Best Encrypted Cloud Storage for 2021: Free & Secure End-to-End Encryption

Features and storage space only go so far. For storing the most sensitive data, you need the best cloud storage for encryption, and in this guide, we count down our top five picks.

Aleksandar KochovskiJacob Roach
By Aleksandar Kochovski (Editor) & Jacob Roach (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-04-24T02:41:26+00:00

In an age where not even large corporations and governments are immune from data breaches, security is an ever-growing concern, even for the average user. If you’re a cloud storage user, your sensitive data could be at risk from cyberattacks, so choosing the best encrypted cloud storage is extremely important.

The first thing to look for when choosing a secure storage cloud is encryption. It’s what keeps your private files safe and stops bad actors from gaining access to your data. There are several cloud storage services that offer safe, zero-knowledge encryption, and we’ve created a list of the best encrypted cloud storage to help you make your choice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sync.com offers secure cloud storage and a generous amount of storage space, all for a low monthly price.
  • Egnyte doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption, but you can get past that with its Boxcryptor integration.
  • SpiderOak offers excellent security, but it’s more of an online backup platform than anything else. 

We’ve taken many things into consideration when compiling this list to make sure that not only are these services secure but also offer users all the features they need at a reasonable price. Only the cream of the crop were chosen when it comes to security and privacy, so you won’t find names with sketchy privacy — like Google Drive and Dropbox — on this list.

Sync.com is the clear winner, offering zero-knowledge encryption out of the box and some of the lowest prices for its cloud storage. pCloud has the best media playback on this list, but its zero-knowledge solution is a paid add-on, which costs it the top spot. There’s a lot more to find out about the cloud providers we’ve chosen, so take a closer look at our list below.

  • We rate Sync.com as the most secure cloud storage provider. It offers a zero-knowledge security model with end-to-end encryption, and compared to similar services, it’s cheaper.

  • Nearly all cloud storage services provide some level of encryption. That said, services like Sync.com, pCloud and Egnyte provide end-to-end encryption.

  • If you’re dealing with sensitive data, it might be a good idea to encrypt it before uploading. You can encrypt your data with a tool like Boxcryptor before sending it to your favorite cloud storage service.

  1. 1
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    5 GB - 10 TB
    $ 500
  2. 2
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    10-2000 GB
    $ 399
    Save 20 %
  3. 3
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    15 GB - 16 TB
    $ 589
  4. 4
    • Sync Folder
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    1000 GB - 10 TB
    $ 1000
  5. 5
    • Sync Folder: No
    • File Link Sharing
    • Folder Sharing
    • Versioning
    10 GB - 5 TB
    $ 164

What Makes the Best Encrypted Cloud Storage?

Simply put, the best encrypted cloud storage services offer the best encryption. That shows up in a zero-knowledge security model, where you and only you have access to your data. On top of host-proof hosting (meaning it’s impossible for the host to access your data), we made our picks based on the encryption algorithm used and the privacy practices of each service.

It’s hard to make any ranking in a vacuum, though. Security and privacy took priority, but we also considered pricing, ease of use, support and features. The five services below offer excellent encryption but are just solid storage platforms all around.

  1. Sync.com — Strong encryption and a great free plan
  2. pCloud — Awesome music player and cheap plans
  3. MEGA — Very large free plan
  4. Egnyte Connect — Excellent integrations and strong business plans
  5. Icedrive — Security that never gets in the way of usability

Sync.com leads our list on the back of its low price and top-notch security. It comes with an easy-to-use web interface, excellent security features and plenty of online storage, all for a low price. 

We have some other options depending on what you want to do, though. pCloud Crypto is great for securing highly sensitive data, while Egnyte expertly balances security features with productivity ones. Regardless of the service you pick, the five options below will keep your files in the cloud safe. 

1. Sync.com

sync-versioning
Sync.com manages usability and security, all while beating the competition on price.

More details about Sync.com:

  • Pricing: 5GB free, $8 per month for 2TB on the annual plan
  • Provider website: www.sync.com

Pros:

  • Free plan is zero-knowledge
  • Very good pricing
  • Strict server security

Cons:

  • No monthly payments
  • Slow speed
  • Ease of use could be better

Topping our list is Sync.com, a reliable cloud service that offers end-to-end encryption for all of its plans, both paid and free. Its encryption is zero-knowledge, just like all the other entries on this list, which means that only you have access to the encryption keys for your files. So, even if someone manages to access your files, they will still be safely encrypted.

Sync.com’s outstanding feature is its zero-knowledge security. Everything you upload to it is scrambled using 256-bit AES encryption, both while at rest and in transit. 

It also adds another layer of security by using the TLS protocol to keep your files safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Two-factor authentication further beefs up your security, so you can rest easy knowing your files are safe.

To add to its top-of-the-line encryption, Sync.com offers great sharing features and flexible file-syncing options. It also offers previews for Microsoft Office and PDF documents. However, its strict security doesn’t allow for integration with third-party apps, and there aren’t many options for collaboration.

Complete Data Privacy With Sync.com

Sync.com has some of the best privacy for a cloud storage provider. Its servers are in Canada, which means your files aren’t subject to invasive U.S. laws. This also means that it falls under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which requires that you give consent for your personal information being shared.

Its security and privacy fulfill strict HIPAA requirements, meaning that it is secure enough to store sensitive medical data. This sets it apart from the competition, and it’s especially apparent when comparing Sync.com to services with suspicious privacy, such as Dropbox.

Best offline storage Sync CTA
Sync.com offers 5GB for free, but the plans are cheap enough for anyone to upgrade.

Sync.com offers excellent prices across all of its paid plans. Its cheapest plan offers 200GB of storage space for just $5 per month, and there are plans that offer up to 4TB of storage for individuals and up to 10TB for businesses. 

Plus, its free plan comes with 5GB of storage and is just as secure. The only caveat is that all of its plans are yearly subscriptions, and there is no option to pay a monthly fee.

Free
  • Free
  • Storage: 5 GB
Pro Teams Standard
  • Price per user
  • Storage: 1000 GB
Pro Teams Plus
  • Price per user
  • Storage: 4000 GB
Pro Teams Advanced
  • Price per user
  • Storage: 10000 GB

Sync.com is generous. With 1TB of storage for business users and 2TB for personal ones on the cheapest paid plans, it’s one of the most inexpensive ways to store your data. Still, Sync.com provides a top-notch security model, making it an easy first pick for this roundup. 

2. pCloud

best cloud storage for teams pcloud business
pCloud provides the best of both worlds: zero-knowledge storage for your sensitive data and regular storage for everything else.

More details about pCloud:

  • Pricing: 10GB free, $8 per month for 2TB on the annual plan 
  • Provider website: www.pcloud.com

Pros:

  • Free plan is best in class
  • Servers in Switzerland
  • Excellent media playback

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge privacy is a paid feature
  • No third-party integration

pCloud is another cloud storage provider with excellent security and privacy. The number-two entry on our list comes with the best free cloud storage plan there is, and it’s no slouch in the features department, either.

However, zero-knowledge encryption is available only as a paid add-on called pCloud Crypto, which is why pCloud loses the top spot to Sync.com. All of the files that you put in your Crypto folder will be secured with 256-bit AES encryption and the TLS protocol, and only you will be able to decrypt them. Plus, two-factor authentication adds another layer of security.

Though pCloud doesn’t have as many features as Google Drive, it still has many useful ones. Its media player is a standout, beating all of the competition in our best cloud storage for music standoff. pCloud is also great for sharing files, and its syncing capabilities are top-tier, too.

Keep Your Data in Privacy-Friendly Switzerland With pCloud

pCloud is based in Switzerland, which has some of the best privacy laws in the world and falls under the General Data Protection Regulation act. It has servers both in Switzerland and the U.S., and users have the option to choose where to store their files. pCloud may surrender your information to law enforcement, though, but your files will remain encrypted.

Best offline storage pCloud CTA
pCloud is cheap enough, but you can get 10GB of storage for free.

Its biggest draw is its pricing. pCloud offers some of the greatest deals for its paid cloud storage, but its crown jewel is its spacious free plan, which comes with 10GB of free encrypted cloud storage

pCloud splits the difference in a way few cloud storage services do. You can store your most sensitive data in Crypto and manage your own encryption keys, all while maintaining a traditional cloud storage experience for your other files and folders. 

3. MEGA

04_mega_review_features_storage_manager
MEGA offers much more storage space than the competition, and it’s highly secure.

More details about MEGA:

  • Pricing: 15GB free, $23.61 per month for 8TB
  • Provider website: www.mega.nz

Pros:

  • Tons of free storage
  • Secure file sharing
  • Servers in EU countries

Cons:

  • Poor customer support
  • Slow speeds
  • Not good for collaboration

MEGA.nz is a secure cloud storage provider that makes it super easy to share files, and it offers a large amount of free storage, too. However, its reputation is somewhat tarnished by its connection to founder and former director Kim Dotcom. We explain all of the controversy surrounding MEGA in our MEGA.nz review

While MEGA is a zero-knowledge cloud service that uses the TLS protocol and AES encryption, it’s only at 128 bits. Though this is technically less safe than 256-bit encryption, it’s still virtually uncrackable. 

Users have their own encryption key that only they can access, and you can encrypt both files and sharing links, so the whole service is very secure. Plus, there is two-factor authentication to keep your login data safe.

Store Your Files Globally With MEGA

MEGA has a bit of a sordid history regarding its privacy, and it was criticized by its founder for selling a majority of its shares to Chinese businessmen. However, we didn’t find any faults in its privacy and data collection policies. Plus, your data is kept on servers in New Zealand, Canada and several European Union countries, which means MEGA has to comply with the GDPR act.

mega cta
You can get 50GB of storage for free with MEGA, but that drops to 15GB after your first month.

MEGA’s free plan offers 50GB of cloud storage for the first month, but after that period, it’s downgraded to 15GB. Its pricing is decent, though its plans aren’t as cheap as pCloud’s. The cheapest plan gets you 400GB of cloud storage for $5.39 per month, but there are larger plans, too, going all the way up to 16TB of storage.

Free
  • Storage: 15 GB
Pro Lite
  • Storage: 400 GB
Pro I
  • Storage: 2000 GB
Pro II
  • Storage: 8000 GB
Pro III
  • Storage: 16000 GB

MEGA offers plenty of free storage for your files and folders, but it stands out thanks to an excellent security model. That includes the option to manage your own encryption key, as well as two-factor authentication. Despite some shake-ups in ownership, MEGA remains among the best cloud storage to keep your files safe.

4. Egnyte Connect

best cloud storage for teams
Egnyte Connect is built for businesses with a long list of integrations and top-notch security.

More details about Egnyte Connect:

  • Pricing: $10 per user per month for 1TB
  • Provider website: www.egnyte.com

Pros:

  • Great for collaboration
  • Very secure servers
  • Business-oriented features

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption is a paid feature
  • Have to pay for premium support

Egnyte Connect is one of the top secure cloud storage providers on the market, though it’s a little different from the other entries on the list because it’s an enterprise file-syncing and sharing provider. It offers excellent productivity features, and it’s great for collaboration, which makes it a perfect choice for small businesses.

Needless to say, Egnyte’s security is top-notch. It encrypts your files using the standard 256-bit AES encryption, and the TLS protocol keeps your files safe in transit. The security of its data centers is admirable, and it has plenty of certifications to prove it. Egnyte also lets you keep your data on personal servers if you need more control over the safety of your servers.

Stay Productive With Egnyte Connect 

Egnyte is a productivity powerhouse — even coming close to giants like Dropbox and Google Drive on our best cloud storage for collaboration list. It has great native task management tools, comes with Trello integration and integrates with plenty of third-party apps, such as Google Workspace and Microsoft Office Online.

It offers more granular control over employee devices, too. You manage their devices and set passwords for them. Plus, if your employee loses a device, you can do a remote wipe of the device’s data so that no one can gain access to your business’ sensitive data.

Egnyte-homepage-2020
Egnyte is built for collaboration, and you can see it in action by requesting a demo.

One thing to note is that Egnyte’s zero-knowledge solution only comes included with the Enterprise plan, and its price depends on the number of users. That said, its other plans are inexpensive, but they have limits for both a maximum and a minimum number of users. However, Egnyte’s Team plan can be used by individuals, and it offers 1TB of storage for $10 a month.

Team
  • 1 to 10 users, price per user; 1TB of online storage. Read on for more
  • Storage: 5000 GB
Business
  • 10 - 100 users, price per user; 1TB + 10GB per employee. Read on for more
  • Storage: 10000 GB
Enterprise
  • 50+ users, 50GB per employee. Read on for more
  • Storage: 1000 GB

Egnyte matches other cloud storage providers with 256-bit encryption, but it goes further with a list of useful integrations. It’s among the best cloud storage for business and a great option for personal use. You can read our Egnyte review to learn more or sign up for a free 15-day trial.

5. Icedrive

04_icedrive_review_browser_list
Combining security and usability for a low price, it’s hard to go wrong with Icedrive.

More details about Icedrive:

Pros:

  • Lifetime plans available
  • Excellent encryption
  • Limited file previews

Cons:

  • Few third-party integrations

Encryption is one of Icedrive’s biggest features. You don’t really need to look further than its website to see that, with a dedicated “encryption” section adorning the top menu. Unlike many cloud storage services, Icedrive doesn’t use AES-256 encryption. Instead, it uses the similar, less widely adopted Twofish encryption algorithm. 

Twofish is almost identical to AES in terms of security, as it’s invulnerable to brute-force attacks. Icedrive encrypts your data client side, providing end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption for your data. Your data never leaves your computer without being encrypted first, and Icedrive doesn’t have the keys to decrypt your files.

Secure and Productive With Icedrive

Heavily encrypted services don’t usually focus on usability, but Icedrive is different. Across desktop and mobile, Icedrive provides easy- to-use and intuitive apps, fit with support for file previews. Icedrive manages a zero-knowledge security system while still offering file previews for encrypted data, which alone is a feat.

icedrive home page
Icedrive is cheap, and you can get 10GB of storage for free. 

Icedrive is cheap, too. A free plan is available that offers 10GB of storage with a 3GB bandwidth limit. Above that, we recommend the Pro plan for most users. It’s reasonable at around $5 per month, but the lifetime version — for around $150 — is a steal.

If nothing else, Icedrive proves you can have security and usability. It’s accessible like any good cloud storage platform should be while still managing a zero-knowledge security model. You can read more in our Icedrive review or sign up risk-free with a 14-day money-back guarantee. 

Best Encrypted Cloud Storage: Honorable Mention

The five services above do the trick for encryption, but there’s one more service we want to highlight.

SpiderOak

Spideroak-Dashboard-Tab
SpiderOak is technically an online backup service, but it offers syncing and sharing.

SpiderOak offers secure collaboration and communication tools, including an online backup service called SpiderOak One. Although firmly an online backup service, SpiderOak offers file-sharing and syncing tools, so it can play the role of traditional online storage.

You can read the full details in our SpiderOak One review, but know that the service excels with zero-knowledge encryption and a slew of security features. It doesn’t even store your password, encrypted or not, falling in-line with the best password managers.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the top secure cloud storage providers is no easy task, but the five options above all do the trick. Sync.com stands out from other cloud storage solutions by combining a low price with a zero-knowledge security model, but pCloud, MEGA, Egnyte and Icedrive are all excellent alternatives.

There’s also SpiderOak, which gives you sharing and syncing capabilities while functioning largely as an online backup platform. Outside of Egnyte, all of the services above offer zero-knowledge encryption by default, so it’s hard to make a wrong choice.

So, which service are you choosing? Is security most important to you? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.