Cloud storage serves several purposes. Cloud storage can save your business from disasters and more small and medium businesses depend heavily on data. That data might be stored on various servers or computers with sensitive information about clients and more. Today, everyone seems to be offering cheap or free cloud storage.
That's great! Except, well, how do you choose which one is right for you? It used to be that most people decided simply on the basis of how much free storage you got. That had the advantage of being simple, but it only tells part of the story.
Why Choose the Best Cloud storage for Small Business?
Cloud computing has been credited with increasing competitiveness through cost reduction, greater flexibility, elasticity and optimal resource utilization. Here are a few situations where cloud computing is used to enhance the ability to achieve business goals.
- Clients would be able to access their applications and data from anywhere at any time. They could access the cloud computing system using any computer linked to the Internet. Data wouldn't be confined to a hard drive on one user's computer or even a corporation's internal network.
- It could bring hardware costs down. Cloud computing systems would reduce the need for advanced hardware on the client side. You wouldn't need to buy the fastest computerwith the most memory, because the cloud system would take care of those needs for you. Instead, you could buy an inexpensive computer terminal. The terminal could include a monitor, input devices like a keyboard and mouse and just enough processing power to run the middleware necessary to connect to the cloud system. You wouldn't need a large hard drive because you'd store all your information on a remote computer.
- Corporations might save money on IT support. Streamlined hardware would, in theory, have fewer problems than a network of heterogeneous machines and operating systems.
- If the cloud computing system's back end is a grid computing system, then the client could take advantage of the entire network's processing power. Often, scientists and researchers work with calculations so complex that it would take years for individual computers to complete them. On a grid computing system, the client could send the calculation to the cloud for processing. The cloud system would tap into the processing power of all available computers on the back end, significantly speeding up the calculation.
The growing market of cloud hosting includes big names.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
Amazon’s S3 offers a wide range of cloud services. Plans include Pay as you go, Pay less when you reserve, Pay even less per unit by using more, Pay even less as AWS grows, and Custom pricing. “Pay as you go” allows one to pay only for the resources actually used, without any long term commitments or upfront costs. The “Pay less when you reserve” plan allows one to invest in reserved capacity, and later get discounts and savings. “Pay even less per unit by using more” allows one to get benefits of reduced costs with increased storage space and data transfer. “Pay even less as AWS grows” plan allows one to receive benefits when AWS optimizations result in reduced operational costs. Custom pricing, as you might expect, is for clients needing customized solutions.
Amazon S3 is easy to use with a web-based management console and mobile app and full REST APIs and SDKs for easy integration with third party technologies.AWS claims its unique selling proposition (USP) in computation and dedicated application services, including website hosting, mobile data backup, business apps hosting and gaming. Pricing details vary widely across multiple product offerings, and one can start with AWS free tier to get a firsthand experience of services and expected costs. Amazon S3 supports data transfer over SSL and automatic encryption of your data once it is uploaded. You can also configure bucket policies to manage object permissions and control access to your data using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM).
Box is an enterprise-ready storage and collaboration service that comes loaded with robust security and management features that are complemented by solid support for a variety of third-party enterprise cloud applications.Box for business offers features such as secure file sharing, enterprise-level security, file sync, cross platforms, IT and admin controls, reporting and dedicated technical support. Their personal plan is free, offering 10GB of storage, and the personal pro plan costs $11.5 per month for 100 GB storage. Business plans include a starter plan costing $6 per user per month with 100GB of storage; for $17 per user per month, and with at least three users, businesses can get unlimited storage. Clients can request customization under the enterprise plan. Features, such as Microsoft Office 365, active directory, and maximum allowed file size, vary across business plans and users can choose what best meets their needs.
- Robust security and management powers, decent selection of storage options, good third-party cloud application support
- User interface is slightly less intuitive than many consumer services
Dropbox is among the simplest and most elegant cloud storage and file-syncing services. It gives you access to your files from nearly anywhere. You can install Dropbox on virtually any computer or mobile device you own, and dozens of other apps support integration with Dropbox, too. For personal use, Dropbox works simply and effortlessly. Dropbox claims to serve more than 100,000 businesses through their Dropbox for business cloud-hosting solutions. Hyatt, Yahoo!, Macquarie Bank and National Geographic Channel are a few of the well-known brands in Dropbox’s esteemed clients list. Beyond the cross-platform sharing, storage, sync, backup and seamless integration features, Dropbox allows file sharing even with users who don’t have a Dropbox account. The basic plan for individuals is free, offers 2GB of storage and comes with Microsoft 365 integration, allowing one to edit files directly through Dropbox. The Pro plan for individuals offers 1TB of free storage. It now also supports real-time collaboration for Office Online users, so you and your colleagues can access and edit the same Dropbox file at the same time while seeing one another's changes appear on the screen as they happen. The Business plan offers unlimited storage, with a standard charge of $15 per user per month for at least five users. It also offers full audit records of user activities, sharing, and controls. Business users get priority dedicated support.
- The mobile app lets you automatically back up all of your photos and videos to the cloud remotely.
- Dropbox doesn't support the creation of private encryption keys.
Founded in year 2010 by a company namedJust Develop It. Justcloud service has become one of the rapidly expanding provider in cloud storage world. The company provides a lot of great features along side with large cloud storage capacity. You will find it easy to use even if you are not one of the computer geek. JustCloud offers more than 50 features, including an admin control panel, network drives, access and permission management, geo-redundant storage, file versioning, and hourly backup. The business plan costs $35.94 per month and includes 100GB of storage for five computers, while the enterprise plan costs $71.94 per month and includes 500GB of storage space for 20 computers. You can also get a custom plan if you've got greater backup requirements. Justcloud offers exclusive features with budgeted price. Many individuals are opted for this product because it is simply worth the money. Their plan is very straight forward, all you need to do is decide on the cloud storage capacity you needed
The tech giant Microsoft offers its cloud hosting services through OneDrive. Individual users can optfor 15 GB storage for free, while higher capacities such as 100GB, 200GB, and 1TB cost $1.99, $3.99, and $6.99 per month, respectively. The business plans start at 1TB per user for $5 per month, and come with a free trial. Beyond the storage, cross-platform syncing and powerful searching are the key features of OneDrive. It has its own downloadable software to keep remote and local data in sync, and also supports many third-party apps to seamlessly work with cloud data. It also offers hybrid options that integrate your on-premises solutions with the cloud services offered by Microsoft.
- Clear interface. Clients for Mac, iOS, and Android, as well as Windows and Windows Phone. Can fetch any file from a PC. Excellent photo presentation with slideshows and tagging.
- Not a share target for Windows 10 apps. Storage offerings shrinking.
In late 2015, Microsoft made an announcement that it would no longer offer unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 subscribers. Instead, they are limited to 1TB. Additionally, beginning in early 2016, the 100GB and 200GB paid storage plans will be discontinued, replaced with a 50GB for $1.99 per month plan.
You will no longer get extra space if you allow the OneDrive apps to automatically backup photos on your phone. Finally, anyone with a Microsoft account will only get 5GB of free storage, instead of 15GB. We will update this guide in 2016 when those changes are made. OpenDriveoffers a vast suite of features under its business plan, including data management, project and workflow management, and user management. Data management offers the standard data storage, sync and backup features, while project management offers online Office suite which supports more than 17 different file types for direct editing.
Powerful desktop software and apps which work across Windows, Mac and Android platforms are available. OpenDrive has a basic plan with 5GB of free storage with limits on file size and speed of access. The professional plans start from $12.95 per month, offering unlimited storage, unlimited file size, and unlimited access speed for one user. The personal unlimited plan allows up to three user accounts (each user costing extra), while the business unlimited plan allows unlimited user accounts (at extra cost). Custom pricing for specific needs is available.
- W0rks seamlessly with Windows devices because it's build in to the Windows operating system
- It's easy to open and edit files from OneDrive in Microsoft's other applications, such as Word or Excel.
- Signing up for OneDrive gets you a Microsoft account, which gives you access to Outlook, Xbox Live, and other Microsoft services.
- OneDrive's automatic file organization doesn't always put files in the correct folders.
Google combines a complete set of office tools with cloud storage in Drive. You get a little bit of everything with this service, including a word processor, spreadsheet application, and presentation builder, plus 15GB of free storage space.
If you already have a Google account, you can already access Google Drive. You just have to head to drive.google.com and enable the service. You get 15GB of cloud storage for small business for anything you upload to Drive, including photos, videos, documents, Photoshop files and more. However, you have to share that 15GB with your Gmail account, photos you upload to Google+, and any documents you create in Google Drive.
While you can access any of your files from the Drive Web site, you can also download the Drive desktop app for Mac and PC to manage your files from your computer. You can organize all of your files in the desktop app, and they'll sync with the cloud so you can get to them anywhere.
Drive is built into Google's Web-based operating system Chromium, so if you have a Chromebook, Google Drive is your best cloud storage option. Like other cloud storage services, Drive has apps for iOS and Android for viewing and managing your files from your phone.
Google Drive has the benefit of a built-in office suite, where you can edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, even if you created the document in another program. The service also a large collection of extras, such as third-party apps that can send faxes or sign documents.
Google also recently introduced Google Photos, an online photo locker, where you can organize photos into albums. Google Photos is built into Drive in a separate tab, but you're really better off going straight to googlephotos.com to see and organize photos. However, you don't need to download the Google Photos app on your phone or tablet to back pictures you take there. The Google Drive app can take care of that.
- Google Drive requires very little setup if you already have a Google account.
- If you use Gmail, it's easy to save attachments from your e-mail directly to Drive with just a few clicks.
- The app can automatically back up your photos on its own, without the need for the separate Google Photos app.
- If you use Google Drive's tools to create documents, spreadsheets or presentations, you must export those files to edit them in another program.
- You have to share your storage space with Gmail, so if you're inbox is overflowing, you'll get less cloud storage space
SpiderOak ONE's interface is informative, and it's for those who like deep control over what exactly is included in a backup. Other aspects of the service make it a better fit for experts than novices, too. Its detailed dashboard is one example, showing you not only the state of your backups and activity, but also the health of your network, letting you blame your ISP or router for sluggish performance when warranted. SpiderOakt outs their "zero knowledge" policy when it comes to your data. Computer analyst and whistle blower Edward Snowden has praised SpiderOak in the press. Full privacy, full control to the clients, no knowledge to the hosts, and flexible hosting plans are SpiderOak's selling points. Plans start at $7 per month for 30GB of data, and go up to 5TB. For advanced business needs such as active directory integration, SpiderOak offers Enterprise hosted and Enterprise on Premise plans, with costs starting at $5 per user per month, but require at least 100 and 500 users respectively. Each plan also charges a one-time setup fee of $299 and $599 respectively. For businesses holding sensitive data and needing advanced system configuration and services, SpiderOak is a good fit. You can read complete spideroak review to know more about this service.
- Strong privacy features. Unlimited computers allowed in an account. File-syncing included. Great customization options for backups. Good for people who like a lot of control
- Sharing is overly complicated. Slow in our performance tests. Expensive. No single restore button. No search in Web interface.
Mega is a New Zealand-based company that was set up by the German-born entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in 2013, who now has no involvement with it. Mega puts its security credentials front and centre. Unlike some of its rivals, this service provides encryption in every part of the process. So anything you send to the cloud is encrypted locally, on-route, and on the destination server.
Mega itself doesn’t have any way of accessing your information, as you hold the encryption key. The upshot of all this is that anything you store on Mega is only able to be opened by you. To achieve this there are local clients for Windows, OS X, and Linux, plus there are also secure browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox. Apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and even Blackberry.
The standard free package affords a whopping 50GB of space. If this isn't enough you can have 500GB (99 Euros per year), 2TB (199 Euros per year), or 4TB (299 Euros per year) and increased bandwidth with each package so you can share files back and forth with friends.
Sharing is easy with other members of Mega, behaving in much the same way as Google Drive and Onedrive, by allowing you to send an invitation to a friend and set the level of actions they can complete (view, edit, etc.) You can also send links to non-Mega users, but this involves also privately sending them an encryption key so they can access the files.
Read Full Mega cloud review..
A few secure communications features are coming in 2016: video chat, voice calling, email and IM. These are encrypted end-to-end, making them more private than Skype or Google Hangouts.
Syncplicity is a good cloud host for businesses who hold sensitive data and want their administrators to be able to control and limit access. Stored data is accessible across devices on multiple platforms, the interface is clutter-free, and there are robust reporting features to monitor content usage. For administrators, it allows implementing policies and controls for accessing data. This cloud storage for business enables you to group users and apply different controls to those groups. It also facilitates restrictions based on the location of devices. The personal plan, which offers 10GB of storage, is free; the business plan offering 300GB of storage starts at $60 per user per year and requires at least 3 users; the department plan, with 1TB of storage, starts at $60 per user per year and requires at least 25 users. And the enterprise plan, offering unlimited cloud storage, starts at $150 per user per year and needs at least 25 users. All paid plans have 30-day free trial period.
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File size restrictions
10GB with website, none with Dropbox apps
250MB for free plan, 5GB for paid personal plan
Can I earn extra free storage
$2/month for 50GB**
$10/month for 1TB
$2/month 100GB, $10/month for 1TB
$10/month for 100GB
$12/year for unlimited photos, $60/year for unlimited files
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire
Ease of Use
Computers per Subscription
The companies on our business cloud storage rankings allow you to start small and grow to a possible unlimited amount of storage. That amount is crucial if you make the move to back up every file and corporate database. Amazon, OpenDrive and JustCloud are the top contenders in business cloud storage and deliver great service.
We found strengths and weaknesses with each service.Amazon S3 is another cloud storage service worthy of mention. It has one of the highest values in our comparison and the performance is very high. It's also one of the easiest to use. However, it lacks some key cloud access features, like device syncing and file sharing, though you can supplement the service with other Amazon apps to fill these gaps.,Amazon is a good choice for you. We also found unique features in Dropbox; this household-name cloud storage provider allows you to save multiple versions of your documents.This provider offers plans that range from basic to unlimited, so you do not need to worry about limits as your company and data needs grow.