The 20th century saw the creation of cloud storage, but it was in the 21st century when it gained widespread use. Many businesses, especially those with offices, staff or dealings in two or more locations, have resorted to putting their data on a cloud platform for easy storage, sharing and collaboration. Understandably, it is a technology that most companies turn to in making their operations faster and more efficient.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using cloud platforms. It takes less physical space and infrastructure when you store data on the cloud. Running out of hard drive space is often a concern for computer users. Sharing of files is also easier because files may be accessed anytime, anywhere without sacrificing hard drive space. Meanwhile, because a third-party server stores the information, it runs the risk of falling on the wrong hands, with you having little control over it. Also, you always have to back up your data in case any uneventful thing happens.
Choosing which provider to host your files depends on your requirements and budget. There are those that are for free but with a limited capacity. If you prefer a bigger space and more secure software, then you have to be ready to shell out some money to acquire and maintain it. But first, it is good to familiarise yourself with the different platforms so you can choose which ones you can tap for your business needs.
Dropbox is probably one of the early players in this game as it began in 2007. It provides options for individuals and teams, offering the best sync technology, file recovery, and easy, secure sharing. One can set up an account for free, but there are plans available for some added features.
Individual - Basic (2 GB free), Plus (1 TB at USD9.99/month), and Professional (2 TB at USD19.99/month)
Team – Standard (3TB at USD12.50/user/month starting at three users), Advanced (As much space as your team needs at USD20/user/month), and Enterprise (customised solutions)
The most common Google app for data storage and sharing is Google Drive, which can be used by individuals and teams at home, school or work. Google also developed Google Cloud as a business solution, which has improved security, advanced storage tiers and other features to support enterprises.
Google One (combination of Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos) - 15 GB free space, 100 GB at USD1.99/month, 200 GB at USD2.99/month, 1 TB at USD9.99/month, 2 TB at USD19.99/month, 10 TB at USD99.99/month, 20 TB at USD199.99/month, and 30 TB at USD299.99/month.
Google Cloud Storage – Coldline (USD0.007 - USD0.014 per GB/month), Nearline (USD0.01 - USD0.02 per GB/month), Regional (USD0.02 - USD0.035 per GB/month), and Multi-Regional (USD0.026 - USD0.036 per GB/month)
Apple’s cloud storage and computing version is the iCloud. The software allows iOS users to back-up data from their devices to remote servers, which they can access and share with other users. iCloud can be opened not only in iOS gadgets but also in macOS and Windows devices.
5 GB free, 50 GB at USD0.99/month, 200 GB at USD2.99/month, and 2 TB at USD9.99/month
Microsoft also came up with its cloud storage facility, called OneDrive. Apart from safety and accessibility, OneDrive also offers users access to their files even when they are not online. It also incorporates Office 365 in OneDrive.
5 GB free, 50 GB at USD1.99/month, 1 TB at USD6.99/month or USD69.99/year (comes with Office 365), and 6 TB (1 TB for 6 users) at USD9.99/month or USD99.99/year (comes with Office 365)
IDrive offers multiple device back-ups and online file syncing as well as IDrive Express, where there are quick back-up and data retrieval through physical storage shipment. It also has snapshots and versioning which allows you to retain a maximum of 30 versions of all the files saved in your account.
Personal - 5 GB free, 2 TB at USD69.50 in the first year, 5 TB at USD99.50 in the first year
Business – 250 GB at USD99.50 in the first year, 500 GB at USD199.50 in the first year, 1.25 TB at USD499.50 in the first year
Launched in 2005, Box allows its users to share files and collaborate. It serves individuals and businesses with a mobile application available in various smartphone operating systems.
Individual – 10 GB free, 100 GB at US11.50/month
Business – 100 GB at USD5.80/month, Unlimited storage at USD17.30/month, Unlimited storage plus unlimited external collaborators at USD28.70/month
Amazon also joined the cloud offering in 2011 through the Amazon Drive. It offers users the capacity to store files on remote servers, back them up, and share them. Its additional feature is photo printing through the Amazon Prints service.
Amazon Photos – unlimited storage for photos, 5 GB free (videos, music and other files)
Amazon Drive storage (photos are not counted in the storage allocation if you are a Prime member) – 100 GB at USD11.99/year, 1 TB at USD59.99/year
Prime membership – USD12.99/month
There are many more cloud platforms that you can find. It’s a business solution that can help you in running your venture more efficiently, especially if you have remote offices or team members in various locations. If you are considering using this in your operations, be sure to take a deeper look into its capacity, security, performance, and pricing. You can also check with other business owners on their experience in using any of the cloud platforms. Test first those you are considering before you decide which one is the best for your enterprise.