SugarSync is another multiplatform-friendly cloud offering that enables you to back up, synchronize, and share files on Windows and Mac computers and on a wide range of devices (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian). SugarSync seems to stand out a bit in the mobile realm; you can upload and sync files by email and sync your folders to your mobile device, which is great if you do lots of your work on the road. SugarSync offers a 5GB free account. You can also choose plans ranging from 30GB for $4.99/month to 250GB, which will put you back $24.99 each month.
Controlling permissions varies from product to product. Some solutions offer a highly granular hierarchy of permissions. In addition to the ability to define job roles and assign access based on that, multiple nested groups can be established. Adding or removing permissions is an easy affair once they're properly defined. Other products opt for a more simplified approach.
You can use Box to easily create, edit, and review documents with other users in real-time or on the go. The vendor uses protection measures like customer-managed encryption, activity logs, granular permissions, and mobile security to provide good security for the stored files. Plus, the service enables you to comply with e-discovery requests, data retention policies, and regulatory policies. It also enables global compliance by assisting your organization to meet regulatory and business requirements.
Box.com is an up and comer in the cloud storage world. There are a variety of file management apps and others that have Box integration as well and that's nice. New users can sign up for personal accounts for free and get 10GB of free storage while $10/month gets you 100GB. Business prices range from $5-$15/month per user and include far more features. The app works pretty well and it puts an emphasis on simplicity and organization. Unfortunately, those who need more than 100GB may need to shop elsewhere.
Keeping data safe is a bigger challenge today than it's ever been. What were once considered "advanced" data safety features, such as enterprise-grade identity management, redundant storage layers, and encryption both at rest and in transit, are no longer optional. These are now basic requirements for you to even consider spending money on a service. Fortunately, cloud storage providers seem to agree, which is evidenced by commonly available features and the fact that most IT professionals trust cloud security as much or more than what's available on-premises (64 percent according to a 2015 survey by the Cloud Security Alliance). The logic is fairly simple. Most IT professionals simply don't have the budget to research, deploy, and manage the advanced security capabilities that cloud service vendors can provide because it's key to their primary business. That's upped security in the cloud significantly over the past couple of years, which has had the pleasant side effect of letting many cloud services successfully comply with standards such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and ISO 27001.
Signing up for an individual account at Box gives you 10GB of cloud storage, which is a good start. Similar to Dropbox, Box natively allows its users to create text documents that can be edited in real time with collaborators. This cloud storage service also offers the ability to edit text as well as other types of documents with Microsoft’s Office tools integration, which are like Google’s suite of productivity apps, but more akin to the legacy desktop apps that some are accustomed to using.
To access files and folder shared with you, you have to head to the OneDrive website or mobile app and look in the Shared section. Files and folders shared with you won’t be synced to your desktop, so you’ll need to use your browser to download such files and upload files to shared folders. As with Google Drive, Office Online also allows you to edit documents with other people in real-time.
Apple’s cloud storage service doesn’t make waves on paper, but it’s great if you use iTunes as your central media hub. iCloud provides 5GB of free storage, while upgrading to 50 GB will cost $1/month, 200GB for $3/month, and 2TB for $10/month. Items downloaded from iTunes won’t count against your storage limit, but note that iOS devices use iCloud for backup, and that alone can quickly use up storage allotments.
“Being a small business owner, I run into the issue all the time of clients and their cloud storage systems. Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc. It creates quite the headache to be able to find everything, and it also becomes pretty expensive to maintain a subscription to all of these different platforms. How would you suggest consolidating everything into one main platform, while still making it convenient for my clients?”
Amazon’s Unlimited Everything plan truly was unprecedented when the company announced it in 2015, and went unmatched ever since. For $60 per year, you could keep as much as you could muster in your own private Amazon cloud locker. The industry standard, then and now, is roughly $10 per month for 1TB of space. Which is to say, twice as much as Amazon’s offering had been, with a firm cap, instead of all-you-can-cloud.
You could also just pass files back and forth via a service like MASV, if you’re sending archives of drafts and finished work to one another. It’s less useful if each client just wants to have a folder they can reference that’s full of everything you’ve worked on together: old and new projects, invoices, artwork, documents, spreadsheets, et cetera. Similarly, there’s Hightail—also worth considering, with the same kind of limitations.
Cloud storage can also help make your data more reliable, because you don't ever have to worry about it going down. When your business manages your own server, if something breaks, it might be days or weeks before you are able to fix it. That's time without access to all the files your business needs to run - completely unacceptable in today's workforce. ShareFile offers unparalleled uptime and reliability, so you can be sure your data will be there whenever you need it.
Here, we highlight only the best cloud storage services among those we've tested. When PCMag tests these services, we evaluate their feature sets, ease of use, stability, and price. There are many more cloud storage services on the market that didn't make the cut for this article, however. If you love a particular service that we didn't include, please be sure to let us know about it in the comments. Click on the review links below for more detailed information on each of our favorite cloud storage and file-syncing services.
In this scenario, a client wants to make specific files available to specific individuals through simple browser downloads. You can do this by using the Cloud Storage cookie-based authentication. To use the feature, you grant a user permission to access an object, and then you give the user a special URL to the object. When the user clicks the URL, Cloud Storage prompts them to sign in to their Google account (if they are not already logged in) and the object is downloaded to their computer. The following users will be able to download the object:
Quick take: While Shutterfly is best known as a photo-printing service, it also offers free, unlimited storage for photos. (Sorry, no videos, spreadsheet documents, etc.) And as with Amazon, there’s no real limit to the size of the photos you can upload. But here’s the catch: Shutterfly doesn’t offer full-resolution downloading. Instead, you get a scaled-down 2-megapixel file, similar to those provided by Nikon’s service.
Storage used to be the IT professional's nightmare. Back when everything was stored on an ever-growing pile of hard disks in the basement, it was easy to run out of space at just the wrong time or forget to back up the right disk shortly before it crashed. But then came the cloud, and along with that fuzzy miracle comes endlessly scalable storage at a very nice price. Storage that increases automatically the more of it you need and often protects itself, too. That said, there are still many important features that cloud-based storage and file sharing platforms need to contain before they can be considered ready for business.
Price to upgrade: Amazon offers several upgrades that are priced competitively to Google One. For $11.99 per year, you can upgrade your account to 100GB. If you want more, 1TB costs $59.99 per year, and 2TB doubles that price. If your work requires a lot of cloud storage, Amazon Drive is the way to go, since it offers 30TB of storage for $1,799.70 per year compared to Google’s price of approximately $3,588 for the same amount.
SugarSync has a slightly confusing usage model. Unlike, say, Dropbox, you can designate any file folders on your hard drive to be synced to the cloud; you don’t need to keep everything in a designated folder. To sync folders, you right-click them (after installing the SugarSync desktop client). But just in case you want a designated folder, the service automatically creates a syncing folder on your computer called My SugarSync (formerly Magic Briefcase). As of now, there are no collaborative editing tools – or even two-factor authentication, either of which could be a deal breaker for business users. Also worth noting: Aside from a free 5GB trial (good for 90 days), there’s no free plan.
First up is OneDrive, Microsoft's storage option. Those who use Windows 8 and 10 have OneDrive built into their operating system, where it shows up in the file explorer next to all of the files on your computer's hard drive. However, anyone can use it on the Web, by downloading a desktop app for Mac and earlier versions of Windows, or the OneDrive Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Xbox apps.
Like most of the cloud services, SkyDrive lets you save, share, and access files, but on most operating systems, you must use it through a browser — IE by choice, but it will work with others. However, SkyDrive does work hand-in-glove with the Windows 8 file manager. It also works well in partnership with Microsoft Office. Like Google Drive, it comes with its own cloud-based office software: Office Web Apps.
By sharing storage and networks with many other users/customers it is possible for other customers to access your data. Sometimes because of erroneous actions, faulty equipment, a bug and sometimes because of criminal intent. This risk applies to all types of storage and not only cloud storage. The risk of having data read during transmission can be mitigated through encryption technology. Encryption in transit protects data as it is being transmitted to and from the cloud service. Encryption at rest protects data that is stored at the service provider. Encrypting data in an on-premises cloud service on-ramp system can provide both kinds of encryption protection.