A new survey by technical support website FixYa indicates that users of the top five cloud storage services are most concerned about capacity, security and missing files.
FixYa asked users of its service about the top five issues cloud storage customers have with Dropbox, Google Drive, Sugar Sync, iCloud and Box. Several thousand responses came back, although a spokesperson did not have the exact amount.
"Cloud-based file storage is becoming the expected method for file sharing these days, both on personal devices and in the workplace," said FixYa CEO Yaniv Bensadon. "We hope the FixYa Cloud Storage Report shines a light on these differences so consumers can make an educated decision on which will be best suited for their needs."
FixYa uses a volunteer staff to help with technical support information on its website. The information is designed to help consumers repair and troubleshoot product problems by themselves.
The survey uncovered some problems common to most of the cloud storage services, such as synchronization issues. Where it was able to, FixYa also offered its top recommended fixes for the problems.
Dropbox is one of the most popular consumer storage services. It recently claimed that it has 100 million users. Each day, one billion files are saved to the site, Dropbox officials said.
Dropbox supports just about every operating system, from Windows, OS X and Linux on desktops to Blackberry, Android and iOS on mobile devices.
Those surveyed about Dropbox chose "security concerns" (40%) as their top issue. Storage capacity limits were cited second (25%); file synchronization limitations, third (15%); slow responses, fourth, (10%) and "other" (5%).
As of June, about 7% of personal data was stored in the cloud, but that number is expected to climb to 36% by 2016, according to market research firm Gartner.
DropBox has dealt with multiple security issues in the past, including a hack this summer that resulted in spam emails being sent to a portion of its user base.
"Further problems with privacy settings, as well as a situation in 2011 where accounts could be accessed without a password, have added to the small but not insignificant security concerns around the company and its product," FixYa said in its comments on the survey results.
FixYa users who rely on Dropbox for personal content, such as photos, music or entertainment, aren't discouraged by the security issues, FixYa noted.
"However, personal users utilizing Dropbox to store personal financial information or similar items that would pose a security risk should steer clear," FixYa said. "The same goes for mid-sized businesses looking for an easy way to share bank statements or proprietary business information."
When it came to Google Drive, missing folders topped the list of user complaints (30%). Problems with synchronizing files was noted by 20% of respondents.
Another 20% indicated they were unhappy with the automatic conversion from simply using Google Drive to having to adopt Google Docs, while 20% didn't like unknown errors that occurred while they were using the service. The remaining 10% cited "other" issues.
Google Drive was Google's next step in developing its Google Docs office suite and data storage service.
"Although security concerns are not as prominent amongst FixYa users compared to other cloud devices, Drive still experiences some general usability issues that need to be addressed," FixYa said. "For the most part, however, these issues can be solved quickly."
The lack of Quickbooks support topped the concerns users had with SugarSync (30%). Quickbooks is a business accounting software for businesses. Because SugarSync doesn't support Quickbooks, it is a tough sell for financial users, FixYa said.
Another 30% of respondents complained about SugarSync's storage space, or more specifically, storage space pricing. SugarSync does have a 30-day free trial available, as well as a 5GB free plan "buried at the bottom of their sign-up page." But overall, "pricing is higher than other cloud services (iCloud notwithstanding)," FixYa said.
After that, 15% said they experiences file syncing issues, another 15% chose iTune file problems as a concern and the remaining 15% chose "other."
"iTunes files are notoriously dodgy as SugarSync encounters issues with sharing between different devices," FixYa said.
Apple's iCloud storage service took a hit after users updated to OS X Mountain Lion, according to 35% of those surveyed by FixYa.
"Unfortunately, users are experiencing issues with the iCloud on the new OS X Mountain Lion when they try to do a multitude of things," FixYa said. "Whether it be signing up for the service, syncing the "Notes" application between devices, or backing up les and other applications, iCloud on the new Mountain Lion is not perfect by any means."
FixYa recommended that users experiencing problems with syncing Notes try Evernote instead. Evernote, it said, is a note-taking application that does everything Apple¼s "Notes" app does, "but better."
Additionally, the inability to sync files with non-Apple devices in iCloud was noted by 25% of those surveyed, along with 15% who simply complained about syncing between devices in general. Another 15% expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of storage space and 10% chose "other."
Box, a cloud storage service that is most popular with small businesses because of its native security capabilities and management features, was hammered on the issue of security and uploading problems. Twenty-five percent of survey respondents chose "security concerns"; another 25% chose "upload issues."
"While security issues do not appear to be a problem for large-scale business accounts, FixYa users have reported concerns with security for their free personal accounts," FixYa stated.
While FixYa can't do anything about the security concerns with Box, it did recommend that users having trouble uploading files should restart their computers and clear the browser cache before trying again.
Box differs from most other competitors in file sharing. While rivals offer basic functionality such as file edit and sync with other devices, Box is natively a more collaborative platform, something Google Drive is working toward.
"What this means [for Box] is that people can add comments about the file that are accessible by anyone with permissions, implement and view tasks set by other users that relate to the file, and invite other users quickly and efficiently," FixYa said.
Problems with backup files were reported by 20% of respondents, as was "laggy response." Ten percent chose "other."