclusion

Cloud storage solutions can help you transfer files in a secure way, save on storage costs and hardware, and improve work productivity.

  • If all you care about is file sync capabilities and budget is not an issue, we’d recommend going for Dropbox. You’ll get block-level file copying and 30-day versioning on the Plus
  • However, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective plan along with state-of-the-art security, then pCloud is the right option for you. It uses TLS/SSL encryption with an option of upgrading even to zero-knowledge encryption, and their lifetime plans offer price points that are far more cost-effective for both businesses and individual users.
  • If you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget for premium cloud storage, Google Drive is a good starting point. However, it lacks most of the features and intuitive capabilities that are necessary if you wish to collaborate and keep your data safe and encrypted.

Considering all of the above, we believe the winner in this showdown has to be pCloud.

With client-side encryption and a clean track record of data breaches, pCloud clearly outdoes its competitors when dealing with security. In regards to pricing, pCloud for Family takes the cake by offering lifetime storage of 2 TB for a one-time fee of $500, for 5 users.

Which cloud storage solution do you use to transfer your files? Let us know by commenting below.

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