Cloud storage has transformed how businesses operate. By keeping documents in the cloud, you and your team can work from anywhere, without the need for constantly transferring files from device to device. This is not to mention the benefits of automatic saving and remote storage when it comes to keeping your important data safe.
For a small business, the flexibility and efficiency of cloud storage makes it a logical choice. But how do you choose the package that’s right for you, and the? This guide will help you understand what to look for, and how to decide which cloud storage software meets your needs.
, integrations can make transferring files and file versioning (tracking changes and visualizing edits) more seamless. Make sure you consider the word processing, spreadsheet, or conferencing software you’re already using. Some cloud storage packages even come with office applications or other add-ons.
Alternatively, you may be looking for simple back-up software to ensure you never lose your files. In this case, you may not need cloud sync functionality. However, you’ll need to check what kind of devices can be backed up and options for file recovery, if that’s needed.
Step 4: Consider security
Before purchasing cloud storage, you’ll need to consider the security level you’re looking for, which may be driven by the nature of your business. Although storing your data in a networked system might make you feel nervous, most major cloud storage providers take security very seriously.
Check whether data is encrypted in transit and at rest. This will mean that, even if someone does get hold of your files, they won’t be able to read the information. You can also look at how secure the login process is, i.e. whether the service offers two-factor authentication.
If you’re dealing with extremely sensitive data, you may even decide to go for an on-premises (on-prem) storage solution, where your data is self-hosted rather than being transferred to a third-party, external location. This is a more secure option, but you’ll need some technical expertise to set up and maintain the system.
You may also need to take into account the location of the cloud storage provider and its provisions when it comes to privacy laws like the European Union’s (EU’s) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For example, if you’re handling the data of EU customers, the data must be stored in the EU, in a jurisdiction with similar rules, or, if stored elsewhere, the provider must prove a suitable level of data protection.
If this affects your business, make sure you clarify the data protection status of your chosen provider.
Step 5: Compare providers
We’ve compiled this table to compare the top cloud storage providers for business across five areas:
|Provider||Key feature||Price||Storage limit||Security||Support|
|Microsoft OneDrive||Integrates with Microsoft Office 365||$5/user/month–$12.50/user/month||1–5TB per user||Encryption in transit and at rest; personal vault||Community, knowledge hub, email|
|Drive||High capacity storage for backing up data||$149.62/year for unlimited users–$8,699.62/year||500GB–50TB||Encryption in transit and at rest; private key||Phone, chat, email|
|Dropbox||Easily share documents between devices and colleagues||$12.50/user/month–$20/user/month (minimum three users)||5TB–unlimited||Encrypted block storage; customizable visibility||Community, knowledge hub, chat, email|
|Nextcloud||Set up on-prem hosting using open source software||Free ‘Nextcloud at home’ service for small scale users; Enterprise subscription = $36/user/year– $95.50/user/year (minimum 100 users)||Unlimited||Option for on-prem storage; customizable levels of encryption||Community, knowledge hub, email|
|BackBlaze||Backs up your computers||$6/user/month, $60/user/year or $110/user/2 years||Unlimited||Two-factor verification; military grade encryption||Knowledge hub, chat, email|
If you know your requirements for your small business’s cloud storage needs, find out more detail in our guide to thebefore deciding which provider to use. You can then select the package that works best for you in terms of data storage limits and number of users. Remember, you can always adjust this as you scale.