BUSINESS CLOUD STORAGE | 5 MIN READ
Cloud storage protects your most important assets − your data − from destruction in the event of a network outage or cyber attack. Cloud storage options can vary based on a number of factors, from the amount of storage you need to how many users' information you would like to back up. Keep reading for a comparison of some of the top business cloud storage providers and to learn how you can choose the right one for your company.
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Why Choose Cloud Storage?
Data can be stored in two locations: on-premise or in the cloud. Either form could be beneficial to an organization depending on their needs.
With on-premise security, your servers and data are physically located in your office, and you use backup and disaster recovery software to extract the data when you need it during a network failure. The management and maintenance of your network is up to you unless you decide to outsource support.
With cloud-based security, a third party company hosts your servers and data for you in a data center. These companies can assist in managing your network.
Which One Should You Choose?
Organizations who use on-premise security tend to:
- Favor customization- Since your data is physically stored at your office, you can configure the setup to your liking.
- Have in-house IT personnel- Companies with dedicated in-house IT personnel may wish to have close proximity to the data they manage.
- Aim for regulatory compliance- Penalties for data regulations can be costly, which is why some organizations may feel more comfortable housing data in close proximity.
- Have a smaller budget- Especially if you have an in-house IT team, the costs for equipment such as servers can prove to be a worthwhile long-term investment.
Companies who have cloud security tend to:
- Value high-level security- Cloud data centers have multiple security parameters in place, which provides ease of mind to companies housing data there.
- Favor storage immortality- If on-premise data centers break or become outdated and obsolete, the cost and time to move your data can be a burden. With cloud storage, your data is housed online forever.
- Desire minimal downtime- Because cloud storage backs up your data in multiple places, you tend to experience lower rates of downtime than on-premise systems.
- Value scalability- Data centers can quickly re-allocate resources to meet demand, which is especially beneficial to companies experiencing explosive growth or those in need of expanded computing power.
While either form of data storage can be beneficial to your organization, more businesses today are turning to cloud storage solutions for their scalability and advanced security measures.
Best Cloud Storage for Businesses
As cloud storage becomes more and more popular, more providers are starting to flood the market, which can make narrowing down the top options harder. To simplify your research process, we narrowed down the market to six of our top picks.
Acronis is one of the leading cloud storage providers. Their cloud backup solution boasts a great desktop interface, file syncing, and fast upload speeds.
Acronis has gotten flack for their high prices, slow web interface, and a lack of password protection on shared files. Acronis offer a few different pricing options, with the more expensive plans having expanded storage limits.
Microsoft's OneDrive has gained widespread acclaim due to its ease of Windows integration, which includes its Fetch tool that lets you take files from a Windows PC as long as it's connected to the Internet.
Additionally, collaborative tools and affordability have also been cited as pros to OneDrive. OneDrive's association with its partner company, Microsoft, lends an esteemed air to its reputation.
However, some commonly stated downsides to OneDrive's cloud backup offering include issues with syncing files and a clunky interface.
While DropBox has storage options for both individuals and companies alike, its business option is a reliable choice for companies looking to secure their data.
DropBox's business plan boasts secure file storage, ease of sharing and syncing, centralized control settings, and affordability. Fans enjoy the expanded data storage limits, which can start at anywhere from 1-3 terabytes of storage (enough for at least one computer's worth of storage) and can be expanded upon request.
DropBox offers a three-tiered plan, and as you move up the plan you get more advanced administrative controls and security features.
Critics of Dropbox have cited its lack of private key management, lack of file editing options, and non-inclusion of online file editing as primary concerns.
Carbonite's business cloud storage plans offer companies the flexibility of choosing a solution that fits their specific needs. Carbonite offers unlimited backups and storage for $60 a year, although the main downside to that plan is that licenses are limited to a single computer.
Fans of Carbonite cite its reasonable prices, unlimited storage space, and secure platform as positives. Fans also love Carbonite's Valet Install feature that remotely installs their software on your computer for you, saving you time and effort.
Critics cite its lack of a manual backup option, poor download speed, and minimal range of features as main points of concern.
Box is a popular cloud backup solution for those with smaller budgets that want unlimited storage. It is a great option for those who want to integrate their cloud storage with multiple third-party services.
Sharing content is easy, and Box lets you search for texts, which is useful if you forget which files have certain information. You can also share screenshots with ease.
Box prioritizes the centralization of data by making organizing and finding files easy, which facilitates collaboration.
A few main downsides to Box include slow navigation, lack of online editing, and a strict cap on the sizes of uploaded files.
How to Choose the Right Cloud Storage Provider
Some cloud storage providers can tailor a plan to fit an individual or a business. While your business might be tempted to pick a free option more so geared towards individuals to save money, keep in mind that these plans usually have restricted features and heavily limited amounts of data that you can store.
If your business is brand-new, you could maybe use a free plan at the beginning to save money while your company takes off, but there is so much data that a business needs to protect that you would quickly reach the data limits in your plan.
Evaluate how much data storage you think you'll need. Cheaper plans usually come with limits on the amount of data you can store. Before buying a plan, estimate the volume of data that your company stores to see if you could manage fine with a storage limit or if you need to spend more for a plan that allows unlimited storage.
When evaluating a cloud storage provider, ask how they store your data. How many data centers are holding your information, and where are these centers located?
For instance, if your business is located around the world but all the data centers are in the US, you could potentially run into issues with connectivity speed. Make sure there are plenty of data centers worldwide to accommodate your company, especially if you have offices in multiple countries.
Consider any data privacy regulations that your company must adhere to. Storing your data in a third party data center could potentially raise some concerns about how compliant you can remain with current data regulations. Check with your provider to see what they can do to keep you compliant, especially with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.
How does the data center secure your information? Ask your provider what security measures are in place to protect your data. Data centers can implement a variety of tactics, including advanced fire detection systems, reinforced walls, and 24-7 security guards.
Cloud storage protects your business against data loss in the event of a network failure or cyber attack.
While on-premise storage solutions may seem like an attractive offering, cloud storage is a scalable and secure option for any business looking to protect their most valuable data.
We hope that this article helped you narrow down your search for the best cloud storage provider. Subscribe to our blog for more cloud storage tips as well as additional tips on cyber security.
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.