In the business world, information is considered useful only if it is easily accessible, secure, and regularly used in the workflow of the company. You can probably see where wanting the best cloud storage solution is going to be important!
Taking into account the fact that more and more devices appear on the market – smartphones, tablets, laptops, even desktops – this evokes a need for instant access to a company’s information. And what else except cloud storage can grant 24/7 access to the information from any device? With cloud storage we can upload any content into the cloud – anywhere, anyhow, and anytime.
The Best Cloud Storage is Within Reach of Any SMB
Small businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to give employees access to information anytime they need it. Even the most conservative enterprises have changed their practices, and according to the Nasuni research in 2013, there is over 1 exabyte of content stored in the cloud.
Given the facts above, we thought it would make sense to find out the most popular cloud storage providers for small businesses. But before looking for cloud providers, we’d like to find out why it’s beneficial to store the content in the cloud.
What Does the Term “Cloud Storage” Stand for?
Cloud storage has become an integral part of both business and daily lives. But just what is cloud storage? It can be more easily explained than you think. Cloud storage refers to the particular online space where you can store the data. Online storage solutions are made of a group of virtual servers that back up your data (just like external hard drives or USB flash drives), but with a main difference – managing data on the cloud needs the internet.
Another key point to consider: the cloud can be used not only for keeping your data, but also for running various cloud-based apps. Sometimes the cloud can perform both functions as Quickbooks does, but it’s rather an exception than a rule.
In other words, storage is only one aspect of what the cloud does. You may think of the cloud as a massive external hard drive connected to a computer via the internet, but not by wires.
Benefits of Cloud Storage Solutions
- Instant access to the data stored in the cloud at any time
- Any software licenses or particular tools required to use the cloud
- Reduced expenses for hardware
- No need for powerful (and expensive) computers
- Cut down costs for IT support
- Data storage space doesn’t require high maintenance
- Ability to grow business
- You pay for the cloud only when you use it
- Any complex problems are solved in minutes
The 3 Cloud Types Offered by the Best Cloud Storage Providers
Generally, there are three types of clouds – public, private, and hybrid. By choosing a cloud solution for your business, you should consider what data you are going to store in the cloud. Let’s focus on the types of cloud storage solutions more closely.
Public cloud services provide a storage solution for multiple users. It means that your information will be stored with the data of other companies as well as individuals. As a rule, public clouds use global data centers all over the world to store your data. Thus, storing information in the cloud is more secure than keeping it on an in-house server. When using public clouds, companies are charged with a utility payment. In other words, you pay only for the space you are using.
Private cloud solutions provide a more secure and dedicated environment that is protected under the firewall of the company. It means more control and customization over the data. But still, if all the data is stored in one place, there is a much higher chance of its loss or other damages. In case of a fire or any other natural disaster, your data can vanish into thin air.
Hybrid cloud services are a mix of private and public cloud storage solutions. This model takes the best features of public and private cloud storage services. Hybrid cloud services offer more flexibility and more deployment options as well as greater security, since the data is stored on-premises as well as on virtual servers.
The Best Cloud Storage Providers Offering Free and Paid Services
There are so many different cloud storage services as well as providers. It has always been a challenge to pick the best one. While choosing a provider, you have to consider a great many things including security, ease of use, accessibility, and availability. Not all cloud options are equal in their performance or security. Here we have picked three top cloud providers for SMBs that offer free as well as paid cloud storage services.
Facts to know:
- Ideal for file sharing and storage
- 15GB of storage space for free
Google Drive is probably the most well-known cloud storage solution, with easy access to the data at any time. Google Drive is an excellent cloud solution for both individuals as well as small businesses. Drive has a wide range of tools to facilitate collaboration, and Google Docs for Microsoft Word allows document creation and editing with the ability to save or share with the team, as well as other employees.
Moreover, Google Drive has no restrictions on what to store. You can store any type of file.
Facts to know:
- Ideal for syncing, sharing, and storage
- 15GB free for registered users
OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive. But unlike the cloud services from Google, OneDrive is seamlessly integrated into the Windows operating system. So if you use Windows for running your business, OneDrive is a clear winner. Even if you have a wide range of devices you can integrate OneDrive in all of them, whether they run on Android, iOS, Mac OS, etc.
Like Google Drive, OneDrive by Microsoft offers a wide range of useful tools, including the ability to work in teams on the same document. But OneDrive has something unique to offer – Fetch. Fetch allows using files stored on a PC even if it isn’t connected to the internet.
Dropbox for Business
Facts to know:
- Ideal for sharing, syncing, and storage
- $12.50/ month for each user (1TB of storage)
Dropbox is a popular cloud storage solution for private needs. It offers free space for everyone looking for cloud storage. When it comes to small businesses, Dropbox excels. It’s an ideal cloud storage solution if you have a few employees. Each user gets 1TB of storage to store and share files within multiple devices, as well as among users. But in case you need a cloud storage solution for 10+ employees, Dropbox trails far behind OneDrive and Google Drive services.
The Best Cloud Storage is a Secure Service that Fits Your Business Needs
There are a great variety of cloud storage services. It can be whatever you want it to be. Just choose the one that best suits your own business needs – and never compromise on data security!
Are you using a cloud storage solution? What’s your top choice? Share your perspective in the comments!