From sales collateral to documents, signed contract scans, and even expense receipts, almost everything that crosses our desks these days is contained in a digital file. Like their paper ancestors, these files need to be put somewhere safe where they can be found and referenced easily.
This need is the driving force behind the explosive growth of cloud storage options for SMBs. These vendors enable SMBs to cost-effectively centralize their files on remote servers while taking on none of the hardware, software, and management costs that building a homegrown solution would entail.
In addition, cloud storage solutions offer functionality above and beyond a spot to hold your files. These can include the ability to:
- Access your files from anywhere;
- Work across multiple devices, both desktop and mobile, by synchronizing your files;
- Share files with coworkers and clients in a controlled manner;
- Safeguard your confidential files; and
- Tag and search your files in a manner that suits your needs and operating procedures.
Cloud Storage Options
To help you find a cloud storage option that fits your needs, we’ve compiled a list of solutions and broken them out across three primary categories:
- Straightforward file storage options;
- File storage options that offer synchronization; and
- High-security file storage options.
Straightforward Cloud Storage Options for SMBs
If you’re looking for an easy way to store, share and access your files from anywhere, consider the four online storage options below.
Launched in 2006, MediaFire is one of the original cloud storage options. Offering robust features at a variety of pricing levels, the solution remains close to its roots as an easy-to-use storage system with sharing and anywhere, cross-device access.
When it comes to features and functionality, Google Drive is the king of cloud storage solutions for SMBs. Aside from storing your files, if you need word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software, Drive has all three, and more, built right in. Want to work on Microsoft files instead? Drive enables you to work with them directly within the system.
Drive’s sharing features are robust, offering comments and tracking as well as simultaneous access and collaboration. Overall, drive is easy-to-use and priced well for SMBs.
Once you store a file on iCloud Drive, you can access it from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. Like Drive, you can work on your files directly within iCloud.
In fact, one of the handiest features of iCloud is the ability to work on one file using multiple apps. As Apple explains, “Your apps can now share files, which means you can access and work on the same file across multiple apps. For example, you can create a drawing in a sketching app, then open it in a painting app to color it in. Or create a chart in one app and place it in a slideshow using a presentation app.”
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon is a big player in the cloud business and its Cloud Drive is a solid option for SMBs. You can store any type of file and access it on most devices whether in the office or on the go.
Cloud Storage Options for SMBs that Offer Synchronization
While the cloud storage solutions above offer the ability to access your files from anywhere, you need to be connected to the Internet to do so.
Synchronization eliminates that need, enabling you to work on your files offline. When you reconnect, these files automatically sync with (overwrite) their older online versions and from there, they are updated on all the other devices that you’ve set up to sync.
This is a key feature if you truly wish to work on the go whether you have access to the Internet or no.
One of the most well known cloud storage options, Dropbox is as easy-to-use as it is affordable. It offers solid features, including synchronization, and while those features are basic, they keep SMBs from getting overwhelmed.
Another heavyweight, Box‘s metadata feature is hard to beat. Using templates you can customize to fit your business, Box enables you to store information about each file that can be used during an advanced search. This makes finding your files much easier and, thanks to the templates, you can standardize the metadata your employees use.
If you want more control over your cloud storage solution, check out Cubby. Combining an easy-to-use interface and a robust back-end, Cubby offers features like unlimited versioning, remote device wipe (in case a device is stolen), and DirectSync, a feature that syncs files locally without taking up your cloud storage space.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business
OneDrive is very similar to Google Drive except that it offers file sync so you can work offline. As part of Office 365, Microsoft’s online software suite, you can work on all your documents in OneDrive. Throw in a approval workflow system and this option is worth a look.
If you use a Symbian or BlackBerry device, you should consider 4Synch as it’s one of the only solutions that has an app for those brands. Aside from that, 4Synch is an easy-to-use cloud storage solution that’s priced well and offers lots of storage.
Other Cloud Storage Options for SMBs that Offer Synchronization
In addition to the options above, these cloud storage solutions also offer synchronization:
High-Security Cloud Storage Options for SMBs
Before we dive into this section, we want to make one thing clear: all of the cloud storage options for SMBs on this list take security very seriously. The solutions in this section however, go above and beyond and should be considered if you need to store regulated or particularly sensitive client and customer data.
These solutions offer end-to-end encryption and more to protect your data. As far as other features such as synchronization and metadata, follow the links below to assure a solution will meet your requirements in those areas.
- CertainSafe — they offer white-labeled client portals where you can customize everything from branding to security.
- pCloud — their business solution comes bundled with their pCloud Crypto features.
If you’re looking for a way to store, share and secure your digital files, check out the list of cloud storage options for SMBs above.
With features like synchronization and end-to-end encryption, you should be able to find a solution that fits both your needs and your budget.
Cloud Storage Photo via Shutterstock