The Best Cloud Storage for Your Business

With more files and data being shared in an office setting, one of the more efficient ways to share, retrieve, and keep files is via cloud storage.  Owing to the sensitive and confidential nature of these files, it is quite crucial to get the best cloud storage for business.

Let’s give you a briefer on cloud storage and its different types.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a virtual hard drive, allowing you to save essential business files. You can access this storage on the internet by creating an account for cloud services. This account is either free or paid.

Often, another company manages these services.  It performs maintenance to keep your files secure. This company usually has its own data center, where it keeps your cloud storage. 

Types of Cloud Storage Solution

The best cloud storage for business increases efficiency and productivity. There are three types of cloud storage:

  • Public
  • Private
  • Hybrid

Public Cloud Storage

This storage is the most common type. Examples may include Google Drive, OneDrive, and Amazon Web Services.

You share the cloud storage with other businesses. Another company manages the service from software to hardware infrastructures.

Benefits include reliability, cost efficiency, scalability, minimal maintenance, and expert monitoring. The disadvantage is the possibility of a security breach. But, this breach might be insignificant to zero occurrences.

Private Cloud Storage

A private cloud involves a dedicated data center for your business’ exclusive use. The storage is either within the premises of your business or outside managed by a third party.

Benefits include tight security features, scalability, and efficiency. Most of the time, you can customize admin roles. The disadvantage is the cost of setting-up and maintenance.

Hybrid

It is the combination of private and public cloud storage. You can use the public cloud for generic business tasks and private cloud for sensitive data.

This cloud allows you to have greater control over customization and maintenance costs. However, it might not be practical to maintain a hybrid cloud storage solution. A public one is enough.  

So, which solution should your business choose? To decide, below is a detailed discussion of the different features of cloud storage. After this discussion, we gather the six best cloud storage solutions for business.

Features to Look for

Storage and Scalability

Often, a cloud storage provider offers a minimum of 1GB or as high as 1TB to unlimited storage. The amount of storage depends on many factors. These factors include:

  • the size of your business
  • the number of users
  • the volume of data generated every month
  • the frequency of backup

Thus, choose a service that grows with your business and allows you to upgrade hassle-free. Remember, when the number of users and frequency of backup increases, your storage requirement also increases. 

If you aren’t sure how much storage your business needs, you can try the free storage or the trial version. Trial versions often last from 14 to 30 days, depending on the provider.

Price of the Service

The price of the service is directly related to the storage space. Often, the pricing models are quite straight forward. Higher storage means higher costs.

Some providers of these cloud services charge by the user per month, aside from the amount of storage. Other cloud services require minimum users per month to avail of unlimited storage.

Often, prices are pegged on a monthly or annual basis. A yearly subscription allows you to pay a lower price compared to a monthly payment.

Collaboration Tools and Syncing

Why some businesses avail of a cloud storage solution? Because they want a seamless syncing of files and folders

. This seamless syncing improves collaboration among employees.

This is important for businesses if you and your employees need to access data on-the-go. Thus, you’ll want a solution that reflects team workflow.

The security of shared data is also your top priority. Any leaked information may lead to a disaster for your team.

So, select a service that allows password protection on folder and sub-folder levels. Another important feature is the creation of authorized users within the network.

File Versioning

This feature is vital if you’re working with a team. It allows you to save older versions of a file so you and your team can edit a file to your heart’s content.

However, the versions kept aren’t unlimited. Some providers allow saving of versions on limited time. When you reach the limit, they delete old versions automatically.

But, you can still retrieve deleted files for a specific duration. When this time lapses, providers removed these deleted old versions from the server. So, check out this particular feature. These terms of file deletion vary from one provider to another.

Uptime

The availability of data is the sole purpose of a cloud storage solution. Thus, the uptime should be 98% most of the time.

What does this uptime rate mean to your business? It means you can access your files and folders at least 360 days of a year, and not lower than this number.

Why not 365 days? Because your provider still needs server maintenance to keep a healthy system. During maintenance, your cloud storage is down and won’t be accessible to you.

You can’t do anything about it. But, at least expect a professional and systematic notification you about the downtime. So, you can plan ahead of time.

Recovery and Backup 

The uptime guarantee isn’t absolute because of fortuitous events. These events are beyond the control of service providers. In times like these, some files and folders might be outdated or worst corrupted.

Thus, learn how your provider recovers your file during these unforeseen events.

These practices vary, so make sure to ask for them.  Alternatively, observe how your cloud service providers save changes in your files. Often, your provider enumerates these practices on the service terms statement. 

Security and Privacy

One of the biggest concerns on cloud services is security and privacy breach. An excellent provider improves security to ensure the safety of data almost daily.

How do you know if your provider is protecting your data? Look out for these security measures.

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Secure socket layer certificate
  • The availability of off-site data storage

Aside from these, your provider should be compliant with specific regulatory requirements. These regulatory standards may involve PCI (Payment Card Industry) standard for financial data or US HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for health sensitive information.

Service Terms

What terms should you look for? Vendor lock-in and service limitations.

Vendor lock-in is the inability to transfer your files to another provider. Usually, this transfer involves paying a high cost. This term can be “fatal” to the growth of your business, especially if the service of the provider declines.

Unfortunately, many providers have vendor lock-in policy. It’s still a business, after all. They want you to stick with them through thick and thin. 

So, it’s imperative to know first hand if your chosen provider will lock you in. You can read this in their statement or their FAQ.

Some vendors don’t explain their service terms in verbatim. Instead, they place it in their intimidating service terms statement. Service terms statement is lengthy and often may cause you a headache, but read it thoroughly. 

Support

Impressive features are useless if you can’t talk to the right people when you needed them. Thus, technical support is important during server downtime.

How do you know if the customer service support is excellent? You can reach them through many channels. These channels may include but not limited to phone calls, emails, chat, and social media. Most importantly, the tech support answers to your queries expertly and as fast as they can.

Best Cloud Storage for Business

There are so many cloud storage services and providers on the internet. Providers offer business plans with storage space ranging from 1TB to unlimited amount.

Google Drive

Creating a Gmail account entitles you to a 15GB free cloud storage. But, this storage space might not be enough. Controls are also limited to personal use.

Google Drive is ideal for small businesses. It allows you to share, edit, and save files through the internet.

You can save files such as Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. It’s like having an online Microsoft Office.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: 30GB; Unlimited for a minimum of 5 users or 1TB for every user below 5

Paid Plans: Yes, wit 14-day trial period

Subscription: monthly and no annual fees

 

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive for business has three basic business plans and an enterprise plan. The two basic plans require an annual payment and have no integration of Office 365. The third business plan offers a monthly option.

An enterprise plan is a customizable option (almost). You can customize depending on the needs of your business. We say almost because of the many added features and options you can choose from.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: 1TB for every user, Unlimited for 5 or more users

Paid Plans: Yes, with 30 days’ trial on 25 licenses

Subscription: Monthly and Annual

 

Box

Box for Business offers unlimited users for a minimum of 3 people. It allows you and your team to share and sync files, and add more flexible admin controls. 

You can integrate Microsoft Office and set the allowable file size for your users. Moreover, you can search through files using text related to the document you’re looking for.

Box has four business plans: standard, business, business plus, and enterprise. Enterprise is a customizable plan, and you need to contact their tech support for the details.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: 100 GB (max 10 users), Unlimited Space (minimum 3 people)

Paid Plans: Yes, with a 14-day trial

Subscription: Monthly and Yearly

 

Dropbox

Dropbox for business has three business plans: standard, advanced, and enterprise. Like Box for Business, you can integrate Microsoft 365. You can share files of up to 100GB with your team.

The advanced business plan has tiered admin roles, so you can designate who can edit, delete, or overwrite an existing file. If you want customizable features, you might opt for the enterprise level.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: 5TB for a minimum of 3 users

Paid Plans: Yes, with a 30-day free trial

Subscription: Monthly and yearly

 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a comprehensive but complicated hosting service. It’s perfect for techie business people. Plans include pay-as-you-go, pay-less-when-you-reserve, pay-less-by-using-more, and pay-less-as AWS-grows.

It also has a customizable plan. If you aren’t sure, you can try the AWS free tier.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: Varying depends on the services you opt

Paid Plans: Yes, without a trial period

Subscription: Monthly and Annual

 

OpenDrive

OpenDrive has three general plans: personal, business, and enterprise. The business plan has two options, fixed and customized pricing.

The fixed pricing plan has unlimited storage space. The customization option allows you to select users for a specific storage amount. You can avail of a 500GB storage space for a maximum of 999 users with extra cost.

This storage solution integrates Office Suite and has a basic plan of 5GB storage space.

Features at a Glance

Storage Space: 500GB, Unlimited Space

Paid Plans: Yes, without a trial period 

Subscription: Monthly and Annual

 

Bottom Line

The best cloud storage for business depends on many factors, such as your requirement for backup, collaboration, and administrative controls. Whether the solution is private, public, or hybrid, remember these two important takeaways.

  • The storage space is sufficient for all the files needed for your business without breaking your pocket.
  • The technical support is knowledgeable and expert enough to answer all your questions.

At Streamline Technology Group, we can give you the best cloud storage to suit your business requirements. This means peace of mind for a worry-free management and backup of your most vital data and files. That way, all these are secure and protected which will mean ease and efficiency of file sharing/retrieval, and business continuity in the event of any disaster.