Small Business cloud storage sites offer small businesses the ability to back up a business and manage a team. Best of all, most cloud sites offer scalable low-cost solutions that can grow with a business. This, combined with the features of next-gen devices and cloud tabs (Cloud and Compute), means storage in the cloud and cloud-based file sharing will grow in small businesses.
Cloud services are emerging as the most in-trend option for individuals and small business opting for seamless and secure file-sharing or storage of data thanks to popular cloud services like SkyDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive amongst many others. However, with more and more people opting to store sensitive work documents in personal cloud services; there is a growing risk for data security at workplace.
This has inspired businesses to provide employees access to small business versions of cloud file-sharing and storage services for secure handling of data. However, with employees in workplace insisting on using their own portable devices to stream applications, view and edit documents, share work with other users and synchronize files across multiple devices, cloud file-sharing services can prove to be challenging for small businesses.
Trends that drive companies to the cloud
With the growing trend of mobile user’s demand for cloud services, companies are increasingly regulating IT policies for enhancing security and controlling access to corporate data. This has also led to an influx in enterprises expanding their product lines to deliver enterprise-grade cloud file-sharing and storage services.
Mobile phones are not the only cloud devices that are driving this trend. Cloud tablets carry all of the power of laptops, with the portability and usability of cell phone and next-gen phones. As more companies adopt this tech, you will see more of a shift to cloud based solutions.
Cloud file sharing services offer basic features such as storage, syncing with mobile and desktop, and some security and small business management. This has been further popularized due to the availability of cheap, easy-to-use and accessible cloud file-sharing services.
Here is a list of cloud storage sites for small businesses. These sites offer tools for storage, as well as productivity, collaboration and security. All of these sites provide affordable options, and several have free plans.
POPULAR CLOUD FILE-SHARING AND STORAGE SERVICES
Dropbox for Business offers unlimited storage, 256-bit AES and SSL encryption, syncing and file sharing. It also allows two-step verification and mobile passcodes besides providing unlimited file recovery and version history. It also helps prevent file sharing outside the ‘closed group’ team so as to keep data secure. Its Available for PCs, iOS, Android, Kindle, and BlackBerry.
Fully integrated with Google Docs and Gmail, Google Drive delivers the ideal collaboration environment for Google Apps customers. Users can share specific files and folders, grant read or write access to those files and synchronize files across multiple devices. It also allows administrators to add or remove storage for individuals or teams and encrypt data transfers. However it has fewer options for enforcing in-house security policies.
Microsoft’s Sky Drive offers a generous helping of free storage, and good integration with Windows operating systems, If you’re using Windows 8 or Windows Phone for example. Sky drive it will sync system or device settings and apps as well as files and folders. But it’s not just for Windows—you can get Sky Drive for Mac, iOS and Android, too. One particularly clever feature is “Fetch”, which lets you pull files off an online PC (Windows only) even if you haven’t previously uploaded them to Sky Drive.
WatchDox offers a cloud file-sharing and storage service that enables end users to work together on Microsoft Office documents. Available in 2 versions, Enterprise Security (ES) and Enterprise, WatchDox is geared towards large enterprises offering file synchronization and access to mobile, Web, PC and mail applications. The service also offers file security and encryption features, besides giving IT teams more control of corporate data files. The Enterprise version requires a minimum of 50 users, while the ES version requires you to contact Watch Dox for a custom price.
Files Anywhere Inc. offers an enterprise option for a minimum of 100 users, with an unlimited amount of storage and limitless upload facility. These features include mobile access and apps, an online form generator, the capacity to send and receive large files, and password-protected sharing. A few advanced features comprises of group sharing, custom branding, collaboration, role-based access control, and a dedicated domain. The enterprise version of Files Anywhere has a 50-user minimum, and with business version having 100 users or more.
Box offers two file-sharing plans for businesses that calls for a minimum of 3 users and offers up to 1 TB of storage space. Box allows secure mobile sync and share features such as desktop synchronization, mobile access, One Cloud Apps and Office integration. Box with existing infrastructure which comprises of mobile device management systems, helps configure third-party apps, such as Microsoft Office and Google Apps. In addition Box’s association supports versioning, password-protected sharing and workflow management, this enables users to run Box on Windows and Mac desktops, besides the usual iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.
With SugarSync for Business you can sync and share files and folders from any PC, Mac, iOS, or Android device (or even something called a BlackBerry). SugarSync for Business also includes an Outlook plugin that lets you email links to large files rather than attaching the files themselves, which is a handy way to get around the size limitations for email attachments.
If you are dealing with extremely sensitive business information, SpiderOak’s “Zero-Knowledge Environment” may be the best option. Pretty much every cloud storage provider encrypts your data while you’re uploading it and stores it encrypted on their servers as well. But since most also store your password or encryption keys, your data is vulnerable to breaches or to anyone with physical access to the servers. SpiderOak lets you create your password on your own computer and keep it there, so company staff can’t use it to decrypt your data. On the other hand this also means that if you forget your password or hint, your data can’t be recovered.
Generally cloud storage can improve small business owners’ capability to access, share, and protect their company’s data, particularly when they have a limited capacity or desire to manage on-site technology resources. But the cost and convenience benefits of cloud storage are such that an increasing number of small businesses are taking the plunge.