Before Comparing top Solutions, let's see how to select the best cloud storage for business
Not all businesses are same hence you should select a solution that solves unique needs of your business. Here are the Top 20 factors to consider when selecting a cloud storage.
- Remote/Mobile Access – secure access to remote files from variety of devices including mobile devices
- File Synchronization – synchronize across devices and operating systems, including mobile devices
- File Sharing – option to share files as link with users inside or outside an organization. Granular file sharing options such as private, public, password protected sharing.
- Team Collaboration – common team folders for teams to sync and share files. Ability to send messages, comment on files and have threads of conversation
- Effective User Interface – a good solution would have a right balance between ‘ease of use’ and richness of features. Intuitive features such as “drag and drop” files for upload.
- Virtual Drive aka “streaming” or “on-demand sync” – mount remote files as local files. Files are downloaded only when they are accessed and edited. Consumers get access to all their remote files without using much local memory.
- Content Creation, Collaboration – offer integration with Microsoft Office 365, Collabora or Google Docs to create, edit and co-author files.
- Administrator Tools – user management, user policy management, centralized device dashboard, real-time performance reporting and security tools.
- Integration – connect with existing infrastructure, enterprise file servers and storage.
- Customization – custom branding across user interfaces (logos, url customization), communications (emails) and policies.
- Data Governance and Compliance – granular file access control, user policy management, centralized devices dashboard, and data residency. Compliance with regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), HIPAA
- Search – indexes content across repositories for efficient search, and offers advance search using patterns and search filters.
- Security and Data Protection – remote data wiping, strong encryption, data loss prevention (DLP), two factor authentication (2FA) and alerts on unusual activities.
- Content Analytics – provide insights on system usage, user collaborations, external interactions and risk/ vulnerabilities.
- Basic Content Management – versioning, metadata classification, user policy management, light workflows.
- APIs – a wide range of APIs to extend existing features and integrate with other applications.
- Data Portability – ability to move files to another system. Limited vendor lock-in.
- Identity Management – integrates with standard enterprise identity Active Directory (AD), and Single Sign On etc.
- Deployment models – deploy solutions across public, hybrid or private clouds, and on-premises.
- Total Cost of Ownership – some solutions offer some unique cost saving features e.g. FileCloud offers features such as unlimited free partner accounts, which could save you thousands of dollars.
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Check out the cloud storage offerings that provide the best returns on your investment by virtue of their ease of use, price, stability, and feature sets:
ownCloud consists of a suite of client-server software meant to create and facilitate file hosting services. The service has a lot of takers, thanks in part to its low-cost and feature-rich environment. As the price of cloud storage continues to increase elsewhere, ownCloud has maintained its competitive market pricing.
The service is open source and can be set up extremely fast. Most web hosts are capable of handling ownCloud without any issues. It is possible to customize your admin profile and login page. ownCloud is quite intuitive and if you were on the lookout for customized storage you could control, ownCloud fits the bill perfectly.
However, the cloud storage is not without its share of flaws. For starters, the documentation is not exhaustive and you might encounter a few errors in the beginning that can only be sorted by your host. Also, being an open source service, ownCloud lacks a strong support system.
Dropbox is a name to reckon with when it comes to cloud storage providers. Specifically targeted towards organizations and enterprises, the service comes with a host of business-rich features such as collaboration. The referral system is unique, because it gives you a chance to increase your storage capabilities. Although you start off with a disappointing 2GB of free storage, you can easily increase this to 16GB without spending a single penny if you link your Dropbox account with your social media and refer your connections to try out the service.
When you upgrade to a Dropbox Business subscription, you can easily collaborate on work and every person enjoys a lot of space in his or her personal Dropbox account. If that’s not all, you can access improved features, such as add-ons for Gmail and file versioning and recovery.
The reason why so many companies pick Dropbox is often due to its fast rate of syncing and MS Office integration capabilities. Another significant advantage is access to Dropbox Paper, a collaborative workspace that enables teams to create, review, revise, share, manage, and organize early ideas. The service supports everything from text documents to images, videos to code.
As far as drawbacks are concerned, the maximum storage space offered by Dropbox is 1TB. Plus, it is quite expensive and you need some idea of cloud storage to harness all of its capabilities. However, the most concerning issue may be the absence of 24 X 7 support for users.
NextCloud is unique and innovative because it is a do-it-yourself cloud storage solution that tailors the cloud locker as per the needs of your business. The service differs considerably from other online cloud storage providers; it offers free software that users have to download and install cloud storage services on their personal server. The benefit? Well, using a server located right in your home network allows for rapid cloud storage services. The service supports full encryption, so you can make sure the details never leave the home network.
For companies that lack any prior IT or server experience, you have the opportunity to buy a preconfigured NextCloud Box from the site, which features 1TB of storage space and supports the cost-effective Raspberry Pi board for syncing your valuable data.
Box is another well-known service that is easy to use and offers a host of powerful business features. The service is compatible with numerous apps and the business plans promise improved security measures. You can either opt for the 10GB free option or go for the Business Plans that provide unlimited storage and advanced collaboration options. It’s a huge step-up from the free accounts that have a file upload limit of 250MB.
Box is a veteran in the cloud storage industry, and you can use it in conjunction with apps like Office 365 and Google Docs. Customization options are dime-a-dozen with this service, allowing you to integrate and sync the account with different services for storage. You can download the Box Sync client for Windows and Mac, but there is no official client for the Android platform.
Egnyte lets you share files and collaborate easily with colleagues through your choice of devices and apps, anytime, anywhere. The service is incredibly well put-together with a host of options, such as integration with Mac and Windows. The permission structure is simple and you can download and use the software on your desktop without any hassle. There are hardly any chinks in the security of this program, even when accessing files on the go.
However, Egnyte has a few drawbacks that mar the user experience and prevent it from being near-perfect. First, the learning curve for this cloud storage is quite steep and you do not receive any support for push groups using SSO. Syncing problems are also quite common. Last, the quality of customer service leaves a lot to be desired, with responses being sluggish and not very useful.
ShareFile is a good choice for businesses both small and large, supporting all sorts of workflow requirements and document-centric tasks. The service is easily deployable with solid support and ease of use. The provider stresses more on keeping client information secure and adopts a no-nonsense, professional look for this service.
The downloading screen is a bit complex and misleading. Plus, the licensing scheme is somewhat tricky and you need to understand the plans thoroughly; otherwise, you might end up exceeding your budget. Another frequent issue is the generation of a new link every time you want to share a link on the same folder. This gets confusing for users working on a single folder.
We’ve kept FileCloud for last on this list because there’s a lot to unpack. A self-hosted enterprise file sharing and sync, FileCloud can be deployed either on-premise or on the public cloud, separating it instantly from the competition. Users enjoy full visibility and control even after the files have been uploaded to the servers. This level of deployment flexibility is unprecedented and one of the strongest suites of FileCloud.
You have the option of integrating the FileCloud storage services with current user home directories and file shares easily without having to upload the necessary details to the FileCloud servers. Also, the pricing plan makes it worth your while, with 100 users enjoying the services for roughly $5,000.
One of the biggest features FileCloud offers to users is mobile or remote access, enabling them to access their documents from different devices, including mobile devices. File synchronization is also supported by this EFSS allowing you to synchronize files across multiple OS and devices. You also benefit from the file sharing option, which enables you to send files to other users both outside and within the company in the form of a link. Also of interest are the granular file sharing options, including password protected, public, and private sharing.
Collaboration is something that is a must in any good cloud storage service, and FileCloud is no exception. The service allows teams to sync and share files, share messages with one another, comment on files, and create conversation threads. What’s more, the user interface for the FileCloud service offers the right mix of great features and ease of use. Of particular interest is the drag and drop intuitive feature that makes uploading files a piece of cake.
FileCloud lets you mount your remote files in the form of local files thanks to virtual drive or on-demand sync. You can download the files once you’ve accessed and edited them. Users enjoy remote file access without consuming too much of the local memory. You can integrate with existing enterprise file servers, storage, and infrastructure. What’s more, you have plenty of administrator tools at your disposal, including user policy management, user management, real-time performance reporting, a centralized device dashboard, and security tools.
Customization is possible to some extent with FileCloud, especially the custom branding across user interfaces, policies, and communications. The service also supports advanced search thanks to the use of search filters and patterns. You also get the advantage of strong security and data protection, including encryption, remote data wiping, two factor authentication, data loss protection, and alerts regarding any unusual activities.
Another added advantage of FileCloud is content analytics which offers insights regarding user collaborations, system usage, risks, and external interactions. Basic content management is also supported in the form of user policy management, metadata classification, versioning, and light workflows. Multiple APIs extend the current crop of features and help integrate the service with other applications. Thanks to data portability, you can move the files to a different system and at the same time, avail limited vendor lock-in.
The FileCloud solution can be deployed across hybrid, private, or public clouds, and even on-premises. And thanks to added identity management capabilities, you can integrate the service with standard Active Directory and Single Sign On for your enterprise. The unlimited number of free partner accounts allows your company to save thousands of dollars.