Archive for the ‘Cloud Computing’ Category

Backup and Storage – Why is it Necessary For Enterprises?


Data is the most precious enterprise resource currently, and it is important to protect it from all aspects of loss and theft. All enterprises have to deal with data, and few would have to deal with highly sensitive data. For example, financial, health, aerospace and defense enterprises, government agencies, etc. deal with confidential data that cannot be compromised at all. You may be surprised to know that 75% of the healthcare industry has been infected with malware at some point in time. This is just one such statistic; a closer look at the various data breaches that have happened across the past decade or so clearly tell a tale on why enterprises should pay more attention to data governance policies. Data storage and backup is of course, a huge part of the data governance policy.

The consequences of any unforeseen events happening can be far-reaching and highly damaging for all enterprises. Disasters are waiting to happen, and they could be man-made or natural. Natural disasters like floods, fires, earthquakes, Tsunamis, etc. are threats to the physical servers where enterprises store data. Intentional malicious attacks on the server for theft or harmful manipulation of data, careless exposure or oversight of personnel handling the data, or silly mistakes leading to loss of data, also form some other forms of threat to the data. Many employees handling such confidential are not sensitized about the gravity of the matter. Interestingly, in 2019, 31% of organizations have experienced cyber attacks on operational infrastructure and 95% of data breaches have causes attributed to human error. All these statistics highlight the need to have strong data storage and backup policies in place.

Since all data ultimately is residing on some hardware, aided by some software for its management, even hardware and software failures can result in a crisis. The loss of reputation, revenue and goodwill, apart from the time and money in fines and litigation that ensue any data breach, can even be irreversible for many enterprises. Over time, enterprises realized that data needs to be protected at any cost, and a few enterprises have learned it the hard way. Hence, data backup and storage is a huge part of the enterprise data governance policy being put in place nowadays.

What is enterprise backup and storage?

It is imperative to protect data from all forms of harm and this gave birth to the concept of enterprise backup and storage. Typically, enterprise storage and backup would involve moving the data to one or more secondary backups, that may be physically located at other locations. This would keep the data safe at all times, as it can be recovered to ensure business continuity, even in the worst case, of one physical location being compromised due to any unforeseen event. Enterprise data backup and storage can, therefore, be defined as an enterprise taking into account all possible forms of harm that can befall their data and planning for recovery and continuity of services. It is part of the organizational risk management and business continuity policy.

How is it done?

The enterprise data backup and storage would be a combination of software, hardware, and policies put in place for the same. The backups may be scheduled periodically, or incrementally by the administrators. The backup policy usually also covers the data maintenance periods as well as the duration after which the data can be destroyed or purged, as per agreed terms or regulations that govern the same.

Data storage and backup should always take into account any regulations that require specific compliances that apply to such industry sectors. The backups should also be done with extreme care with audits and logs that make retrievals easy in the worst case of any disaster striking.

There are multiple ways in which data storage and backups are implemented like data replication, clustering, Cloud storage with auto backups, virus and malware protection, and more. The backup and restore mechanisms could be at the file, database, folder, and disk levels or more. Multiple layer backup mechanisms can be put in place to ensure that recovery is foolproof and covers all recent changes.

The Benefits

The main benefits of enterprise data storage and backup are:

  • Protection from data loss or theft
  • Intellectual Property loss prevention
  • Insulation from financial loss
  • Business continuity
  • Safeguarding reputation and goodwill
  • Customer trust and respect (leading to revenue)

Any enterprise that wants to be in business cannot ignore any of the above points. So, these are not just the benefits of implementing a good data storage and backup policy, but perhaps, an essential aspect of doing business.

Cloud-based solutions

Since many enterprises have already made the move to the Cloud, it is essential that Cloud service providers incorporate the data storage and backup needs into their Cloud infrastructure. Maintaining the sanctity of enterprise data is of prime importance, and prevention of data loss must form part of the Cloud architecture design.

A few methods which can be implemented are endpoint backups, file versioning, audits and log trails, remote wipes, file locks, recovery of recycling bins, and prevention of data leaks. Cloud-based solutions may provide enterprises with the required flexibility and agility, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, adherence to requisite compliances, and more. For many enterprises, Cloud could be the ideal answer to their enterprise data storage and backup issues. Perhaps, this is what has driven this industry and its growth in the past decade or so.

As the needs emerge, and more regulations come into place, the Cloud solution providers are also innovating and more than meeting the challenge. Enterprises small, medium or large, are slowly shifting to Cloud-based operations and made it a competitive field. Flexible options in storage, usage, and billing are being rolled out by Cloud service providers to ensure that the enterprises can choose what they want according to their business needs. As a result, the choices are many, and CISOs/IT managers of enterprises have a tough task of evaluating Cloud service providers on various parameters to zero down on their choice. Preparing a checklist beforehand and then ticking off the boxes helps make the right choice.

The FileCloud Advantage

FileCloud understands and addresses most of the data loss related issues so that enterprises using their solutions can be rest assured about the safety and security of the data. Online storage and backup by FileCloud allow enterprises to back up on cloud whenever required. These backups are automatically created at scheduled times and prevent data loss and avoid accidental deletion. Authorized users of the enterprises can access this data anytime, from anywhere using any modern device, and the information will be in sync. It can also be restored across all platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux) as well as devices (Desktops and Smartphones). The backups also include database backups, and this is very essential in High Availability scenarios.

The FileCloud online backup and storage automatically copies files and stores them via a highly secure internet connection. The enterprise admins and users will have control over the data storage and usage, including for the database backups. The backup and retrieval happen according to customized policies set up based on organizational needs. This option from FileCloud is not just cost-effective, but also secure and scalable, and also provides a unified interface for enterprises to easily manage their storage and backup needs. Besides, it comes with unique capabilities to monitor, prevent, and fix data leakage assure enterprise data is protected across all devices. This is done with the help of activity logs and powerful admin features.

Additionally, FileCloud provides automatic backup of endpoint data across all devices and platforms. Not just this, it also automatically stores versions of files as they change and makes it easy to get back to a previous version. Besides, accidentally deleted files can also be recovered from the recycle bin, by the users or the administrators. Above all this, FileCloud also offers a FileCloud Backup Server, which backs up your entire FileCloud installation as a Disaster Recovery solution. This makes for hassle-free and easy restoration of the complete server data, including settings.



Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud


The term Cloud computing has gained more traction in the post-Corona times as enterprises have realized that remote working will be the norm of the future. While many organizations were already there, either partially or in full, those were not, started exploring options of moving to the Cloud. The Cloud is nothing but a set of on-demand computing resources that is made available to enterprises for their data storage. This is made possible over the Internet, with data centers and applications made available to authorized staff to conduct their daily activities.

The various operational challenges that the steadily gaining popularity of Cloud computing threw up ranged from security, privacy, performance, scalability, service models, and so on. In the quest to resolve these issues, Cloud computing has emerged stronger by evolving and rising to the challenges through innovative approaches. As a result, the Cloud mainly evolved into three different categories known as Public, Private, and Hybrid. Depending on the needs of each enterprise, they were free to choose the kind of Cloud model that suited them best. Cloud computing service providers have also backed each category with flexible costing models that now make it easier for enterprises wanting to move to the Cloud.

Public Cloud

This is one of the most popular models of Cloud computing that most small and medium enterprises choose to go with. This model works out in terms of services being offered as well as the cost at which they come. Free services are being offered in this model as well, and many individuals choose to opt for it. At the simplest level, people choosing to store their data on Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. is the best example. They are also able to collaboratively as sharing is also allowed and it makes for easy access for all involved.

The top Public Cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), MS Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM, VMware, Cisco, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, SAP, Adobe, etc. These providers offer a combination of services ranging from free, subscription based, usage-based, freemium, premium, and so on. The services provided under these models cover email, applications, storage, development/OS/infrastructure environments, etc.

In this model, the service provider maintains a pool of Cloud computing resources that are shared across the people who opt for the services. This model provides access to instant scalability that suits dynamic business enterprises. Owing to the low cost and the wide range of services provided, this model happens to be the most popular one currently.

The Advantages

The advantages of Public Cloud are as follows:

  1. Low investment in IT infrastructure and maintenance of the same.
  2. Flexibility to manage dynamic workloads by scaling up or down as per business needs.
  3. Agility through constant accessibility across the globe for distributed workforces.
  4. Reliability because of very low chances of infrastructure failures.
  5. Security is assured to some extent, as all providers are bound by regulations to meet certain safety standards and measures, as dictated by the laws of the land.


The Public Cloud is most suited for small to mid-sized enterprises, but only those that may not be running mission-critical services. The TCO of using a Public Cloud can become exponential for mid to large enterprises, in the long run. Some amount of security concerns always exist with a Public Cloud; hence, it is not the best choice for enterprises that deal with sensitive data and are bound by strict regulatory compliances like finance, health, or defense. Also, if you want to ensure full control over the data, its storage, and maintenance, then Public Cloud is not the one for you. Public Clouds have issues with authentication and identity management at times, raising concerns over data security and privacy.

They are best suited to run temporary applications for short durations, and also for common services within small organizations like mail, storage, collaboration, CMS, CRM, and so on. Also, for predictable communication needs, they serve best for running apps and services for everyday business operations. They could also suit for running software development and test environments.

Private Cloud

The safety and security concerns of the Public Cloud, especially for enterprises dealing with sensitive information gave rise to the concept of Private Cloud. As the name suggests, the Cloud here is dedicated to one organization, and hence is private. Though the term private suggests exclusive access to one organization, it need not necessarily be physically present within the premises of the organization. The Private could be hosted by a Cloud service provider; but the data center and the Cloud computing resources will be isolated from the other users, with more security, control, and assured compliances.

Large companies with specific IT needs usually opt for Private Clouds so that they can customize the Cloud access and storage as per their needs. They will have control over compliance measures to be put in place and complex business requirements can be met. It offers greater visibility but will come with the onus of maintaining safety and security and at a cost. This is highly efficient but comes with a high TCO.

The Advantages

The advantages of Private Cloud are as follows:

  1. It gives you more flexibility for customizing the Cloud environment as per your business needs and complexities.
  2. Dedicated and highly secure environments, with no resources shared with any entity outside the organization other than on a need basis.
  3. Offers high scalability without compromise on security, as everything in your control.
  4. Stringent compliances can be put in place to meet complex business needs.
  5. Can be set up to meet high SLAs and performance parameters as required.


A Private Cloud is best suited for highly regulated industries and government agencies where the information dealt with is highly sensitive. Organizations that are dependent on the high performance of apps and need strong control over the security and infrastructure would do well to go with a Private Cloud. Large technology companies that deal with mission-critical and confidential information also choose to have a Private Cloud. The efficiency of applications with high performance is another parameter that prompts organizations to go with Private Cloud. Of course, all organizations that choose to go with a Private Cloud can afford to invest in it, as for them, the cost of not doing so may prove to be much greater.

Hybrid Cloud

Interestingly, the needs of many enterprises fall in between the Public and the Private Clouds. They seek to have the best of both worlds, and thus came the concept of a Hybrid Cloud. A Hybrid Cloud comes with great flexibility to move between the Public and the Private Cloud, based on the dynamic business needs. The apps and data in a Hybrid Cloud are maintained within an integrated environment that is designed and arrived at based on various factors like privacy, security, scalability, performance, cost, and at times, a few others.

High-volume, low-security needs are operated using a Public Cloud, and specific mission-critical apps bound by stringent compliances run on a Private Cloud. A ‘Cloud Burst’ happens when there is a sudden huge spike in any of these apps that necessitate the need for extra resources. This is where the flexibility comes in, for moving to the Public Cloud for the extra resources in the on-demand mode only for that short duration. The whole environment is designed for optimum performance and efficiency with the required amounts of scalability. This model can prove to be expensive with a high TCO, depending on the specific needs.

The Advantages

The advantages of a Hybrid Cloud are as follows:

  1. A high amount of flexibility to scale and distribute workloads between the Private and the Public Cloud without compromising on security.
  2. A high amount of reliability, as the services are distributed across the multiple data centers of the environment.
  3. A greater amount of control over the data, apps, and the environment as dictated by sensitive organizational needs.
  4. Some amount of cost-effectiveness as you pay for extra usage only as and when used. Even regular non-sensitive workloads may be distributed on the Public Cloud while the other sensitive ones could be retained on the Private Cloud.
  5. A phased Cloud migration approach can be taken to ensure gradual workload shifting without affecting any business operations.


A Hybrid Cloud is most suited for organizations that have significantly varying workloads, with a combination of security and privacy; precisely the best of both worlds scenario, that they wanted. Organizations that have multiple verticals wherein a few verticals need stringent regulatory compliances, while a few others may not, can opt for this. Organizations providing SAAS may also benefit from additional security, performance, and more by choosing to go with a Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid Clouds can complicate the Cloud environment and security needs, and this needs to be understood and addressed thoroughly before it can be implemented.

Top 10 File-Sharing Solutions in 2020

Top File Sharing Solutions

In our age of information, most modern enterprises have started to move towards the digitization of data. Never have there been quite so many enterprise file-synchronization and sharing (EFSS) solutions available on the market — and while a wide range of choice is always good, it also makes it much more difficult to choose the perfect solution for your organization. 

After all, investing in a solution that offers either too little or too much functionality can cost you valuable time, money and resources. And no one wants that! As such, we’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of great EFSS solutions for your consideration, so that you can pick the one that offers all the features your enterprise might need, while remaining affordable and within your price range. 

Our Criteria

Naturally, being one ourselves, we have compelling opinions about what makes a fantastic EFSS solution. Here are the factors that we’re taking into account when choosing our list of Top 10 Enterprise File Sync and Sharing solutions on the market:

  • Pricing: Shelling out the big bucks doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best solution. Aside from the base price, making sure a solution offers the features that you need (for example, unlimited client accounts) could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
  • User Interface: What good are all the features in the world, if you and your team can’t figure out how to use them — or worse, if they’re hidden in so much clutter that using them feels more like a chore than a convenience?
  • Data Governance & Compliance: If your organization regularly handles sensitive data, you might be familiar with data governance policies, such as HIPAA or GDPR. A good solution helps you comply with these policies and avoid hefty legal fines by offering granular file-access, user policy management and data residency.
  • Data Security: Features like remote data-wiping, encryption in-transit and at-rest, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), and alert notifications help keep your data in the right hands, even when devices are stolen or lost. That’s pretty important!
  • Integration: More than likely, you and your team uses Microsoft Word or Google Docs as your main word processor. Perhaps you send your emails via Outlook. A good EFSS solution integrates with popular office programs such as Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive and Outlook, so that your workflow stays uninterrupted.
  • APIs: Besides integrating with commonly used programs, the ideal EFSS solution should offer a wide range of APIs so that it can work and interact with the software that your team uses.
  • Customization: When your team, customers, partners and vendors access your files, do you want them to see the EFSS solution’s logo plastered across everything, or do you want to be able to label your portal with your own logo, assets and branding?
  • Mobile & Remote Access: You might not have constant access to your office computer, or even your laptop, but most of us always keep our phones around.
  • Administrative Tools: A great EFSS solution doesn’t just make it easier to collaborate and share files, but also to manage your team. An admin panel for you and your sysadmins to manage user policies, view real-time performance reports and a centralized device dashboard, plus other security tools, is a must.
  • Collaborative Tools: As more and more enterprises move to remote work, we believe that it’s not enough for modern EFSS solutions to simply store files, but also to provide tools for easier, more efficient team collaboration. These include common team folders for remote teams to share files with each other, the ability to comment on files and send messages to each other while working.
  • Identity Management: This means integration with standard enterprise identity solutions, such as Active Directory (AD) and Single Sign-On.
  • Virtual Drive: The ability to mount remote files as local files, so that data is only downloaded when they are being accessed and edited. This means a lot less memory usage on your part, and tons of space saved on your hard drive.
  • Content Management: A good file-sharing solution offers file-versioning, metadata classification, user policy management and light workflows for the easier management and organization of your team’s hard work.

Now that we’re on the same page about what the perfect EFSS solution looks like, without further ado, let’s move on to what you’re here for: the list!

1. FileCloud


  Pricing: FileCloud Online: $10/user/month (Standard), $15/user/month (Enterprise) || FileCloud Server: $4.20/user/month | FileCloud Server: Contact for Quote

✓  Storage: FileCloud Online: 1TB out-of-the-box, +100GB/user  (Standard), +200GB/user (Enterprise)  || FileCloud Server: Unlimited

✓  Security: FileCloud is compliant with all the most stringent data governance policies, such as HIPAA and GDPR. Encryption at rest and in transit, 256-bit AES encryption, granular file-sharing, password-protected, public and private shares.

✓  Features: From deployment models to unlimited client accounts, branding capabilities and more, FileCloud is filled with incredible enterprise-level features.

Naturally, we’re proud of our own product and firmly believe FileCloud to be one of the most powerful and affordable EFSS solutions on the market. FileCloud offers on-premise, public and a unique hybrid cloud deployment model. This deployment flexibility separates FileCloud from its competitors, and ensures that your team can enjoy the benefits of both on-premise and cloud storage systems — read more on our hybrid infrastructure here.

Our pricing is also one of the most affordable on the market, while offering larger storage plans, better enterprise-level features, and unlimited FREE external client accounts — all great for your wallet and your ROI. Feature-wise, we consider seamless, remote access to your data as the bare minimum that a good file-solution should offer. Collaborative and content management tools, a comprehensive admin panel, plus infinite customization options are all features that ensure not just your team, but also your clients and sysadmins get in on the enhanced EFSS experience.

Last but certainly not least, FileCloud is compliant with most data security governance policies, meaning that you’ll never see your organization’s good name tainted in headlines labelled with “Security Breach” or “Data Leaks”. Plus. it’ll save you tons on the fines and fees that’ll rack up if you go with a less-secure option.

Affordable, no paywalls, money/time-saving featuresUnfortunately, FileCloud isn't an open-source software.
Compliant with all data security governance policies With all these features, FileCloud's UI can get a bit complex for beginners and laymen
Integration with most common office softwares, APIs

2. Google Drive: GSuite

How to Find Anything in Google Apps - The Ultimate Guide to G ...

  Pricing: Free Plan: Free | Basic Plan: $6/user/month | Business Plan: $12/user/month | Enterprise Plan: $25/user/month

✓  Storage: Free Plan: 15GB | Basic Plan: 30GB | Business & Enterprise Plan: Unlimited, or 1TB / user if less than 5 users

✓  Security: Encryption in transit; no option to encrypt individual documents. Multi-factor authentication.

✓  Features: Google Drive comes with powerful, recognized collaborative tools, such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Having quickly risen in popularity over the past couple of years, Google Drive is now a powerful file-sharing solution on the market. A file storage and synchronization program created by Google, it’s best known for its collaborative capabilities via Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, which offer real-time collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets and slides respectively. 

The solution’s enterprise plan, GSuite, comes with a similarly clean and intuitive UI, as well as integration with popular enterprise softwares such as Autodesk, Salesforce, and more. Apart from this, Google Drive for Business offers unlimited cloud storage, access from any device, offline file access, includes apps like Gmail, Google Keep, Google Sites, as well as enterprise-grade access controls, e-discovery for emails, chats and files.

However, reportedly, users have encountered frequent connectivity and syncing issues while using Google Drive. Plus, while Google Drive has fairly beefy data security with encryption in-transit and at-rest, human error on part of the developers has led to security issues, such as when Google Photos started sending private videos to strangers

Strong team collaborative toolsHas had major security issues through developer error
Clean mobile and desktop softwareOn the pricey end: $30,000 for 100 users/ year
Allows offline mode and offline file-editingKnown occasional syncing issues

3. Dropbox

Dropbox -

  Pricing: Basic Plan: Free | Plus Plan: $11.99/user/month  | Professional Plan: $19.99/user/month

✓  Storage: Basic Plan: 2GB | Plus Plan: 2TB | Professional Plan: 3TB

✓  Security: AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest and AES 128-bit encryption for data in transit; however, known past security issues

✓  Features: Unique “Paper” and “Showcase” features: basic “Notes” and “Portfolio” app respectively

Of course, we’d be remiss to not mention Dropbox in a file-sharing solution comparison post. With its clean, intuitive UI and easy-to-use features, Dropbox has become a well-known, household name in terms of file storage. Dropbox also offers password-protected links, integration for Office 365 and Google Drive, and strong administrative tools. However, while it certainly has its pros, we feel strongly that there are better enterprise-level file-sharing solutions — and here’s why. 

Due to the system’s popularity, it’s always been a popular target for hackers. Even now, it doesn’t offer local encryption. Their customer service certainly leaves more to be desired, as seen from their lack of 24/7 customer support.

And above all that, despite having fewer features than many enterprise-level solutions out there, Dropbox is far from the most affordable on the market, especially with their 5-user minimum. Plus, with their measly 2GB- free storage and paywalls for unlimited storage, it certainly feels like the solution is out to milk their users dry.

Clean mobile and desktop applicationsDisappointing 2GB starting storage space
Automatic synchronization of files and foldersFrequent past security issues
"History" feature allows access to past versionsPricier end of things, 5 user minimum

4. Box

Cloud Storage Services for Business Use -

  Pricing: Box Starter: $5/user/month | Box Business: $20/user/month | Box Business Plus: $33/user/month | Box Enterprise: $47/user/month

✓  Storage: Box Starter: 100GB | Box Business: Unlimited | Box Business Plus: Unlimited | Box Enterprise: Unlimited

✓  Security: A regulatory-compliant Zero-Knowledge Provider. Tools to manage user perms and customer-managed encryption keys.

✓  Features: Secure collaborative and project-management tools, as well as rule sets for work-flow automation

While perhaps less of a household name than Dropbox, Box, founded in 2005 and based in California, is also an incredibly strong contender on the EFSS market. With tools that integrate with other services, like Google Docs, Box also goes above and beyond in offering custom branding capabilities and letting users create a professional appearance for their organization.

Plus, Box’s security is nothing to scoff about, being a uniquely zero-knowledge provider and offering tons of options for encryption and user management.

Unfortunately, with their heavy local encryption, Box transfers tend to get slow — something that could impede or even cripple the seamless remote workflows that have become the norm today. Box also does not offer any options for on-premise or self-hosting, nor local storage, and does not perform end-point backups. Plus, while it certainly provides tons of enterprise-level features, it’s also significantly pricier than almost any solution on the market.

Platform-independent, apps for most major devicesMore expensive than most competition
Secure, regulatory-compliant solutionLocal encryption can slow file transfers
Tons of features, intuitive to useNo on-premise or local storage

5. Egnyte

Egnyte Business Review | PCMag

  Pricing: Office Plan: $8/user/month | Business Plan: $20/user/month | Enterprise Plan: Contact for a quote

✓  Storage: Office Plan: 5TB | Business Plan: 10TB | Enterprise Plan: Scales with your needs

✓  Security: Standard encryption, includes user and group access permissions

✓  Features: What stands out most with Egnyte is their great auditing system which timestamps user activities, plus a robust access permission system.

Egnyte has recently become one of the leading choices for enterprises, claiming to have been designed with businesses in mind. Egnyte provides the branding capabilities to customize logos, URLs and message headers, providing a more professional look. In addition to useful sharing and collaborative features, Egnyte also provides great security features, such as intuitive access permissions and encryption. It also integrates with most operating systems and devices. 

Unfortunately, there have reportedly been frequent sync/network problems with the solution. While robust in features, Egnyte provides little documentation for these features — combined with poor customer service, creating a steep learning curve for their product. There are also paywalls for features such as audit reports and storage sync, for an already-relatively-high price tag.

Great security measuresMore expensive than most competition
Robust user and group permissionsNo Linux support
Custom branding capabilitiesReported network and sync issues

6. OneDrive

Microsoft updating OneDrive with better web UI and sharing options ...

  Pricing: Business Plan 1: $5/user/month | Business Plan 1: $10/user/month | Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $5/user/month | Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50/user/month

✓  Storage: All Plans: 1TB – extra storage space can be purchased separately for up to 1TB/$9.99/month

✓  Security: Standard encryption, file-locking, paywalls for SSO/SAML Authentication

✓  Features: Advanced sharing, mobility and security. Heavy integration with Office software.

Microsoft OneDrive is a file hosting service and synchronization service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office. Naturally, this Microsoft-based solution heavily integrates with Office 365 programs that most teams use, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as Outlook, which is a huge plus. Certain plans even grant access to said software. It also provides encryption at rest and in transit. Overall, it has robust features that make it a strong solution, as expected from Microsoft.

Unfortunately, data privacy issues have surfaced time and time again with large corporations, and OneDrive is no exception. When using this solution, Microsoft can scan your files for “objectionable content”, stating that file security cannot be guaranteed for said content.

Integration with Office 365 programsFile-size limit of 10GB
Provides file-versioning featuresNo on-premise / self-hosting options
Great security measuresSecurity measures locked behind paywalls

7. OwnCloud

ownCloud Phoenix - rebirth of the ownCloud user interface – ownCloud

  Pricing: Standard Subscription: $3,750/50 users/year | Enterprise Subscription: $9,000/50 users/year | Custom Subscription: Custom pricing for 10,000 users and above

✓  Storage: Unlimited Self-Storage Space

✓  Security: Standard Encryption, Multi-Factor Authentication, NTFS Support

✓  Features: Custom branding, open-source customizability, local storage options

ownCloud is a reliable file sharing infrastructure with a client-server architecture, allowing users to setup a complete private file-sharing service with data encryption server side while avoiding popular public ones like Google drive or Dropbox. An open source solution, it offers rich features and the ability to use on-premise / self-hosting.

However, most potential users balk at the massive price tag of $9,000/50 users/year — even if you divide that into per user per month, it’s still pretty hefty — especially compared to available file solutions that have the same features while staying at 1/4 of that price! Due to being open source, there’s also a lack of a strong support system, and poor documentation. It also doesn’t offer endpoint backup, nor granular subfolders.

Feature-rich, open sourceRelatively high cost
Support for local storage and on-premiseNo endpoint backup or granular subfolders
Work across all popular operating systemPoor support and documentation

8. Citrix ShareFile

Localized ShareFile WebUI available | Citrix Blogs

  Pricing: Standard Plan: $55/5 users/month | Advanced Plan: $85/5 users/month | Premium Plan: $135/5 users/month | Virtual Data Room Plan: $375/5 users/month

✓  Storage: Unlimited Storage Space

✓  Security: Standard encryption and SSL/TLS. Recovery sites in both the US and EU.

✓  Features: Collaborative and productivity-enhancing tools, custom electronic signature tool. File-versioning features.

Sharefile is Citrix’s enterprise-class cloud storage solution, and they’re well-known in the commercial software and service industry. Notable features of Sharefile include an auditing system that generates activity reports, integration with Single Sign-On, download alerts, and two-factor authentication. This cuts down on the amount of time it would take to print out a document, sign it, and scan it to the cloud.

Unfortunately, despite their generous offer of unlimited storage, they do have a file size limit. The solution itself doesn’t support Linux. Plus, with a standard plan starting at $55, paywalls for features and their enforced 5-user pricing plan, it’s safe to say that Sharefile isn’t the most affordable solution for smaller organizations. Reportedly, Sharefile’s licensing plans are also misleading.

Great security measuresFile-size limit of 10GB
Provides file-versioning featuresNo Linux support
Simple to use, clean user interfacePricey, misleading licensing plans

9. NextCloud

Nextcloud 16 introduces machine learning based security and ...

  Pricing: Basic Plan: $2,136/50 users/year | Standard Plan: $3,823/50 users/year | Premium Plan: $5,510/50 users/year

✓  Storage: Unlimited Self-Storage

✓  Security: Standard Encryption, SSO, SAML Authentication, 2FA, File-Locking

✓  Features: On-Premise and Cloud file-hosting, large file support, local storage support, OS compatibility

While NextCloud is a free, open-source software, NextCloud Enterprise comes as a powerful, pre-configured EFSS solution that takes some of the guesswork out of configuring their free, alternative solution. It certainly totes the basics expected of any EFSS solution, such as audit logs, a desktop sync client and user management, and has great security with end-to-end encryption.

Unfortunately, similar to ownCloud, which NextCloud was a spinoff of, the open-source software can come with a lack of support and documentation. As such, many deployments, updates and bug fixes fall to you and your team — wasting precious time that could have been used on other productive activities.

Strong collaborative featuresLack of support and documentation
Good security measures, with encryptionSelf-dependent for updates
Compatible with common operating systemsOn the pricier end of things

10. Syncplicity

Syncplicity Cloud Storage Service Review | Cloud Storage Advice

  Pricing: Personal: $5/user/month | Business: $5/user/month | Enterprise: Contact for quote | Government: Contact for quote

✓  Storage: Personal: 100 GB | Business+: 300GB

✓  Security: Standard encryption in-transit and at-rest, SSO, 2FA

✓  Features: Hybrid solution, remote access and mobility

For a solution that’s much less popular and well-known, Syncplicity offers a surprising punch with their rich features, hybrid hosting options, great security, file restorations and backup. In addition, good things have been said about their customer support, with online chat and a 24/7 phoneline. 

At a price of $60 for even the lowest personal plan and a whopping minimum of 25 users, Syncplicity is far from the most affordable solution on the market. Syncplicity also doesn’t support customer-managed keys. Plus, Syncplicity uses a traditional interface — great for the early 2010’s, but perhaps not the most modern for today’s standards.

Hybrid file-hosting solutionHigh user minimum, expensive
Great customer service, 24/7 supportNo user-managed encryption keys
File restorations and automatic backupLow storage - 300GB

Top 10 Cloud-Based File Sharing/Sync Apps For Android/iOS

The concept of cloud computing was born 60 years ago. Yup, even before the internet, as we know it, came into play! Since then, the world has been trying to move file- and data-sharing from physical to the remote space. Let me give you a simple and prevalent example: movies & music, from physical performances, have evolved to become the radio, TV, cassettes, floppy disks, pen drives & memory cards, and finally to streaming services. In almost every technological form, we have come a long way.

What’s made the cloud-based file-sharing prevalent today? If you ask me, I think the reason behind the growing popularity of cloud-based file sharing is globalization. After all, from the biggest to the smallest businesses worldwide – we all depend on globalization.

If you have a small business in a quaint locality, and you are happy with your income, why would you want globalization? The answer to that question is simple, every business, no matter how big or small, works incessantly for profit, the margin here being irrelevant.

So, if through instant data sharing, analysis, and profitable results, your business can grow, not only beyond your locality but beyond even your country’s borders, wouldn’t you champion such technology? I know I would.

Now, onto the most important question that you can and should ask before investing in such a novel technology:

What Can Cloud-Based File-Sharing Do for Your Business? 

The undeniably biggest benefit of cloud-based file-sharing is the increased accessibility. You and your team can access any file, at any time and from anywhere when you choose cloud-based file-sharing over traditional options.

A lot of money, time, and effort are also saved in this process. No maintenance charges, and upgrades, no need to buy extra machinery, no need to train employees about complicated infrastructures, and no accidental data leaks.

One of the biggest concerns that people have about the cloud is the issue of security. Yes, the fear of data breaches, of hackers taking away your data, and of data loss reigns supreme among the doubters. And certainly, some file-sharing solutions have had these issues in the past. However, a good file-sharing avenue is protected by two-factor authentication, anti-virus, specific permissions, policy enforcement, access control, password protection, and end-to-end encryption.

When you make smart choices in your file-sharing solution, there is no need to worry about “security issues”. In fact, advanced security should be one of the reasons why you choose to move to the cloud. Now that we’ve discussed some of the key factors, intrinsic qualities, and FAQs of cloud-based file-sharing technology, it’s time to give you some of the best options in the category. Should you choose this fast-evolving technology, you should be armed with the right information. Let’s go.

The Best Cloud-Based File-Sharing Apps for You


Of course, we have to start with FileCloud; we believe in our product. FileCloud serves as an ever-evolving file hosting and sharing platform for businesses of all sizes.

You can use FileCloud to sync up all your data in all your devices without the need for an external storage unit, no backups necessary. Also, you can use this software to collaborate with your partners, clients, employees, project partners, and even clients if required; and that too, in a secure, hassle-free manner.

Of course, we put FileCloud first for a reason; there are many benefits associated with the solution. Here’s an overview, have a look for yourself!

  • The administrator has robust tools and handy functionalities to monitor users, files, and sites, allowing him/her to create the best-suited workflow & policies for him/her.
  • FileCloud has multiple access points including, a web browser, browser add-ons, mobile apps, and a virtual drive.
  • With FileCloud, you can enjoy multi-level file & folder sharing. Additionally, you can share files publicly protected with passwords, or share files privately protected with permissions.
  • Users can enjoy endpoint backup, instant updates, customization, data loss prevention, and selective sync.
  • FileCloud offers its service in various price points, customized based on industrial and individual needs. Also, the scalability of FileCloud is appreciated by many.
  • Unlimited storage depending on client requirements is another one of FileCloud’s offerings.

An added bonus of using FileCloud is that it is extremely user-friendly and always innovating to accommodate new tools and techniques to create a better user experience.



Google Drive

The Google ecosystem will never let you down. Even in cloud-based file-sharing and cloud storage, Google has brought in a winner, aka Google Drive. It is available for personal use, for industrial use, and for company use. It allows the users to access any file from anywhere, edit them with admin’s permission, share & collaborate easily, and it is also compatible with a wide range of devices allotting the same benefits to a multitude of file types.

Google Drive uses a multi-layered SSL encryption along with other security measures to protect the data stored in it.

However, it is not all good and no foul with Google Drive; after all, it is limited just to Gmail. Also, it offers a limited amount of storage, the prices are a bit on the higher side after that, and Google, as we know, has faced problems with data breaches previously.

file sharing app


Dropbox launched almost 4 years before Google Drive and hereby, manages to rank high among Cloud-based file sharing apps worldwide. If you were to compare the two, you would see that while Google Drive wins at first because of its storage capacity, Dropbox wins it all because of it’s foolproof, robust security, slightly easier file-sharing, and faster sync.

Dropbox has automatic file backup; so, you will not lose your file accidentally. Its advanced software integration allows it to mesh with some of the most popular companies among users, like Microsoft, Slack, etc. It can even work with comprehensive and diverse cloud storage systems. One functionality to blow your mind is Dropbox’s ability to keep working offline.

The storage space, however, is limited in Dropbox. Search functionality is also not as robust as it is in others, and sieving through deleted files can be a real pain.

file sharing app


Of course, there is no mentioning Box without comparing it to Dropbox. Box, you see, is geared towards organizations and enterprises, in simple words big conglomerates, whereas Dropbox focuses on individual consumers and SMBs. However, that has changed since 2018.

Both Box and Dropbox have been heading straight into enterprise collaborations along with cloud content management via G-Suite and similar services.

Box has more flexibility with 4 plans, it offers unlimited storage, and is cost-effective for the services it provides. Box is also extremely secure, user-friendly, corporate-friendly, customizable, and a lot more smooth-functioning. On the flip side, it has been accused of being a little non-intuitive when compared to the others, there is a lag in sync, search functionality needs a lot of work, and version control is abysmal sometimes.

file sharing app


OneDrive, Microsoft’s brainchild & the new kid on the block suffered from a severe identity crisis wandering from name to name: Windows Live Folders, Windows Live SkyDrive, SkyDrive, and finally, it appears to have settled on OneDrive.

The capacity and capabilities of this software vary from version to version. However, it is considered to be one of the leading cloud storage and file-sharing platforms in the market today. People who use Microsoft Office in any way form, be it Word or Excel, prefer this software to others.

It’s no surprise that OneDrive integrates very nicely with Microsoft Office, along with its mobile apps offering awesome real-time collaboration. It also offers a free plan to give the clients a taste; 15GB of free storage along with a chance to EARN extra storage space through a referral incentive. You can store and access any kind of file on it.

Collaboration is easier because it works best with Microsoft Office, it’s preferred platform. An added bonus is that your company’s social media networks too can be linked with your OneDrive.

As far are cons are concerned, the biggest con and the most appreciated pro of OneDrive is that the software integrates the best with Microsoft Office. With others, it’s just not as good. It also has some privacy concerns, it has been one of the biggest targets of hackers, and the data is encrypted in transit through SSL but remains unencrypted at rest.

file sharing app


Tresorit, the popular cloud storage, and file-sharing service based in Switzerland & Hungary were officially launched in 2014. Did you know they hosted a hacking contest for 468 days offering people up to $50,000 to hack their data encryption methods gaining access to their servers? Nobody won. Tresorit’s security is just that beefy. Many awards and accolades later it ranks as leading cloud storage and file-sharing software.

Tresorit, as discussed above, is probably the most secure cloud service provider, it has client-side encryption & zero-knowledge storage, which are quite rare. It is also easy to use, has a great syncing capacity, works on multiple devices, and each file is safe through deletions.

However, it’s not all good even with Tresorit because conflict files are common, it freezes often freezing the entire device with it, it can seem a bit expensive when compared to others, it can also be a little slower, and some people complain that retrieving a lost password is quite difficult.

file sharing app


Egnyte hasn’t been around for as many years as many others, but it has some unique features. It is a cloud platform offering “enterprise file synchronization and sharing,” according to Egnyte’s spokesperson. It was co-founded by Vineet Jain and incorporated in 2008, while it’s mobile apps were released in 2015. With 16,000 clients worldwide, Egnyte has already reached the benchmark of $100 million recurring revenue.

Egnyte is notably easy to install and user-friendly. Amongst Egnyte’s other offers are excellent file storage, file-sharing, fast uploads as well as downloads, great UI, version control, a great structure of permission, and outside organization sharing.

However, it isn’t flawless. It can crash easily with large files, has some syncing issues, does not support drag & drop, tracked changes are not visible while previewing word files quickly, it can lag sometimes, and it has broken links.

file sharing app

Citrix ShareFile

ShareFile is a content collaboration platform offering file-sharing and syncing opportunities. ShareFile was acquired by Citrix in 2011, and since then it has been named Citrix ShareFile. It has a lot of robust and compelling features including but not limited to workflow management, an easy collaboration of documents, e-signatures, and easy Microsoft as well as Gmail integration.

ShareFile offers a free trial for 30 days with unlimited storage and inclusion of up to 5 employees. It uses 256-bit SSL, a highly appreciated security measure that is used by banks and popular e-commerce sites like Amazon. However, it has a complex folder structure, it is slow, expensive, have low upload speed, and sync might be delayed sometimes.

file sharing app


YouSendIt started it’s a journey in 2004 and ended up as a successful cloud service provider rebranded as Hightail in 2013 changing it’s ideal from file-sharing to offering collaborating services. On it, you create a new space, name it, and create a project with a goal in it. In it, you can ask for approvals for files from included members, track activity, share drafts in a private mode with an access code. The best thing about Hightail is that despite being its competition, Hightail works smoothly with other file-sharing apps. Additionally, it comes with two types of plans, file sharing, and creative collaboration.

On Hightail, however, it might be difficult to search, links expire pretty fast, sync lag is not uncommon, and you cannot copy download links for files. Also, the paid version is quite expensive.


MediaFire is comparatively unknown to the cool crowd, but, it’s 10GB free plan is comparable to that of Box. It can be the starting point for the budget-friendly pupil. You can easily upload files of up to 4GB in size, and MediaFire ensures that every file is scanned for viruses, a very rare feature. It is also easy to use, has great intuition, and very cost-effective.


Have you found a match yet? Look, the features and the prices are quite comparable, but you should always match features to price. It has to serve you in the long term. Software that is readily updated, and has great customer service, and serves you the best is your best choice. The choice is yours — we hope that we helped you make an informed decision.

Move Your On-Premises File Server to the Cloud with FileCloud

You can store data in the infrastructure of your choice across On-premise, Public (IaaS e.g AWS, Azure) or Hybrid Cloud servers. Many countries require you to store data within their geographic region. With FileCloud, you can use your own servers or pick Azure /AWS region! FileCloud also supports Hybrid Cloud, where you can combine local servers along with servers in the cloud.

What is the difference between FileCloud Online and FileCloud On-Premise?

  • With the FileCloud Online option, we host and set up your FileCloud site in the cloud for you. This is the best option for teams who want to get started quickly, and don’t want to manage the technical complexity of hosting themselves.
  • With the FileCloud On-Premises option, you host the FileCloud site on your own hardware. This is the best option for teams who want to manage all the details of the setup and don’t mind the additional complexity of hosting themselves.

FileCloud also supports federal security standard FIPS 140-2. With FileCloud, you can rest assured that your corporate data is well protected on your servers and employee devices.

With FileCloud Online, you get the complete flexibility and choice to decide where your organization’s data is stored. FileCloud Online is hosted in secure, world-class data centers in the US, EU, Canada, Australia, and Asia. You can select a region that is right for your business.

FileCloud Online is hosted by CodeLathe and offered as a service (SaaS) to customers.

  • FileCloud allows complete control, unmatched security and access to your data using a variety of clients regardless of your location.
  • FileCloud also provides Sync clients for Windows, Mac and Linux OS and mobile access clients for iOS and Android.
  • You also have the option of mounting your FileCloud data as a local drive using our Windows and Mac Drive clients.


Using FileCloud, you are never more than a few clicks away from accessing your data securely.


FileCloud Online offers a variety of features for secure and easy collaboration. Here are a few features which you might be interested in

  1. Site Replication: Replicates a FileCloud Online site to an on-premise server for faster access and high availability. Great for branch office file sharing with low and unpredictable WAN bandwidth.
  2. Device Management: Centralized, endpoint device control panel. Block, Remote wipe, notify and take inventory of connected endpoint devices at any time.
  3. Ransomware Protection: Our distributed architecture, custom branded domains and email templates provides maximum protection from email spoofing and ransomware attacks.
  4. Total Control and Security: Provides unique capabilities to monitor, prevent, and fix data leakage assure corporate data is protected across all your devices. Our advanced management controls and detailed activity logs helps you to secure organization data.
  5. Governance and Compliance: Simplify data governance by setting policies for automatic document life cycle management, including file retention and archival. Create content retention policies to automate digital content management and meet compliance using legal hold, archival and deleted file retention.
  6. Online File Share & Backup: In addition to file sync and sharing, FileCloud Online offers endpoint backup for PCs, Mac, File Servers, Smartphones, and Tablets.
  7. Unparalleled Branding Options: FileCloud Online offers extreme branding options: custom login page image, email templates, logo, terms of service and custom domain free of cost.
  8. Site Sandbox: Our unique site sandbox architecture isolates every customer site from other customer sites for maximum security.
  9. Free, Unlimited Client Accounts: Unlike competitors, FileCloud Online offers free, unlimited client accounts for external vendors and partners.
  10. Customer Managed Encryption : Allows customers to choose their own Encryption keys for added data security

FileCloud is an all-in-one file share, sync, and endpoint backup solution that offers total control of data, unparalleled branding options, and free unlimited client accounts. It provides 5 times more value than the competition.


Top Reasons Why FileCloud Is Right for Your Organization

  1. Provide Secure Access to Enterprise Data From Any Device
  • Multiple ways to access data securely: Web access, Sync, Remote Drive, Mobile Apps, and Outlook Add-ons
  • Alternative to archaic VPN and FTP
  1. Integrate Easily With Existing Enterprise Infrastructure
  • Works with active directory, ADFS and SAML SSO
  • Powerful APIs to integrate with your business processes
  1. Protect Business-Critical Data
  • Powerful administrator controls over users, devices, activities
  • Protect your data using endpoint backup and versioning
  • Prevent data leaks using remote mobile wipe/ block features
  1. Total Control, Privacy, and Security
  • Site sandbox. Site-specific encryption key.
  • Detailed audit capabilities to meet regulations (HIPAA, ITAR, GDPR etc)
  • Complete control over file sharing among employees, vendors, and customers
  1. Maximize Your ROI
  • Best value among other file-sharing solutions.
  • File Sync, sharing and endpoint backup in one solution.
  1. Complete White Labeled EFSS Solution
  • Use your own domain. Customize your logo, login page image, and email templates
  • Build the custom branding your organization deserves.


Moving Your Data To The Cloud: Costs & Security


Cloud Migration is the process of moving data to the Cloud, and it involves a ton of consideration. A few important ones are cost, security, performance parameters, interoperability, business continuity and so on. However, all of these are dependent on what is being moved and to what type of Cloud.

Typically, organizations move data, applications, as well as a few other essential business elements to the Cloud. Most often, the data is being moved from the local servers or data centers to the Cloud. There could also be a Cloud to Cloud migration happening if you move from one Cloud to another.

Why Cloud Migration?

The move to the Cloud should ideally be a well-thought-out move; it is done in the interest of greater flexibility, offering better customer services, achieving seamless traction among the workforce, convenience, high availability, avoiding redundancy and to be cost-effective. For most small and medium enterprises, the Cloud is a more attractive and inexpensive option, as compared to owning on-site hardware. This is more so since many big players are offering some free options to their customers. And the flexibility of the various paid options, like pay per use or on-demand services, makes it a highly competitive option. This is especially so when faced with having to deliver aggressive financial results.

Also, with data security as the main concern for most organizations, the move to the Cloud seems to be a smart one. Most Cloud service providers have put in place extensive security features, as a combination of high-end software, and hardware technologies. Organizations can negotiate appropriate contracts with specific SLAs on the terms that matter most to them, to protect their interests. Also, there are laid down government regulations that these providers need to comply with, assuring certain built-in levels of security.

Moving data to the Cloud also takes care of issues related to the physical security of the data and applications. It eliminates risk from incidents like fire, natural disasters, physical attacks, data loss caused through staff ignorance or malicious activity.

When most of the services are running 24/7, the Cloud assures easy access, speed, efficiency, scalability, better customer experiences and is sustainable in the long run. Also, data and applications on Cloud are better equipped for the constant changes necessitated by the highly evolving technologies. All these points make for a strong case for organizations to move to the Cloud.

Cloud Migration Strategies

The decision to move to the Cloud may well be an easy one, but not so easy is arriving at the Cloud migration strategy. Deciding on what to move, how and when, will have to be discussed and concluded based on many factors. These factors will have to look at mission-critical aspects like service continuity, the applications to be moved, the dependency mapping, the topology, the appropriate Cloud hosting environment, and whether to make the move in phases or one in one go, etc.

The goals of each and every organization will differ and hence, the Cloud migration strategy will depend on that. The most important of the decisions would be on what to move, and to what type of Cloud; whether Public, Private or a Hybrid one. It would be good to have a pilot migration phase, to evaluate load, performance, security, interoperability, dependency, and most of all, business continuity.

Industry experts say that there are chances that Cloud migration can go wrong if all aspects are not considered as they should. Application issues, network issues, staff awareness and knowledge issues, tool issues, and so on, are just a few of the things that can affect the migration. Choosing the right provider and the right migration tools can help reduce or eliminate these issues. Most Cloud service providers, including the major players like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, offer migration services and tools.

Microsoft Azure advisor, AWS Trusted Advisor, Azure Migrate, Azure Site Recovery, AWS Migration Hub, AWS Application Discovery Service, Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service, Google Transfer Appliance, etc. are a few tools on offer from these biggies. Many organizations also use the DIY type of tools or even create their own.


To calculate the costs related to Cloud migration to decide its viability, you need to start with your existing IT infrastructure. A thorough audit of the current status, taking into account all direct and indirect costs, would be a solid starting point. Direct costs are simpler to calculate as they include software, hardware, maintenance, staff, physical facility, Internet and such. Indirect costs include productivity losses due to any reason, damaged reputation, service/server downtime, and customer dissatisfaction. The logs can help you with the downtime calculation, and customer satisfaction surveys with the things that are probably not right at the moment.

The next step would be to calculate your estimated Cloud infrastructure costs, which can be done rather easily with the help of tools like:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator. There is also an in-depth monthly cost calculator that can help immensely.
  • Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator
  • Microsoft Azure’s Pricing Calculator
  • Rackspace’s calculator
  • IBM Bluemix’s calculator

Almost all the Cloud Service providers provide consulting services that can help the organizations through the various stages of Cloud Migration, including the cost calculation.


The biggest concern for most organizations in the move to the Cloud has to be the safety of the data, especially confidential and sensitive data. In the last few years, the technologies related to Cloud storage security have evolved by leaps and bounds. The credibility of such services has been strengthened with the likes of:

  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Monitoring, metrics, and logs
  • Encryption
  • Data governance

These are apart from the heightened security that these providers enforce at places where the physical servers are located.

Firewalls ensure that only authenticated have access to the specified data, and are implemented as a Software-as-a-service firewall (SaaS firewall), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). The intrusion detection mechanisms in the form of host-based (HIDS), and network-based (NIDS) or application-based, protect against cyber attacks. The various monitoring applications, their logs, and benchmark metrics ensure timely alerts to avert and handle any untoward incidents.

But, the most important of all the security aspects is encryption, which is a watertight technique that uses authenticating credentials and encryption keys. There are regulations regarding certain usages, which Cloud Solution providers need to comply with, and hence if those are met, you are assured about safety to a great extent. The human error aspect though, cannot be overlooked. It is important for all staff accessing the Cloud, to understand the importance of simple things like password rules to complex things like sharing information with only those that need to know.

Most Cloud Storage facilities also provide you control of Data Governance to manage your data. However, the underlying protection mechanisms against data loss and recovery from such incidents are usually in-built as well. These include periodic backup to servers in alternate locations, instant recovery to ensure business continuity, and more. Service Level Agreements based on what is important to achieve as metrics for your organization can be arrived at, with the Cloud Service providers.

Cloud Storage Security – How Secure is Your Data in the Cloud?

The importance of Cloud Storage Solutions in the context of modern technology can be easily understood from two statistics. 90% of organizations surveyed as part of a Cloud transformation survey say that they use some kind of Cloud service. Growing at an impressive five-year CAGR rate of 19%, Cloud Computing service is set to touch $53.3 billion in 2021. These two statistics indicate the growth and the impact that Cloud and related technologies have had on the IT and storage industry.

Perhaps this is why Cloud solutions are in great demand across the world; and those who have already moved their data to the Cloud are constantly looking for more features and cost-effectiveness. Those who haven’t yet made the switch, study the use cases to understand what is viable and how best to make the move. It’s not hard to imagine that one day, it will all exist solely on the Cloud. That does put an enormous onus on the security aspect of Cloud. It will necessarily come under intense scrutiny and will have to withstand those, to ensure safety, security, continuity, reliability, and more.

Cloud Storage Security is, therefore, one of the hottest discussion topics, and many technology companies have ensured that their Cloud solutions take care of all these aspects. And yet, breaches do happen, and so it’s incredibly important to understand how secure our data is in the Cloud. It is also good to know what kind of technologies enable security and their pros and cons. In the long run, whether the privacy of personal data or organizational data of a sensitive nature, decisions on Cloud usage will depend on these.

Why Cloud?

Organizations, whether small or big, turn to Cloud for multiple reasons, namely safety, security, easy universal and remote 24/7 access, cost-cutting, convenience, saving space, and more. Basically, these are a set of servers connected to the Internet, and people can access the data at any time, using the authentication provided to them.

Going by the typical one size may not suit all philosophy, Cloud storage solutions have also evolved across the years to suit organizations of various sizes and their nature of business. Some of the solutions offered are highly flexible and unique in nature also.

Typically three kinds of Cloud solutions, namely, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud are the solutions offered. In a Public Cloud, you may not get much of a choice in customizing the usage, and many users share the same Cloud. One of the biggest USPs for Public Cloud is that is affordable.

In a Private Cloud, you have complete control of your data storage, including the hosting as well as the infrastructure and security measures to a great extent. These are obviously expensive solutions, which may not suit all organizations.

The Hybrid Cloud is a mix of both that allows affordability as well as customization; kind of a mix of the best of both worlds. This suits many organizations that prefer to keep certain sensitive data private, and the rest as public to save costs.

Cloud Storage Security

It is given that Cloud Storage Solutions come with various security features; else, they cannot function, and they have no credibility or existence. To attain high levels of security, Cloud storage vendors apply many methodologies like:

  • Physical security
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Monitoring, metrics, and logs
  • Encryption
  • Data governance

Physical Security

Ultimately, all Cloud data is  actually residing on a physical server somewhere. Hence, the security of these physical servers is as important as the protection of the data residing in them. Cloud vendors ensure 24/7 security of these locations using all possible measures including armed security guards, and fingerprint locks for access.  Even a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, or an accidental fire can cause havoc within the physical data centers. Hence, data center locations should be chosen carefully by the vendor and should follow the required government regulations.

Even simple aspects like cooling and power back-up are important aspects of physical security. Every employee working in such premises should be trained thoroughly and also monitored for their activities. Background security checks for these people are a must to ensure that they do not cause any threats for the physical servers. Infallible surveillance systems are also a necessity in the location of the physical Servers.


These are a safety mechanism that has been in existence since the time the Network and Internet took off. Firewalls ensure access only to authorized users, and there are external as well as internal firewalls. Some advanced firewalls check the source, destination, the data packets, and more.

Cloud firewalls are specially designed software that can detect, and mitigate unwanted access into the Cloud. The different types of Cloud firewalls that are currently in use are:

  • Software-as-a-service firewall (SaaS firewall): These are also referred to as Security-as-a-service (SECaaS) and Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS). They are specifically designed to protect an organization’s network and users.
  • Next-Gen Firewalls: In this option, the terms Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model come into play. They are designed to protect an organization’s own server and are deployed into a virtual data center, to secure all incoming or outgoing traffic of a Cloud.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

Typically, intrusion detection mechanisms are one of the key countermeasures that aid cybersecurity attacks. It is the process of monitoring all activities that happen in a system and further investigating them for any signs of possible security breaches or any such threats, or any activity that does not comply with the standard or established security practices.

They usually fall into two categories namely, host-based (HIDS), and network-based (NIDS) or application-based. The IDS is further classified into signature-based detection wherein the patterns are known, and anomaly-based attacks, wherein the patterns are not known. The Host-based ones monitor a single host and the network-based ones monitor the network traffic.

Based on previous attacks, a signature database is maintained and this helps the signature-based detection mechanisms accurately to monitor and map the intrusion to certain identified patterns. Information is gathered from multiple levels of a Cloud architecture for identifying patterns, and any new patterns are also meticulously updated in the signature database.

In anomaly detection mechanisms, they do not rely on anything specific as such, and simply identify any deviations from normal behavior at any level of the architecture. Multiple detection techniques such as statistical, machine learning and knowledge-based are used for this. In the statistical-based technique, certain random observations are relied upon to represent the system behavior. The knowledge-based mechanism uses pre-defined system knowledge, to capture any form of intrusion. The machine learning technique uses certain base models, created for the purpose of classifying data as normal or anomalous.

Monitoring, Metrics, and Logs

Cloud monitoring refers to the various actions, and methodologies that are used to monitor the complete Cloud systems, to arrive at benchmarks that dictate the levels of access and desired outcomes. Metrics, logs, audits, reports, and alerts are a big part of this monitoring activity, and the various aspects of Cloud being monitored are websites, applications, virtual machines, databases, networks, user access, and storage. Even application performances and user experiences can be monitored, to better understand the overall system behavior. The other aspects that should be monitored are cost, security, and data backup/recovery.


This happens to be one of the most important and effective aspects of Cloud security. Most Cloud Storage Solution providers offer encryption to their users to ensure the safety of the data being moved to the Cloud. This is more so in the case of sensitive data, and not just data, even the connections may be encrypted. The users are provided with the corresponding decryption keys so that they can seamlessly access and use the data.

The encryption and decryption are implemented in many ways to ensure the security of the data and only people with the right credentials can access the data. Besides, there are many regulatory compliances related to this like the HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOX, etc. which need to be adhered to, depending on the industry. Most Cloud Storage Solution providers do mention their compliances and encryption mechanisms in place so that you can make informed decisions.

Data Governance

Data loss can happen as data destruction, data corruption, or unauthorized access. Security breaches, malfunction of applications or the infrastructure, software or human errors, are the main reasons for data loss. Data protection measures to minimize data loss can be achieved using certain measures.

  • Disk level data protection like RAID, or Scale-out storage
  • Automated periodic data backups
  • Data replication

The efficiency of any Cloud Storage Solution will depend on its capabilities to prevent the loss and also to recover the data in the ultimate incident of a loss. Service Level Agreements may be out in place to ensure safety and damage recovery, in the worst case of any losses, as usually, that involves, business continuity, reputation, business loss and more. Data replication and backup, especially, the other set of data being stored in an alternate location helps even in the case of disasters like an earthquake or a fire. The complete set of measures put in place to address the Data loss and prevention is what is termed as the Data Governance of a Cloud environment.

Cloud Storage Security Risks

It is obvious that there are a lot of security risks when it comes to Cloud Storage security. This is why we have the industry putting so much emphasis on security, and sometimes despite the best intentions, breaches happen. Common cyber attacks that happen are ransomware, phishing, and denial of service. The cost of these attacks is said to touch billions of dollars and the projection is that it will touch $6 trillion by 2021. Obviously, security and data breaches are huge.

Most often, employees are also the cause of inadvertent breaches, due to lack of training or awareness about its importance. Sharing passwords, weak passwords, or a general lack of phishing mechanisms, etc. can lead to such situations. Multi-factor authentication can be put in place to ensure password leaks can be capped. Also, the commonly known attack signatures should have strong detection, prevention, and address mechanisms in place. Some security drills can also help employees to understand the seriousness of the issue at hand.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, it is evident that Cloud Storage Solutions are here to stay, and that these will evolve along with the industry and its expectations. Security of Cloud data will always be of prime importance and Cloud providers are well aware of this. Statistics indicate a healthy trend in more organizations moving to the Cloud, rather than away from it.

It is important for all organizations to create a Cloud strategy before making the move. Based on organizational goals and needs, all aspects should be discussed with the Cloud service provider and SLAs should be put in place in the contract to safeguard the interests. The benefits of shifting to the Cloud, by far, outweigh the risks at this point of time; and convenience and ease of doing business, and better customer experiences will make it imperative.

System Admin Guide to Cloud Storage

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Cloud storage is slowly replacing local on-premise storage systems as the medium of choice for IT enterprises. This flexible, new-age solution stores data remotely without taking up physical space in the workplace or gigabytes on your system. All your data gets transferred online and stored offsite by a third-party, ensuring you can access your files anywhere, anytime, as long as you have a working Internet connection.

How Cloud Storage Works

Cloud storage uses hosted servers to store your data. Hosting companies own and manage the remote servers. Given the number of cloud storage providers in the market right now, the maintenance and size of cloud storage systems vary considerably depending on the provider. Small cloud storage systems can consist of just one data server connected to the Internet, while some systems – such as server farms – occupy whole warehouses.

Many of the leading cloud storage providers like Amazon S3, Azure File System, Amazon Glacier, and Wasabi maintain large data centers like those to store data from across the world.

So which cloud storage is the best for IT system admins? Well, every provider has its share of pros and cons, and we’re here to help you make an informed decision for your business:

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)

This is one of the most durable, secure, and high-performing cloud storage services in the market right now. It not only manages accounts at each level but scales on demand and provides insights thanks to built-in analytics.

The web interface is extremely easy to use with excellent reliability and security. Highly configurable, Amazon S3 also boasts flexible storage and pricing options. It’s no wonder the storage provider has become the industry standard for IT data storage, especially when it comes to enterprise operations. However, the fact that Amazon developed S3 to be an IT-oriented solution doesn’t make it any less user-friendly.

Amazon S3 does not feature backup applications or storage sync. Instead, it comes bundled with IT-centric APIs and tools. Plus, desktop functionality requires third-party products and the pricing structure can be somewhat confusing. Overall, it is efficient, secure, and cost-effective.

AWS Glacier

If your IT firm deals with archival data that requires backup without the need for regular retrieval, Amazon Glacier is a perfect choice. This is one of the cheapest cloud-based data storage options that can be used as part of the whole suite of Amazon tools without leaving the familiar stack.

What makes AWS Glacier stand out is the efficient backup storage where the data becomes tiny fragments of the whole project, costing considerably less than other solutions. Your data stays secure. This special storage class trades access time for a price, which means reading data from AWS Glacier may take hours or even days. So, long-term access is your best bet.

The fact that bucket and data deletion requires inventory is a drawback. Also, data retrieval may prove expensive since the download quota for system admins is a small percent of the storage.

AWS Glacier constantly adds new, powerful additions such as:

  • The ability to upgrade restore speeds upon request
  • The ability to send objects directly
  • Additional, lower-priced storage tier called S3 Glacier Deep Archive
  • The ability to receive S3 event notifications after data retrieval

Such additions make this solution an even stronger option for long-term archival.

Azure Files

Azure Files provide fully managed file-sharing services in the cloud that can be accessed by IT companies. Mount Azure File shares on the cloud and cache it on Windows servers using Azure File sync for quick access.

Azure Files will prove useful if your IT company deals mainly with standard file extensions like .png, .docx, and .bak. It simplifies cloud development and can “lift and shift” apps. Azure Files, however, cannot split files and you must rely on third-party vendors.

In case of disaster recovery, Azure Files users can try Copy File to asynchronously copy file share to the destination user storage account.


Launched in May 2017, Wasabi is a relative newcomer in the cloud storage arena. However, the company has experienced tremendous success within a short period. This is mainly due to the solution itself, which is blindingly fast, affordable and secure, making it highly accessible to IT companies.

If you want a cloud storage option that is cheap and quick and is not concerned about a few rough edges, Wasabi is the best option out there. There is no sync tool available for the storage provider along with no official mobile apps. You must pay extra for telephonic support.

Price Comparison

Price is often the deciding factor when choosing the right cloud storage provider, as most system admins work with a limited IT budget. Here’s a detailed comparison of cost-efficiency between all the aforementioned services.

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 starts at $0.023 per GB every month for the first 50 TBs. This means that the price drops as the total data stored in Amazon S3 increases, and you pay precisely for what you use. This makes it difficult to provide an accurate entry-level cost estimate. However, there is a calculator available if you wish to estimate your total monthly cost.

A free tier is available from Amazon for the first 5 GB of data. This is a great way to determine if the service meets your IT company’s requirements.

AWS Glacier

Amazon S3 Glacier is the lowest price point available and it supports long-term data storage and backup. Access times can be quite slow so the price rises the quicker you wish to access your data. However, transferring data up to the service is free.

Azure Files

Standard Azure Files storage costs $0.06 per used GB. It costs $0.015 to create every 10,000 container operations, at the same rate for every 10,000 list operations.


Wasabi gives Amazon Glacier stiff competition when it comes to pricing at the low, low price point of $0.0049 per GB. There is a minimum waterline of 1 TB storage, however, which means users must pay a minimum of $5 per month. However, it’s still considerably cheaper than what Microsoft Azure and AWS charge other system admins.

Wasabi has eliminated download costs but you can still opt for the plan at the cheaper price of $0.0039 per GB for space. The basic version of the support plan is free, but premium costs $300 each month.

Concluding Remarks

Selecting the right cloud storage provider for your IT company requires careful consideration, especially from a business perspective. Consider your budget and options, and choose a provider who offers the optimal amount of bandwidth, data security, and storage. We always recommend trying any free plans available before reaching a conclusion!


Hybrid Cloud Architecture: What Is It and Why You Should Care?


The term “Cloud” is no stranger to most people in the IT industry, and for as long as data exists, the cloud is here to stay. Like many other services and technologies that have changed the paradigms in this volatile industry, the Cloud is evolving too. And as the evolution is dictated by the need of the industry (customers), it is happening at an astoundingly rapid pace — perhaps so fast that the latest advancements are difficult to keep up with. As such, the term “Hybrid Cloud” might seem like a foreign, new concept.

To understand the Hybrid Cloud and its architecture, one may need to recall when cloud services started taking shape. Perhaps, it was not until the launch of Amazon Web Services in 2002, that the industry sat up and took notice of the Cloud as a new contender in the domain of data storage, sharing and services. With Google joining the fray, it quickly became clear that cloud was the way to go for enterprises.

It was obvious that this service could scale seamlessly and handle dynamic loads, all while being easy on the pocket. But, of course, every new technology and service brings with it new challenges, and so did the Cloud. Outages, security and data breaches, control, reliability, and regulations, necessitated changes in the Cloud services.

Understanding the Cloud

The Cloud is a set of Servers, put together for special purposes. Typically, the two terms “Private Cloud” and “Public Cloud” were commonly associated with cloud computing. In a Private Cloud, teams and organizations owned the Cloud fully and had full access to it, so that no one else could share it.  On the other hand, the Public Cloud was like any other public service, which meant that people could ‘rent’ the Cloud or part of it and related services for a designated fee. Therefore, more than one unrelated entity could rent the Cloud, and it also meant that the Cloud was off-premises. A Private Cloud, on the other hand, could be off-site or on-site, as desired by the people owning/renting it.

Eventually, enterprises felt like they wanted to have the best of both worlds. This meant that they wanted to have access to a mixed environment which gave them access to the advantages of both Private and Public Clouds. In other words, organizations needed the flexibility of being able to shift between the two types of Clouds, as and when the need arose. This would mean a mix of on-site and off-premises environments, however, enabled with necessary access control for seamless workflows. This meant having a third party that enables the access and the movement between the two Clouds. And thus, the Hybrid Cloud was born.

Requisites for a Hybrid Cloud

The components needed for a Hybrid Cloud for your enterprise are:

  • Access to a Public Cloud platform like AWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP, etc.
  • A Private Cloud, hosted either on or off premises as per your choice
  • Provision of requisite network connectivity between the two, to function seamlessly

The point that enterprises must keep in mind while setting up their Private Cloud is that it should be compatible with the Public Cloud. This is because they have no control over the Public Cloud architecture and may not also be allowed customization or flexibility to a great extent. Depending on the needs and the business goals, the IT team of the enterprises setting up the Private Cloud may need to plan for containers or virtual machines (VM) to achieve their goals. It is while planning and setting up these components of the Private Cloud that the compatibility with the Public Cloud should be considered.

Why Hybrid Cloud?

We’ve listed numerous reasons above already, in the history of Cloud evolution. However, it is good to look at the benefits that can be derived from it, to understand this aspect better. Security is one of the major advantages of having a Hybrid Cloud, as discussions around this are what triggered its evolution.

The other key benefits and advantages are:

  • Flexibility – There is a comfort in being able to move non-sensitive information out to a readily available Cloud, based on demand. This is achieved through cloud bursting, which is the temporarily use of the Public Cloud when the demand exceeds the available Private Cloud resources. Also, enterprises could test different scenarios for a while and see what suits them best, and then move fully on to the Public or the Private Cloud if need be.
  • Scalability – Enterprises can easily scale up or down depending on their need, also due to cloud bursting.
  • Reduced cost – With good planning and effective use of the Hybrid Cloud, enterprises can manage to save significantly on their incurred cost.
  • Agility – This is a primary benefit of the Hybrid Cloud as it allows dynamic changes rather fast, as decision making can be faster based on available resources. Agility translates into competitive advantages, as agility counts for a lot.
  • Reliability – Reliability comes from having distributed Servers and storage using the Public and Private Cloud and also, having greater control over the data flows, especially for sensitive data. It also allows for faster access to mission-critical resources.

Suitability checks

While there are many enterprises that vouch for Hybrid Clouds, it is necessarily not suited for all. As mentioned above, your personal business goals could determine which type of Cloud you may want to go with. Small organizations with very low IT budgets, for example, may not want to venture into setting up a Private Cloud/Hybrid Cloud.

Speed is also another factor that could drive this decision as there could be the latency factor coming into the Hybrid Cloud. Because of the various components involved in the interaction, connectivity issues or disruptions may also happen. Ideally, this is not suited for mission-critical, always available kinds of workloads. But, the takeaway from all this, after all, is that Hybrid Cloud does provide enterprises with the best of both worlds, and the means to keep up in this highly competitive market.

System Admin Guide to IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one of the most important innovations of this era. It has completely changed the way companies harness and manage computing power. For those who don’t know anything about IaaS, this is a cloud computing model where vendors provide virtualized computer infrastructure for companies through the cloud.

IaaS allows companies to run their servers, networks, operating systems, data centers, and other computing resources without having to manage them on-premise. Therefore, companies get to save money that would otherwise have been spent on providing hardware and software. With that said, companies still have complete control over their data and services with the IaaS model.

According to Gartner, in 2018, the global IaaS market grew by 31.3 percent to $32.4 billion, and it is expected to be the top segment in the public cloud service market this year. The top five vendors in the IaaS sector are Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, Google, and IBM, respectively. IaaS vendors provide flexible subscription packages, which allows both small startups and behemoth companies to make the most of their computing infrastructure. Many of the fastest-growing companies in the world today, including Netflix, rely on IaaS to provide their services.


What’s the Role of a System Administrator in the IaaS Model

As a system administrator, one of the first things to consider when your organization is opting for IaaS is how the cloud computing model will affect your job. IaaS does not make the system administrator redundant. System admins are still needed to set up, deploy, monitor, and manage the virtual platform. While these duties would be nothing new for experienced system admins, it is important to understand your company’s requirements, educate yourself on the latest techniques, and study the different IaaS platforms available.

While the role of system admins may be slightly different when organizations depend on IaaS, they are still at the heart of corporate IT. It is the duty of the system admin to ensure that the company’s virtual platforms are secure and are running smoothly without any hiccups. This may seem simple, but can be onerous and time-consuming. There are many things to monitor, like the IaaS platform, virtualization software, end-user applications, networks, and more.

Since we’ve covered some of the basics, let’s briefly look at the top IaaS vendors today.


Top IaaS Vendors


  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services is the leading IaaS vendor in the world. There is a vast range of tools to choose from as well as third-party add-ons. AWS offers many services that you will not get from rival IaaS vendors. Also, it supports different operating systems. You can use AWS to build any type of cloud service that you need. Its flexible pricing strategy makes AWS suitable for both big and small companies. If you are looking for a sophisticated IaaS vendor that has all the tools you’ll possibly need to maximize your virtual computing infrastructure, AWS is your best choice.


  1. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is another popular IaaS vendor. It started out as a platform as a service (PaaS) platform when it was launched in 2010. Azure has grown over the years. It is the perfect IaaS service for creating, testing, and managing apps. However, its uses are not limited to this. As you may have guessed, Azure’s virtual infrastructure depends on Microsoft’s data centers. This platform is compatible with both Windows and Linux operating systems. Azure’s prices are quite flexible. Depending on what you need, you can opt for the free version of this service or the higher enterprise-level version. The cost of the service depends on which services you are using.


  1. Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud is another big name in the IaaS market. Alibaba Cloud is the number one IaaS vendor in Asia, according to Gartner. The company has a 19.6 percent share in the Asia Pacific market. Alibaba provides most of the same services that you will get from AWS and Azure.  Alibaba Cloud is available around the world and supports different operating systems, including Linux and Ubuntu. Alibaba Cloud is lacking in terms of customization options. However, you can tailor it to your organization’s requirements. While there have been some complaints about its stability, the platform is generally stable. Like its competitors, Alibaba Cloud uses a subscription payment model.


  1. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform is one of the most trusted IaaS vendors on the market. It comes with a range of cloud-based services, and you can scale the platform according to your requirements. It supports Linux as well as Windows. Although Google Cloud Platform is not the number one in terms of popularity, it is one of the most robust. The IaaS platform depends on Google’s multiple service centers across the globe. Google Cloud Platform is easy to use, and it is available for GCP users. The main downside of Google’s IaaS is that it is not as cheap as AWS. However, it is very reliable and provides all the tools you could possibly need to maximize your cloud infrastructure.


  1. IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud is a powerful full-stack cloud vendor. It is an IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS platform. IBM Cloud provides most of the same IaaS services that you will get from other platforms as well as some unique services. For example, you can harness the power of IBM Watson AI through the service. Although IBM Cloud has a lot of excellent features, it is not ranked as high as AWS and Azure. IBM Cloud has a flexible subscription model. You can choose to pay for the service hourly or monthly, depending on your needs. This IaaS platform is suitable for both big and small companies.


  1. OVH Cloud

OVH Cloud is a major player in the IaaS market, although it is not as popular as some of the vendors on this list. OVH is creating new data centers across the world to improve the quality of the service it provides. This IaaS platform is easy to use and comes with automated backups. OVH Cloud is very stable and comes with most of the same tools you will get from popular IaaS vendors. OVH Cloud is particularly suited for small companies due to its affordable pricing. However, it can also handle the demands of large companies.


Author – Rahul Sharma