Best Cloud Storage and File Sharing for Business
File sharing sites have become increasingly popular over the past few years and the popularity has spread over into business use. These sites now offer businesses a secure and convenient way to share files with partners and sometimes even customers.
10 Best Cloud Storage and File Sharing Services
When it comes to business, rather than size, there are specific needs that usually need to be catered to. These range from price to team collaboration and not all can be found in each service. These services aren’t exactly equal but can be used in similar ways.
1. OneDrive for Business
There’s no doubt that Microsoft is king both in Operating Systems and business applications. Because of this powerful ecosystem, it can be incredibly tempting to work with OneDrive for Business, especially when it comes so well integrated into many Microsoft products such as Windows and Office.
OneDrive for Business lets you store documents and other files in the Cloud and work on them there no matter where you are. It also enables key business features such as sharing and collaboration, all secured by encryption that complies with the security needs that most organizations have.
OneDrive for Business Pricing: From $5 per month
- Microsoft ecosystem integration
- Relatively cheap
- May not integrate well with non-Microsoft products
2. Dropbox for Business
Where the consumer version of Dropbox offers mostly just storage space in the Cloud, Dropbox for business is a beast of a different nature. Building on its basic storage capabilities, Dropbox for Business adds in the vital element of collaboration.
It offers business users a single point of view that organizes entire working spaces combining content and tool. You can sync and work on local files, cloud-based content, and Dropbox’s Paper docs easily and share them with your team.
Dropbox for Business Pricing: From $12.50 / user / month
- Generous storage space
- Very secure
- Minimal workflow features
3. Google Drive
Where Microsoft rules the Operating System and Office, Google rules the Web and mobile. As such it is a serious contender when it comes to the Cloud space, especially with the extensive and agile G Suite of applications.
Google Drive works well in that ecosystem and can be used not just for file storage but also teamwork and collaboration on documents. It further sweetens the deal with online tools that let you work with all those files from any browser that has an Internet connection – or even offline.
Google Drive for Business Pricing: From $5.40 / user / month
- G Suite integration
- Good collaborative features
- May be too highly Google-centric
4. Apple iCloud
Apple may be one of the most popular brands in the world but when it comes to business, Microsoft may have its goat there. However, it does have its own Cloud storage feature in the form of iCloud. This isn’t really meant for businesses as it is mainly just a storage system.
iCloud doesn’t come with an extensive tool ecosystem or collaborative features, but it is tightly integrated into the Apple way. This means that for companies that have converted to use the Apple system, it can be a simple and free way to share files.
Apple iCloud Pricing: Pricing is region-dependant
- Part of the Apple ecosystem
- Has a free option
- More for consumer than business
FileCloud is where the big boys play and offer a complete range of Cloud Storage solutions to business users. It wasn’t designed for the average consumers and even at the low end of the scale, it helps create a secure file sharing environment for entire servers.
It helps companies built their own ecosystem of file sharing servers and associated client accounts, letting them retain full management and ownership of the data. This is vital in some organizations and even in some countries to comply with data regulation laws for business. Of course, you can also opt to make use of their servers as well.
FileCloud Pricing: From $4.20 / user/ month
- Can opt for self-hosted server use
- Multiple regulations compliant
- No consumer option
ShareFile by Citrix is another business-specific Cloud storage system that integrates many features vital to big businesses. This includes not just file sharing and collaborative features but an abundance of controls for better governance.
It helps in the automation of workflow which can be customized for each organization’s specific needs. Controllers can monitor document flow and intercede in real-time, giving their feedback or even carrying out approvals or making changes.
Uniquely, the system can support the recognition of legally binding e-signatures across the entire system and real-time tracking plus high levels of encryption to secure it all.
ShareFile Pricing: From $10 / user / month
- Unlimited storage
- Comprehensive file sharing
- Can be expensive
Based in the US, Box is another business-oriented Cloud storage system highly geared towards content management. It works not just within a company’s ecosystem but also extends collaborative and sharing features towards partners and clients.
The system is highly secure and complies with a ton of corporate governance requirements including global regulations such as GDPR, HIPPA, and more. Aside from storage and collaboration, Box also has a solid reporting system to handle the entire workflow.
Box Pricing: From $5.80 / user / month
- Strongly business-oriented
- Highly detailed workflow control
- Each plan needs a minimum of 3 users
Trying to spread itself across a wide user audience, Hightail has a variety of plans suitable for both individuals as well as businesses. Yet rather than focus its energies on Cloud storage or sending large files, it tries to do both with some strange results.
For example, although it enables the sending of large files the exact use of this feature isn’t exactly certain since there is also unlimited storage space on paid plans. A simple link share would work well rather than having the questionable option to send files of over 100GB in size.
Hightail Pricing: Paid plans from $12 per month
- Multiple plans available
- Focused on file sharing
- Not much in the way of collaborative features
Where hightail has multi-purpose objectives, SugarSync is very singular minded. Instead of offering true business advantage features this provider concentrates on offering staggering amounts of storage space at varying prices.
It behaves very much like the sync-and-store many Cloud storage services have with some basic editing and collaborative features. The good point is that it is outstanding in something a lot of companies could do better – simplicity.
SugarSync Pricing: From $7.90 per month
- Simple to use
- High security
- Minimal workflow support features
If you’ve ever used an external backup drive or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive, then you’ll be familiar with the way iDrive works. Its feature set is very similar from the backup and synchronization feature all the way to the capability for entire drive imaging.
This makes it sort of moot, given host cheap storage is nowadays. The one bright spark, of course, is that iDrive is Cloud-based which allows you to take advantage of enterprise-scale technology such as high bandwidth and redundant equipment and infrastructure.
iDrive Pricing: Paid plans start from $52.12 / year
- Save more on longer signup terms
- Generous storage space
- No workflow or collaborative features
Why Use File Sharing Services?
The days when email was enough to move files around as attachments are long gone. Even documents today are richer in quality and larger in size thanks to the ability of many word processors to embed other files within.
Because of these reasons and more, Cloud storage services have sprung up and are growing like weeds. The quality and speed of Internet lines have made them a seriously viable option both for personal use as well as business.
Some Cloud storage and file sharing companies have even added extra features, either placing their core capabilities within an advanced workflow ecosystem or even having business-specific uses such as regulation compliance.
Yet despite all these features and characteristics, the most basic reason to be considering the use of one is to increase the reliability of your business. The concept is the same when looking for reliable web hosting for your business. According to Kroll Ontrack, 14% of data loss is caused by human error. So having backups are the key and anything extra is simply icing on the cake.
Conclusion: How Vital is Cloud Storage to Your Business?
As you can probably tell from the list of these Cloud storage and file sharing providers, there is a great discrepancy in the breadth of services which each service providers offer. Some excel at a consumer level, while others go the whole hog to cater to business users.
The key element in choosing the perfect service provider for yourself or business is the same as it is always – consider carefully your needs. As an example of this, while Box offers extremely detailed features, not all businesses will need to comply with many regulations and such. In cases like this, a more consumer-friendly option might be a better choice, such as the basic Google ecosystem.
List down exactly what you think your business requires before making a selection, you might save yourself a ton of grief over facing multiple features you don’t use and yet pay for.