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By Barb Darrow
September 21, 2015

The battle for hearts, minds, and wallets of people who need to store their business and personal files continued Monday with Google claiming that Google Drive now sports 1 million paying customers. And by customers, Google means organizations.

The “paying” part of that sentence is a big deal, because many vendors in this arena offer free accounts and it’s hard to convert freeloaders to paid users. Google (GOOG) offers users 15GB of free storage spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google photos. Users pay $1.99 per month for 100 GB and tiered pricing goes up from there.

Microsoft (MSFT) OneDrive also offers 15GB of free storage.

Competitor Box (BOX) claims 50,000 paying users and on its website Dropbox says 100,000 companies use its paid Dropbox for Business service. [This just in: Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston just claimed 130,000 organizations pay for the business product and Dropbox has more than 8 million business customers overall. Houston was speaking at Techcrunch Disrupt.]

 

Google also said that Drive, and the rest of the Google Apps for Works products has earned the new ISO/IEC 27018:2014 privacy standard. Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox for Business already carry that designation.

Products which sport this new certification show that a third-party has validated their adherence to privacy practices important to high regulated companies or even those many others that are concerned that private data stay private.

The battle for cloud storage market share is critical. Vendors know that once a customers’ documents, photos, music, or what-have-you is put in any given cloud, inertia sets in. Moving all that stuff somewhere else tends to be slow and painful, and can be expensive when you factor in outbound bandwidth charges.

That tendency for data to stay put is equally if not more true in the aggregate for companies storing reams of information in a cloud. That’s why Amazon (AMZN) Web Services last week announced a new tiered option for its Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud storage.

This less-expensive option targets data that may be needed infrequently but more often that data sent to Amazon’s archival (and slower) Glacier storage service. The thought process here is customers will pay more for data they need often and less to store infrequently-needed data and still less for data that is essentially in cold storage and may never need to see the light of day again.

Google, by the way, announced Nearline, its response to Glacier archival storage in March.

Since storage is, in fact, so sticky watch for more round-robin cloud storage announcements from these players in coming months.

For an early look at Google’s cloud ambitions, check out the video.

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This story was updated at 2:01 p.m. EST with the latest Dropbox for Business numbers claimed by Drew Houston.

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