We all have memories of external hard drives that took up half of our desk space and didn’t allow you to stock more than a couple of month’s worth of files. Things have thankfully evolved since then, with large amounts of local storage available at increasingly low prices – and remote server-based storage and processing becoming the new norm. Let’s talk about the best cloud storage providers for business.
Advantages from a productivity point of view, reduced local storage, facilitated team work and access from anywhere are just some of the advantages of cloud storage. Let’s take a look at why you should move your business to cloud storage and what are the best options available today.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage has nothing to do with the weather – it involves storing data on remote servers that you can access via the Internet. Cloud storage is maintained, and operated by a cloud storage providers on a storage server.
The best cloud storage providers offer services that interact seamlessly with your other apps and services you may use as part of your workflow. In business settings, it’s important to be able to retrieve and access files via the tools you use on a day-to-day basis. Your cloud files can be accessed through an app or software installed on your computer.
5 Benefits Of Using Cloud Storage Providers
There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to use cloud storage for your business. These include:
Mobility: one of the main advantages of cloud storages is enabling you and your team to access your files from wherever you may be.
Collaboration: cloud storage enables office-based and remote workers to collaborate seamlessly on the same projects.
Recovery: cloud storage can form part of businesses data back-up plans and enable you to recover deleted files.
Cost Savings: cloud storage involves little to no investment in hardware and saves on energy costs.
Security: as long as sufficient security measures are taken, cloud storage can be safer than local storage.
The 10 Best Cloud Storage Service Providers
If your business isn’t yet using a cloud storage provider, then it’s something you should definitely consider. There are several factors to take into account: the amount of data you have to store, whether you need to collaborate with other team members (and if so, your requirements in terms of permissions and access levels), and the devices you will be using to access your files. While cloud storage services are usually compatible with all the major operating systems, there are some that are more adapted to PC than Mac, and vice-versa.
With no further ado, let’s take a look at our list of cloud storage providers.
1. Google Drive
Ideal for team work and collaboration. Google Drive is one of the most-used cloud storage providers out there and is well-known for its free storage capacity (up to 15 GB, making it the largest free cloud storage), that enables you to store, edit and share various kinds of data, including text documents, photos, audio, video etc. Google Drive apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Ideal for: day-to-day use. The concept behind Dropbox is a workspace that enables you to keep all your files in one place that is accessible anytime and any place. Features include file sharing, document creation through Dropbox, admin controls for team management tasks and secure access to data. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows. And offers plans for both individuals and teams.
3. Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive is best adapted for Windows users but enables users to access files from just about any device. It provides free storage of up to 5GB. Its main advantages include offline access, SSL encryption, and easy file sharing. The only disadvantage is that free storage is not very generous compared to Google Drive. OneDrive is available for Windows, Android and iOS.
pCloud enables you to upload large files, sync them across your devices and use TLS/SSL encryption in order to ensure maximum security for your sensitive data. Files can be accessed via your browser or the desktop and mobile apps. One big advantage of pCloud is that it enables you to back up photos from your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android and offers a generous amount of free storage (10GB).
Box is one of the best solutions out there for enterprises. Even though it is a bit more expensive than the other options on our list. It is mainly aimed at teams and offers a convenient platform upon which to store, share and edit files. The Box Files desktop app enables you to edit your cloud files from your desktop and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365. If you’re working with large files, you can share them from your Box or through email. Box is compatible with just about any device and offers a variety of pricing plans. A free trial is offered for business plans. So you can find out if Box is right for your company before signing up.
IDrive is great for backing up files across a variety of different devices. This includes PC and Mac, iOS and Android. It even enables you to back up your entire drive, including its settings. Features of IDrive include backup of devices from a single account, real-time sync, 256-bit AES file encryption, 30-day recovery of deleted files and 5GB of free storage.
iCloud is a good option for private users rather than enterprises, but can be adapted for small companies. Apple devices come with iCloud pre-installed. But apps are available for Windows devices. iCloud is compatible with works with many Apple staples, including Mail, Reminders, Calendar, Contact, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and Notes.
Tresorit is a great option for those who attach particular importance to the security of your data. This cloud storage provider offers end-to-end encryption for your data. And enables you to access your encrypted files from just about any device. Advanced user management features enable you to invite your team members to collaborate and manage access and permissions.
It is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. The only major inconvenience of this cloud storage provider is that it doesn’t offer any free storage options. Tresorit offers two pricing plans for individuals and three plans for teams.
OpenDrive is great for those who have huge amounts of files to upload, as it doesn’t set any upper limit. This cloud storage provider offers features such as cloud-based business tools such as task management, content management, notes, workflows and branding. While OpenDrive only offers a desktop app for Windows, it’s possible to sync files from Windows, Mac, and Linux. While OpenDrive is a good option for businesses due to the huge amounts of data you can upload, it’s also good cloud storage for personal use with features such as online file sharing and hotlinking. There are a variety of pricing plans for individuals and businesses alike.
10. Amazon S3
Amazon S3 stands for Amazon Simple Storage Service. It is probably one of the best cloud storage providers for businesses out there – it’s definitely the most popular cloud storage provider, with 33% of the market in 2018.
The advantages of Amazon S3 include high configurability. It is conceived to integrate with other solutions to provide the front end experience. As well as great security, reliability, and a flexible and easy-to-use web user interface.
There are some disadvantages to Amazon S3: the pricing structure is complex and makes it hard to give an accurate entry-level price – packages start at $0.023 per GB and scale downwards according to the amount of data you store. In addition, there are no native products for desktop functionality. Hence, you will have to rely on third-party services.
But all in all, Amazon S3 sets the standard when it comes to business cloud storage.
Choosing A Cloud Storage Provider
Making a choice among the many cloud storage services available on the market can feel like a daunting task. Especially when you take a look at all the different factors to take into consideration. Also, usability is a major criterion. As is the security of your data and the ability to modulate and scale your platform to fit your needs.
Ultimately, before picking a cloud storage company, you should sit down and think long and hard about your specific needs and requirements. This should be a joint decision-making process in which you should involve your management, IT team, and the cloud storage provider itself in order to ensure everyone’s needs are being met. Once you’ve gone through this process, you can choose the best cloud service for your business and get started with the migration process.