File storage and sharing is a major aspect to any businesses’ day to day operations, and is often the central knowledgebase for all employees and projects.
Why should I use cloud storage?
Besides all that, a cloud storage platform can offer a vital security and backup solution for your business, that is not only safe, but also relatively cheap in comparison to an on-site solution. Cloud storage also offers flexibility and mobility. There is a growing need to be able to access your files from wherever you are and on whatever device you’re using, and the cloud has enabled this way of working.
Which cloud storage provider should I choose?
The emergence of ‘cloud’ has meant that cloud storage providers are now in abundance, but which one do you choose? There are so many providers now with an array of offers – many of which offer a certain amount of free storage just for signing up, however, all providers are different based on things such as levels of security, integration with other platforms or just simply the cheapest.
As all businesses are different, the most important feature of cloud storage for you could be completely different for another, which is why we’ve compiled a list of some of the top cloud storage providers and their best features.
Best cloud storage provider for: Project Document sharing and Security
Box is slightly more complex compared to the other top providers, as it’s sharing capabilities and privacy features are extensive, meaning that it has been created with businesses in mind as opposed to personal users.
As well as the basic cloud storage of files, Box also allows you to share files with colleagues, set up notifications when a file is changed, assign tasks and leave comments. You have full control over the privacy of your files too, with different sharing options such as setting users to view, edit or upload, alongside the ability to set an expiration for shared files or to password protect them.
A standard feature is the option to preview files without fully downloading them within Box’s website, meaning that you can keep your hard drive clean and tidy, with Box’s previewer being compatible to view over 120 different file types. As well as this, you can also download a desktop application that will allow you to sync your files between your hard drive and the cloud.
What to watch out for
Due to it being slightly more complicated, it may take more time to implement into your business in terms of helping everyone to understand how it works and how they can get the most from the platform. If Box does tick all of the right boxes (ahem…), then just make sure to train all staff up on how to use it.
Best cloud storage provider for: Ease and Speed of Use
To set up a Google Drive all you need is a Google account, and you can head straight to drive.google.com to enable the service, making it a quick and hassle-free start up.
Like others, you can download the Drive desktop application and manage and organise your files directly from your computer, with the desktop app syncing with the cloud allowing you access everywhere. Google Drive also has phone apps for accessing and managing files from your phone too.
Google Drive has a simple integrated office suite that allows you to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and you can also create new documents in either Google Docs, Sheets or Slides (Google’s versions of Microsoft Office’s programmes). These documents can be used collaboratively and edited by different users simultaneously, allowing the documents to always be in real time, and saving multiple versions of one document.
The integration between Gmail and Google Drive is really quite useful, and makes previewing and saving attachments to the cloud easy and quick.
What to watch out for
Google Drive is a useful tool but can be at times overly simplified, and does not always offer the functionality required. The organisation of documents can also be a bit awkward, as you cannot file the documents created by another user and shared with you.
Best cloud storage provider for: A good all round programme to suit all
As well as being easy to use, reliable and well designed, Dropbox’s main benefit is its ability to work well across almost every device and operating system, making the platform versatile and flexible to use everywhere and anywhere.
The desktop application (so you can save your file straight to Dropbox) works on all Windows, Mac and Linux, and automatically syncs with the cloud, but it’s the web interface where Dropbox really stands out for its clean design. It’s simple and intuitive, and offers common file previews and a built-in slideshow feature. It also has the really useful feature of allowing you to see previous versions of a file, with details of who modified it and when.
What to watch out for
It can at times be frustrating as there is not a great deal of options to view and organise files, with no built-in editor like the likes of Google Drive offers, making a minor change a bit more labour-intensive than it could be.