Best cloud storage for business


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1. Dropbox

Dropbox Business is a souped-up enterprise version of the consumer Dropbox platform that strikes a good balance between functionality and business-level security. The software gives you an extensible model and plenty of options to integrate it seamlessly into your business processes.

Dropbox Business (which starts at $12.50 per user per month, billed annually) takes the consumer document management (DM) product and adds unlimited storage, administrator tools and user management, unlimited deletion and version history, and a suite of collaboration tools. You can try the Business plan free for 30 days, though you must provide payment information (credit card or PayPal) and your plan will automatically upgrade after the trial if you don’t cancel. The Business plan costs $12.50 per user per month with a minimum of three users ($15 month-to-month). As a straight cloud storage service, Dropbox Business starts you with 2 terabytes (TB) of storage, but you can request more at no cost once you reach that limit.

There is also a $20 per user per month Advanced plan that gives you unlimited storage plus advanced admin controls and security features such as single sign-on (SSO) and device approvals. Finally there’s the custom quoted Enterprise plan that includes enterprise mobility management (EMM), network control, and more customized solutions.

Getting Started With Dropbox for Business

To create an account, you have to supply your contact details, create a password, and provide payment information, team name, company size, the number of users, and the agree to Dropbox’s Terms of Service. Once you’re done, you can start inviting people right away or go straight to your admin console. There, you’ll see some tips on using features such as inviting and managing members, accessing settings, and monitoring activity usage across your team. You can always revisit this tour by clicking the question mark at top of any page.

Dropbox Business has a simple dashboard. As an admin, you can see how many team members you have, as well as pending invites and remaining licenses (the free trial includes five). On the left-hand side of the screen, you can access activity logs, sharing settings, view your team folder, set up groups, and visit the help center. As an admin, you can restrict sharing documents and links to external users, and allow or block commenting or user requests on files.

The user dashboard shows all of your files and folders, including the team folder managed by the admin. Here, you can add files and folders, share files and folders, and send file requests. You can request files from anyone via email even if they don’t have a Dropbox account (for instance, a client or contractor who is not a part of your staff). There’s also a folder for deleted files; you can restore them at any time.

2. Egnyte

Egnyte Business (which begins at $8 per employee per month) is one of the best platforms in the cloud backup service market. It captures some of the favorite features of business users and provides both the security and control that today’s businesses need. With a scalable but centralized storage model, Egnyte Business is a cut above the typical distributed model used by competitors. What this means for the customer that they have a great deal of control over permissions and an advantage when enforcing company policies. Egnyte Business receives our Editors’ Choice designation, along with Dropbox Business.

Getting Started With Egnyte for Business

Signing up with Egnyte Business is straightforward and simple. A free 15-day trial is available for Egnyte Business on the company’s website. All you need is some basic user credentials and an email address to get started with the trial. Once signed in, you can operate from the Egnyte Connect page that is modeled after Windows Explorer. For users who prefer to work from the web and avoid downloading the client, there is a lot of functionality here.

The user interface (UI) fully supports drag-and-drop file upload. Downloading, sharing, and bookmarking are available either as a button bar operation or as a right-click operation. A full version history is also available under an icon on the file record. Everything you’d expect to find in a file management UI is right where you’d expect it to be. It’s highly intuitive and easy for a new user to pick up.

3. Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive for Business (which begins at $5 per user per month if billed annually) is Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive for Work and similiar business cloud storage offerings. Microsoft OneDrive for Business can be linked up with online versions of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word to make sharing and collaborating on documents easier. It can also be integrated with Microsoft Office 365, which includes more software as well as desktop versions of the aforementioned programs. If you need more robust collaboration and document management tools, then you’re better off with Zoho Docs Standard, our Editors’ Choice in that category. On the storage side, Microsoft OneDrive for Business is an solid solution and a no-brainer for folks who’ve standardized on Microsoft’s Office, Office 365, or SharePoint platforms; but it lags slightly behind our Editors’ Choice winner in the business cloud storage category, Dropbox Business, when it comes to compliance and integral collaboration features.

You can purchase a standalone Microsoft OneDrive for Business account by signing up for one of two plans. Plan 1 costs $5 per user per month and includes 1 TB of storage per user, file uploads of up to 10 GB, and the ability to sync files across all of your devices (Mac, PC, smartphone, and tablet). Plan 2 costs $10 per user per month and includes 5 TB of cloud storage per user for subscriptions with at least five users (otherwise, 1 TB). Plan 2 adds data loss prevention, more robust administrative tools, and the ability to preserve deleted and edited documents.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business is included in the Microsoft Office 365 Business and Enterprise suites (which begin at $8.25 per month), which includes online versions of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint, and other Microsoft programs. It also includes offline access and 24/7 phone support. All Microsoft Office 365 plans have a one-month free trial with no credit card required. However, if you need more time to decide, then you can extend the trial another 30 days by adding payment details.

Getting Started With OneDrive for Business

Sign up is no sweat: just provide some contact information, create a username and password, and you’re good to go. Your username in this case is yourcompany.onmicrosoft.com. Alternatively, if you already have a Microsoft subscription, then you can add Microsoft OneDrive for Business to an existing account. You can also download a desktop application that syncs with your account. Apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and even Xbox are available.

The Microsoft OneDrive for Business user interface (UI) is very clean and somewhat similar to Google Drive for Work. On the left-hand rail is a menu with links to all files, recent files, and files that have been shared with you. Across the top of your dashboard are buttons for New, Upload, and Sync. At the top right is a question mark; clicking the question mark slides in a Help module with some Getting Started information on the right-hand side of the screen.

Upon signing in for the first time, you’re prompted to sync all of your files into Microsoft OneDrive for Business. If you have many gigabytes of files (and who doesn’t), then you’re encouraged to use the desktop client. You can also upload individual files and folders and invite others to them. To share files and folders, you can either get a public link or input email addresses or names of anyone who has already been invited to your account. Then, you can choose whether to require sign-in and whether or not to send an email invite. This means you can share documents freely with external users. Permissions are limited to view or edit. From this pop-up window, you can also see with whom you’ve already shared a document or folder and stop sharing.

4. ADrive

ADrive Business (which begins at $7 per user per month) is a recently retooled entry in the list of cloud storage services directed at small business users. It offers a straightforward solution to file sharing, data storage, and business cloud backup, including a sync client and support for FTP, SCP, and SFTP. Apple’s OS X and Microsoft Windows are both natively supported via the desktop application, but there is no Linux support and none currently planned. A free 60-day trial is available on the company’s website, while the low starting price point scales based on the number of users and the desired storage space.

That means, for large numbers of users or space, it is necessary to contact ADrive, LLC for a quote. While all of this adds up to a low-cost solution, ADrive Business’ lack of advanced options, security, and administration tools still keep it behind our Editors’ Choice winners in both the storage category, where our leaders are Dropbox Business and Egnyte Business, as well as our cloud backup category where the Editors’ Choice goes to Zetta Data Protection.

Getting Started With ADrive for Business

ADrive Business offers a simple signup process as all that’s needed is an email address and password. Once logged in, you can access an online file manager by clicking on “My Files.” Alternatively, ADrive Business provides connection strings for a wide variety of file transfer protocols. While it’s possible to route to your storage area without using the dedicated ADrive Business client, based on our testing, you’ll want all of your users to download ADrive Desktop. This is the backup, sync, and remote drive client that works on Windows and OS X. For Linux users, FTP, Rsync, SCP, and SFTP are connectivity options but there’s no native sync client beyond this. This means no administrative capability over such clients, either. Not a deal-breaker for many of the Penguin People but not much of a draw either.

In Windows, ADrive Desktop lets you map your ADrive storage resource as a Windows drive by using Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV). In this way, it works like any other networked drive. Alternatively, you can establish one or more sync folders that behave similarly to other cloud storage collaboration products such as Box (for Business) or Dropbox. They’re synced on a user- or administrator-determined schedule and have two modes of operation. First, Basic mode ensures that, if you delete a file on your computer, it will be re-downloaded. This is the safest option. Conversely, the most familiar mode of operation will likely be Advanced mode, where files deleted on the desktop are also deleted in the cloud. Ultimately, this will be a policy decision your IT staff will likely make on behalf of your users.

5. MozyPro

MozyPro for Business (which begins at $13.98 per month for 10 GB of storage and unlimited users) is, first and foremost, a backup solution so it’s somewhat weak in collaboration features. This accounts for its 2.5-star rating in our business-oriented cloud storage and file sharing service review roundup, well behind Editors’ Choice winners Dropbox Business and Egnyte Business in that category. However, MozyPro for Business excels in data retention, and security, which makes it a stronger contender as a cloud backup service for business (in fact, in our review roundup of backup services we’ve rated it at 3 stars. It didn’t get a higher rating mainly because, even when viewed through a backup-only lens, it lags a bit in terms of backing up non-Microsoft virtualized environments and cloud services).

If you’re not using Microsoft Hyper-V and Azure-based cloud services, your results may vary, which is a problem for folks using virtualization solutions from Citrix, VMware, or little-known cloud services such as those from Amazon, Google, or Rackspace. That’s what’s keeping it behind Zetta Data Protection, our Editors’ Choice winner for the cloud backup service for businesses category. Still, for those who have embraced Microsoft, MozyPro for Business is a solid, no-fuss option for backing up your company’s systems at a reasonable price.

MozyPro for Business can be configured to back up a wide variety of platforms, including Apple OS X, Linux, and Windows. Specific server applications that can also be protected are Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server. Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices can also be included in backups, and a 30-day trial is available on their website.

Getting Started With MozyPro for Business

Setting up MozyPro for Business is a guided effort. The support staff is friendly and walks you through the entire process of enabling and setting up the account with the exact features your business needs. White glove service like this is rare and, even if you are technically savvy enough to walk through setup by yourself, you should definitely take advantage of their service.

The MozyPro for Business support staff is very knowledgeable and can lead you down alternative paths that better suit your business. There are two clients available for install. The first is the MozyPro for Business backup client, which manages the backup and restore of user and server machines. The second app is Mozy Sync, which lets users store and sync folder data across other devices.

6. Box

Box (for Business) offers business cloud storage and collaboration functionality. The service supports as few as three people but can be scaled to a custom, enterprise-level plan for larger companies. Box (for Business) has solid document management (DM) capabilities and security features as well. The Business plan, the one we reviewed, begins at $15 per user per month. It offers unlimited storage with a 5 gigabyte (GB) limit, integration with Microsoft Office 365, and custom branding features. Since this review was last published, Box has introduced a new tier of their service called Business Plus. The Business Plus plan offers external collaboration and full user tracking capabilities. It serves as a middle ground for users who want more than what the core Business plan offers but don’t want to invest in the more expensive Enterprise version.

The Starter, Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise plans all include granular permissions, mobile sync and share capabilities, desktop sync, file locking, version history, mobile access, and auto-expiration for files. The Enterprise plan adds unlimited integrations and other high-level features. While Box (for Business) is a solid DM service, it can’t quite match what our Editors’ Choice Zoho Docs Standard offers in that category. As a straight cloud storage provider, we rate it an Excellent choice, though it comes in just behind Dropbox Business, our Editors’ Choice in that category, mainly due to being slightly behind in collaboration capabilities.

Getting Started With Box for Business

Sign-up is simple: just provide your contact information and billing details, and then confirm your email. When you log in for the first time, you’re greeted with a walkthrough of features. You’re given an overview of shared folders as well as shown how to invite users and upload files and folders. The amount of time remaining in your trial is displayed at the top of your dashboard.

Next, you go through a guided setup, starting with branding, where you can add your logo and select a color scheme. From there, it’s onto the ins and outs of creating folders and files, adding users one by one or in bulk, and creating user groups. Here you can download Box Sync if you want to sync your files with your desktop.

The Box (for Business) user interface (UI) was recently redesigned; as an administrator, you choose whether or not to switch to the new experience. The old UI was already simple and uncluttered and the new UI is even lighter. It also adds new features including offline access. On the left-hand side of the dashboard is a menu where you can access all files, favorites, files synced to the desktop, messages, collaborators, and the admin console. Click a file or folder and you can view details including recent activity (edits, downloads, comments, etc.).

On the top right-hand side, there are buttons for uploading and creating Google Docs and Sheets and Microsoft Office files (including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word), folders, and notes. The Search box at the top includes content filters (type, folder, date modified). Next to that are links to Help, links to your profile (labeled with your initials), and links to Account Settings.

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