Establishing an information technology (IT) infrastructure can be extremely complex and costly for new and the ongoing businesses. Limited expertise, resources, and time usually constrain how much small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can accomplish.
Luckily, software firms have taken into account this demographic by developing tools which can be either configured to support more modest needs or specifically designed for SMBs.
Business cloud storage is one of the greatest investments SMBs can make. It can enhance the capability of small business owners to share, access, and protect the data of their company, especially when they have a limited capacity -or desire -to manage on-site technology resources.
Undoubtedly, transferring data to the business cloud storage has its own set of concerns, ranging from availability to security (vulnerability to breaches); i.e. will an outage of service prevent you from getting to your data when you require it. Case in point: a recent disruption on the Google Drive and some other services. But the cost and the convenience benefits of business cloud storage are such that a high number of SMBs are taking the plunge.
This post will list ten of the best cloud storage services for SMBs, covering topics from accounting and project management (PM) to data backup and customer relationship management (CRM).
SugarSync is an online backup file-sharing, and best business cloud storage solution which works in the background and syncs data across mobile devices and desktop. SugarSync for Business also includes an Outlook plugin which allows you email links to files of large size rather than attaching the files themselves.
This is a convenient way to get around the size limitations for the email attachments. You can get started by simply downloading the SugarSync app and dragging and dropping your folders and files. SugarSync provides 5 GB of free storage for all new accounts.
Price: If you require extra storage, individual plans start at $7.49 per month for 100 GB of the cloud storage. 30-day trial; $55 a month or $550 per year for up to 3 users and 1 TB of storage; $125 for each additional user.
2. Google Drive
Google Drive is not that self-driving vehicle you have heard about; it is the company’s cloud-based sharing service and file storage paired with the SaaS-based productivity suite (previously known as Google Docs) that allows you create and even edit documents via the browser.
Google Drive has a number of neat tricks too, like the ability to display files, even when you do not have the program they were developed with, installed on your PC (handy for Adobe formats like Photoshop and Illustrator). And it ties in with other Google services and products you may already use, such as the Gmail, Chrome browser, and Google+.
Price: Personal accounts: 15 GB for free; 100 GB for $1/99 a month; 1 TB for $9.99 a month; 10 TB for $99.99 a month; 20 TB for $199.99 a month; and 30 TB for $299.99 a month. No yearly plan pricing is available.
If you are the type of person who sweeps the room for bugs before you utter a word (or are dealing with very sensitive business information), SpiderOak’s “Zero-Knowledge Environment” may be your best choice.
Most cloud data storage providers encrypt your data while you are uploading it and store it an encrypted format on their servers too. But since many also store your encryption keys or password, your data is vulnerable to breaches or to anybody with the physical access to the servers (i.e. staff members of cloud data storage providers).
By contrast, SpiderOak allows you develop a password on your own computer and keep it there, so a company employee cannot use it to decrypt your data. (Caveat -this also means that if you forget your password or hint, your data cannot be recovered!)
Price: 2 GB for free (60-day trial); The plans starting at $7 per month for 30 GB and up to 5 TB. Pay annually or monthly. 1 TB for only $12 per month.
4. Carbonite Business
Much like MozyPro, the Carbonite Business will back up folders and files on Mac and Windows PCs, while the “Business Premier” upgrade adds support for the Windows servers (but does not handle Mac-based servers like MozyPro does).
Distinguishing features of the Carbonite Business include attractive pricing -less than $1 per GB annually- and a free “Valet Install” option-i.e. Carbonite will install the software remotely for you if you do not want to do it yourself.
Price: 30-day trial; $270/year for 250 GB to share between unlimited computers (no servers); $599/year for 500 GB (includes Windows file servers); add more storage to any plan.
5. Acronis Backup to Cloud
Many online backup services -including the ones listed above- stick to backing up folders and files rather than whole computers, so in the event of a full system failure, you must re-install the applications and operating system before restoring your data.
Acronis Backup to Cloud backs up full images of the servers, workstations, or virtual machines, enabling you to restore anything from one file to the entire server.
Price: Workstation (unlimited storage) $99 per year; Servers (1-3, 500 GB storage), $499 per year (each server); VMware (2 TB) $1,699 per year.
6. Dropbox for Business
Small Business File Sharing, Storage, and Syncing - Dropbox for Business: Many people use free and extremely easy-to-use basic service of Dropbox to sync and share individual files between the PCs and/or mobile devices and cloud.
Dropbox for Business bulks up to offers 1 TB of storage per user, support many users, additional security settings, activity monitoring/centralized administration, and the capability to track and recover any previous versions of files.
Price: 14-day trial; $12.50 per user a month starting with up to five users; 1 TB of storage per user.
Unlike the best business cloud storage services highlighted so far, the idea behind Box isn’t so much to keep files that are stored online synced with the copies on different devices (though you can certainly do that), but to the centralize business data in the cloud data storage for easier collaboration.
Box provides many noteworthy features, including the search for text with the content of files (not only the file names), the capability to share screencasts and screenshots from your desktop, and integration with a variety of third-party services.
Price: 14-day trial; $15 per user a month (more than three users) with unlimited storage.
8. Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive provides a generous free storage and excellent integration with the Windows operating systems. If you are using Windows Phone or Windows 8 for instance, Onedrive will sync device/system apps and settings as well as folders and files.
But it isn’t just for Windows -you can get OneDrive for iOS, Mac, and Android, as well. Many people can work together and edit documents concurrently in real-time and from any device -PCs, tablets, Macs, and even smartphones. Upload videos or photos from your tablet or phone.
One particularly great feature is “Fetch” that allows you pull files off an online PC (Windows only) even if you have not previously uploaded them to the OneDrive.
Price: 15 GB free with sign up; 100 GB for $1.99 per month; 200 GB for $3.99 per month; 1 TB with the Office 365 Personal for $6.99 per month.
Online Backup for Small Business: MozyPro can automatically back up your crucial files and folders which reside on laptops, desktops, or servers. The company’s software is compatible with both Mac and Windows (including Mac-based servers), and it can also backup data from the ubiquitous SQL and Windows Server applications Exchange. Mozy charges a flat rate based on the amount of storage you use, rather than the number of computers you require to protect (though there’s a surcharge if you want to back up servers).
Price: 30-day trial; $40 a month for 100 GB on unlimited computers; $12.99 a month add-on to backup servers; discounts available for one and two-year subscriptions.
CrashPlan does not limit its support to Mac and Windows computers; it works with Solaris and Linux systems too. It also has a special pricing scheme which allows you select between backing up an unlimited number of computers for a specific amount of data or an unlimited amount of data per computer.
Price: 30-day trial; $10/user per month; unlimited storage for 1-20 desktops/laptops, unlimited storage file and type, unlimited versions; endpoint restore and backup.
Whether you need to share, store and sync files or just backup your business data, these cloud data storage providers can accommodate the needs of SMBs.