As earlier predicted, cloud storage options are becoming increasingly popular, offering users the ability to access files and documents regardless of where they are in the world or what device they have in their hand. And with so many different services now available, I thought I’d share some of the most popular to help users and business owners decide which may be the best match for them.
Below are some of my personal favorites and options you may want to consider if you’re thinking cloud storage may be right for your business:
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t love Dropbox. Like many of the other cloud storage options, Dropbox offers you the ability to store your files, documents, photos and videos in the cloud and keep them synced with your computer, phone, and online Dropbox account. What really stands out for me is the ease in which all of this happens. I can create a Dropbox folder, invite other people to it, and it’s as if I’ve created that folder directly on their computer. Other sites many offer similar sharing options, but it’s the simplicity of Dropbox that has made it such a crowd favorite.
Dropbox offers tiered pricing plans which begin with a free 2GB option and extend all the way to a team pricing model offering 1TB of storage. If you’ve wanted to incorporate cloud storage into your business, but weren’t sure how to get started, I’d recommend doing so with Dropbox.
SugarSync is a great service for business owners who will be heavy on the file syncing. With SugarSync, you can backup, sync, access and share all your files on-the-go, instantly and securely from virtually any device. It learns the way that you organize your files and folders so that if you’re working on a report from home, it will be synced and in the right folder when you head into the office tomorrow. For a frazzled SMB, that’s a neat benefit. SugarSync also boasts a number of pretty intuitive features and value adds like robust file sharing capabilities, an admin dashboard, optional password protection, and integration with Microsoft Outlook to help business owners manage their businesses from where they are and do it securely.
Bitcasa differs slightly from other cloud storage applications in that instead of copying your data to the cloud, Bitcasa gives you unlimited storage directly on your desktop by “cloudifying” that folder. Once you do, you’ll be able to save as much data into that folder as you want. No external hard drives. No buying more storage space. Nothing. Also, when you share “cloudified” folders with team members (or, you know, family and friends), that folder will immediately appear on their desktop so that they’ll have instant access to it. You don’t have to wait for the whole folder to download. Sending large files is also now made a breeze, with SMBs being able to send terabytes of data by just right clicking any cloudified folder.
Currently, users can only sign up for a private (and free) beta account for Bitcasa but there are more “pro” options in the works. I’ve heard lots of good things about Bitcasa from friends already in the beta, so this is one I definitely have my eye on.
4. Google Drive
The long-rumored Google Drive was finally introduced to the world and users at the end of April. With Google Drive, business owners can once again seamlessly access all of their data regardless of where they are or what device they’re working on. Business owners who currently rely heavily on Google services may find a certain ease with Google Drive, as it’s essentially a more powerful version of Google Docs. It brings together Google services like documents, spreadsheets, images and more and puts them in one place so you can collaborate with team mates. And because it’s Google, you can easily search for documents based on keyword, file type, and even browse through scanned documents.
However, because it’s Google, it also comes with some scary privacy concerns. Like the fact that Google can use and/or modify whatever you upload whenever they want. That’s not exactly winning it fans with the small business crowd.
If you want to give a try, you can get started with 5GB of storage for free or choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month.
Those are just four of the cloud storage applications getting a lot of buzz right now. Which one are you partial to? And how has cloud storage changed the way you do business?
Cloud Computing Photo via ShutterstockMore in: Google