For small businesses, it has become increasingly important to find an efficient way to store files and data. Files regarding your suppliers, customers, and other contacts should be kept safe – otherwise, it may cost you a lot of time and money. Aside from safely storing the files, data should also be easily accessible from anywhere, by any authorized user.
However, small businesses may not have the budget for storage and hardware maintenance costs. This is why many SMBs have begun to utilize cloud storage solutions.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Before cloud storage, businesses would store their data on hard drives or memory cards. However, these can be easily damaged or lost and other users won’t be unable to access files without the physical device. Some businesses would also store their data on physical servers hosted in a dedicated data center, but this can also be inefficient and costly to maintain.
Cloud storage changes all that. A cloud service provider allots a fixed-size server space to clients for their data storage. While the hosting company owns and maintains the hardware, the client can store their data safely. Because it’s on the cloud, multiple users have non-stop access for the company files.
While the concept of cloud storage has been around since the 1960s, improved Internet infrastructure has allowed cloud computing to expand and gain popularity. Businesses are now moving to cloud hosting, as it reduces the cost of maintenance and improves data security.
Benefits of Storing Data on Cloud
It’s hard not to have backups for critical files. If you’re storing important information on a physical hard drive, you may lose all your data in case a theft, fire, or accident occurs. This is why it’s necessary to keep extra copies of data onto a cloud storage, if not make it your primary data storage center. The benefits of storing data on cloud include:
- 24/7 file access from any device through mobile apps or desktop devices, so you can work anywhere.
- Easy file sharing with colleagues, so it’s quicker to get everyone to collaborate.
- Tighter security, since you can limit who can access which files.
- Convenient backup for files, since it only takes seconds to set up compared to installing additional physical units.
- More cost savings, because you won’t need to spend a lot of money on installing and maintaining physical servers or hard drives.
Top 7 SMB-Friendly Cloud Storage Options
1) G Suite
The Google Cloud Platform has a security-first mindset, so don’t be surprised that the G Suite combines security with versatile functionality. Encryption technology, regular transparency reports, and third-party audits are some of the ways G Suite protects your data.
Depending on your budget, you can opt to subscribe with the G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise plans. On a basic level, G Suite provides a business email with Gmail, video and voice conferencing, shared calendars, 24/7 support, 30 GB cloud storage, security admin controls, and Google’s office applications: Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets. Even more features will be added once you subscribe to Business and Enterprise.
Overall, G Suite is a reliable cloud storage option with minimal downtimes and maximum security, so productive collaboration among your team will be a breeze.
2) DropBox Business
DropBox is one of the oldest cloud storage facilities, serving over 300,000 teams through DropBox for Business. It’s sufficient for many user needs and it’s incredibly simple to use. DropBox utilizes encryption technology to keep data safe, and the storage space can be customized according to your needs.
Although it has no online editing tool, DropBox is a great service for file storage. Not only does it offer 120 days of file recovery and the option to rewind to older file versions, but it can also sync and share files easily – even with users who don’t have a DropBox account. Two-factor authentication and full audit records of user activity, sharing, and controls help keep your files safe on DropBox.
It’s an extensive, all-around service well worth its price since business users get Office 365 integration and priority dedicated support. Above all, its user-friendly interface is familiar to many employees, so onboarding to DropBox won’t be a problem.
3) Microsoft OneDrive For Business
OneDrive for Business is Microsoft’s cloud hosting services. OneDrive’s key features are its storage, cross-platform syncing, and powerful search capacities. With its own downloadable software syncing remote and local data, third-party apps can also be integrated to work within the platform. In terms of security, Microsoft OneDrive offers two-factor authentication.
Compared to other cloud service facilities, OneDrive has a reasonable price point for all its features. It’s easy to store, share, and sync files – perfect for collaborating with colleagues or offline viewing. The documents are also editable on a browser. For premium plans, you can access Microsoft Office applications, email hosting, and video conferencing support.
Although the cloud storage itself isn’t the largest in the market, the all-in-one deal makes it perfect for Microsoft-using businesses. Equipped with artificial intelligence, accessing files and projects through OneDrive is always quick and intuitive.
4) Box for Business
Box for Business is designed for personal and small business use. It offers a lot of great features, but remains straightforward enough that users can easily adjust to the platform.
Basic features for Box include secure file sharing, file syncing, cross platforms, IT and admin controls, enterprise-level security, and dedicated technical support. Businesses can also request customization under the enterprise plan, so you can have active directory, Microsoft Office 365, and the maximum allowed file size.
With plan upgrades, you can also get mobile access, desktop access, two-factor authentication, increased storage, advanced user and security reporting, data loss prevention, and custom branding if needed.
Tresorit is a cloud storage service based in Switzerland, offering maximum security compared to other rivals. Aside from standard syncing and file-sharing features any ordinary cloud storing facility would have, Tresorit includes end-to-end encryption for zero-knowledge users who want to prioritize their privacy.
Tresorit allows you to share large individual files with password-protected links, ransomware protected interface, and easy control over user and device permissions. Tresorit pairs robust security with a clean interface that is simple to use. It won’t be difficult to navigate through the various apps, and you can even add branding to the interface itself. While it may be more expensive than its competitors, the heightened security is worth the price. Tresorit is ideal for businesses who want to use strongly protected cloud storage without added fuss.
6) Egnyte Business
Egnyte Business is a versatile service that combines cloud and hybrid on-premise storage solutions, so it can easily meet the needs of users. While other products may offer more flexibility with pricing or customizable features, Egnyte is a reliable, secure cloud storage and sharing platform.
While other solutions can do more, Egnyte Business focuses on secure, seamless cloud storing and sharing. Its loyal user base of 13,000 businesses can attest to its reliability and stress-free functionality. With Egnyte Business, you can include add-ons or integrations with third-party products such as Slack, Salesforce, and SmartSheet. The security aspects of Egnyte Business are also incredibly strong – businesses can manage their own encryption keys, so even Egnyte employees won’t have access to data without permission.
7) Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform launched by Amazon in 2006. What sets it apart is its pay-as-you-go model, where the price plan scales depending on which functions a user needs. Aside from custom pricing and basic cloud services, AWS has over 100 computation and dedicated application features: mobile data backup, website hosting, business apps hosting, and even gaming.
Companies interested in using special tools would benefit from AWS all-in-one offerings for augmented reality and virtual reality development, Internet of Things synchronization, big data management and analytics, artificial intelligence and the like. It’s perfect for businesses who require multiple cloud functions and a customizable payment plan.
Qualities To Look For In A Cloud Storage Facility
If you decided to shift from a hard drive to a cloud service facility, you’ve already made the first good decision. However, how will you choose between all the cloud storage options available? Here are some qualities you can look for that will help you find the right cloud provider:
- Reliability: Businesses need a cloud server they can rely on, with minimal outage occurrences. It’s best to find a cloud storage facility that has a good track record and few customer complaints.
- Scalability: One benefit of a cloud service is that you can easily scale up to the size you need, wherever you need it. Your cloud storage facility should be flexible enough to adapt to what your business needs.
- Security: Businesses store important documents in a cloud, so it’s critical to find a server that provides maximum security for your files. Find a provider that has multi-factor authentication and encryption functions built into their service.
Onboard With Abacus Today
If you still don’t have a dedicated IT team, why not register with Abacus – a managed service provider with a wide range of IT solutions. We offer everything from break/fix services, project work contracts, and fixed-budget all-in-one support plans. From managing Cloud storage to creating robust cybersecurity systems, let Abacus support your business. Sign up with us today.