Cloud storage solutions give you anytime, anywhere access to your data from any device.
Cloud storage can save your business. Disasters happen, devices get misplaced and you never know when you'll need access to your files on the go. Whether a spill fries your machine, your mobile device gets lost or stolen or you need instant access to your documents, cloud storage places all of your data at your fingertips.
Cloud storage serves several purposes. It can act as a Web-based external hard drive without the clunky hardware; a data backup source for disaster recovery; a file-sharing platform to collaborate with or send supersize files to clients and colleagues; and a productivity tool for anytime, anywhere access to your files from any device. Cloud storage solutions can spare you many headaches while also helping you become more efficient in handling and accessing your files.
Here are 20 cloud storage solutions for small businesses.
JustCloud is a simple, fast and secure online storage provider. Just Cloud automatically backs up documents, photos, music and videos stored on a user's computer to the cloud so they are never without their files. JustCloud files are accessible from anywhere at anytime and offer unlimited storage, 100 percent automated backups, and the ability to sync multiple computers and mobile device apps. JustCloud also offers complete data security and 24/7 technical support. Website: www.justcloud.com
Hightail (Formerly YouSendIt)
Hightail helps professionals around the world securely share and control files from anywhere. The service lets users send files of up to 10 GB from their computer or mobile device and control exactly who sees them. Users can also share project folders with clients and colleagues and decide who can edit and update them. Hightail offers unlimited storage space and both mobile and desktop apps so files can be accessed from anywhere. Website: www.hightail.com
OpenDrive is an online storage service that creates a virtual file system on users' computer or mobile device, enabling them to work with their files in the cloud. The mission of OpenDrive is to provide one single source of files residing in the cloud and the ability to access them from any device — unlike other services that create multiple copies across connected devices or mirror existing files on a computer. OpenDrive offers online storage, online backup services, file syncing and online sharing and collaboration tools. Website: www.opendrive.com
[For a side-by-side comparison of the best online data storage services, visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.]
Mozy offers cloud backup, sync and mobile access for computers and servers for individuals, businesses and enterprise IT services. Mozy's sync services are simple because they keep every file updated throughout the day. Mozy features include automatic cloud backup, mobile access, military-grade security, data restore capabilities, server backups and data management. Website: www.mozy.com
Carbonite keeps small businesses and home offices running smoothly. The company offers a comprehensive suite of affordable services for data protection, recovery and anytime, anywhere accessibility. The services include automatic backup, easy restore capabilities, anytime, anywhere access and high levels of security. The files it can store include documents, spreadsheets, emails, point-of-sale files, pictures and graphics, videos, financial and accounting files and customer relationship management files. Carbonite offers plans for individuals, businesses and businesses with server needs. Plans range from $59 to $799 a year. Website: www.carbonite.com
Mankayia offers free, unlimited online storage with file-sharing features, media streaming, mobile access and a drag-and-drop interface. The service is Web-based, not software-based, so there is no limit on how many computers or devices you connect to the service at the same time. In addition to its free plan, Mankayia also offers a Pro Plan for $15 a month. While both plans offer unlimited storage, there are some limitations to the free plan, such as file size and file sharing. The Pro Plan removes file size limits; adds a Java-based uploader that can handle thousands of files at a time; and offers shared work spaces for two-way file sharing and mini sites for folder sharing. Website: www.onlinestoragesolution.com
Livedrive is an online backup and sync storage company. For businesses, Livedrive offers cloud storage, cloud sync capabilities, Web sharing, cloud collaboration and online backup services. The services offer two different business plans — Express and Standard — which range from $37 to $125 a month. Livedrive also has three different plans for individuals, which cost between $6 and $19 a month. Website: www.livedrive.com
Zip Cloud offers simple online storage for documents, photos, music and more. With Zip Cloud, users can sync all their files across their tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktop computers and share files and folders with others. For businesses, Zip Cloud offers unlimited user accounts, 100 percent automated backups, team collaboration, free mobile apps and 24/7 tech support. Pricing for business plans ranges from $35.94 a month for 100 GB of storage and five computer licenses to $71.94 a month for 500 GB of storage and 20 computer licenses. Website www.zipcloud.com
ADrive delivers online cloud storage services to millions of individuals, businesses and enterprise-level users. ADrive offers the ability to transfer files using SCP, SFTP or Rsync over SSH using any standard clients, Android and iOS mobile apps; anytime, anywhere access to data; a desktop application; and an easy search tool. It also gives users the ability to edit documents online, maintain multiuser accounts and engage in multiple concurrent sessions. Additional services include online collaboration, remote file transfer and 24/7 technical support. Features also include increased security and file history recovery. ADrive offers both personal and business plans. Website: www.adrive.com
CrashPlan combines online storage with complete backup services. The service backs up changed information as often as every minute and continues to watch for changes to data in real time. After the first backup completes, CrashPlan checks for data that is already backed up and ignores it, making subsequent backups much smaller because they contain only new or changed information. It also offers on-the-go secure file access from any mobile device, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Downloaded files are instantly available on a user's mobile device, even when they're offline. CrashPlan also features customer versioning, an online management console, a desktop application and high-level security protection. The system offers plans for individuals, businesses and large enterprises. Website: www.crashplan.com
SOS Online Backup
SOS offers online storage and backup services for homes, businesses and enterprises. SOS provides infinite storage, no file size or type limits, incremental backup, version history and archiving, end-to-end encryption and mobile access. For small businesses, SOS for Business protects an unlimited number of PCs and Apple computers, provides unlimited versioning with Timeline Recovery and has built-in local backup. It starts at $39.99 per month. Website: www.sosonlinebackup.com
Acronis True Image Online
Acronis offers complete data protection, secure file access, and syncing and sharing solutions as well as system management tools suitable for any environment. Designed to work both on premise and in the cloud, Acronis works for any infrastructure — from small local businesses to multisystem enterprises with on-site and off-site endpoints. Designed with small businesses in mind, the Acronis Backup features single-pass disk imaging that protects everything in one simple step. It can also recover anything and restore systems to different hardware without worrying about compatibilities. Website: www.acronis.com
IDrive offers storage plans for individuals and businesses, which range from being free to $49.75 per year. Not only can this service back up your computer — it also boasts extensive file-sharing and syncing capabilities. Specific features include the ability to share files and folders via email, Facebook and Twitter, mobile access, remote management tools and online file syncing. It can also back up multiple devices and back up files in real time. The service is highly secure as it transfers and stores files with 256-bit AES encryption using a user-defined key that is not stored anywhere on the servers. Website: www.idrive.com
Copy offers a cloud storage solution that's both cheap and secure. Users can share accounts amongst multiple users as well as toggle between personal and company accounts using the same login. Its features include SignNow integration for fast and easy eSignatures, enterprise-class security that doesn't rely on third parties and no size limits or viewing restrictions. Copy members can save, access and share files via the Copy desktop and mobile apps, which are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. If you only need to share a file or two, you can also drag and drop individual files directly into the Copy.com home page; you'll get a unique, secure link to the file and built-in share options via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email — no registration required. Users who sign up get 15 GB of free cloud storage. Copy for Companies also lets small teams start free with as much space as they need for up to five accounts. Paid plans start at $79 a month for up to 10 accounts. Website: www.copy.com
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage solutions available. You can store, share and sync data across all devices via the Dropbox app or the Dropbox website. Access your files anywhere, from desktop computers to laptops, tablets and smartphones. Those who sign up can download the Dropbox app to get started. Users get 2 GB of free storage, file sharing and syncing and security features like SSL encryption, two-step authentication and mobile pass codes. For more storage, Dropbox offers paid subscriptions starting at 100 GB for $9.99 a month per user. A business account with unlimited storage is also available for $15 a month per user, which includes enhanced security, team management tools, and priority email and phone support. Website: www.dropbox.com
OneDrive is Windows' cloud storage solution, which provides users with remote access and seamless Microsoft Office and Windows Phone integration. SkyDrive also gives users a number of ways to upload and access files: over the Web, straight from Microsoft Office programs via the drag-and-drop desktop client, or through the use of the SkyDrive app for iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows Phone and mobile Web. SkyDrive users get 7 GB of free storage. Additional storage is available with yearly subscriptions of $25 for 50 GB, $50 for 100 GB and $100 for 200 GB. Website: onedrive.live.com
On a budget? Ubuntu One offers a simple cloud storage solution that includes file sharing, device syncing and mobile access for a low monthly price. The Ubuntu One client comes preinstalled on devices running the Ubuntu operating system and can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices. Users who sign up receive 5 GB of storage for free, or you can purchase 20 GB of additional storage for $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year. Website: one.ubuntu.com
Cloud storage isn't just for storing files; it's also a great platform for real-time collaboration. Google Drive offers 15 GB of free cloud storage as well as access to Google's Web-based productivity suite. Users can save, edit and invite others to work on Docs, Sheets and Slides (Google's versions of Microsoft Office's Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively) right on Google Drive itself. Additional storage can be purchased for a monthly subscription, starting at $4.99 for 100 GB. Website: drive.google.com
Need a simple way to securely share large files or folders? Box offers cloud storage that makes sharing your content a breeze. After uploading your files, share them by sending a link to recipients or embedding them on your website. Box is also accessible via mobile devices using the Box app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Users get 10 GB of storage for free with a maximum 250-MB file upload size. Free accounts are limited to a single user. To share an account, the Starter plan costs $5 a month per user and includes 100 GB of storage and a 2-GB file upload size limit. Business and enterprise plans for additional storage and users are also available. Website: www.box.com
SugarSync is a file-sharing, online backup and cloud storage solution that works in the background and syncs data across desktop and mobile devices. You can get started by downloading the SugarSync app and dragging and dropping your files and folders. SugarSync offers 5 GB of free storage for new accounts. If you need additional storage, individual plans start at $7.49 a month for 60 GB of cloud storage. Business plans start at $55 a month for 1 TB of storage and access for up to three users. Custom plans are also available. Website: www.sugarsync.com
For businesses looking for a hybrid cloud solution, Egnyte offers enterprise-level storage that lets businesses store their data locally and in the cloud. This system enables all types of data to be stored in the public cloud, while highly sensitive data benefits from the higher security and better reliability of on-premise servers. Egnyte cloud storage offers flexible and scalable plans that start at $8 a month per employee. This basic plan includes 1 TB of space and a maximum 2.5-GB file upload size. Website: www.egnyte.com
Bitcasa is a unique type of cloud storage that acts kind of like an external hard drive. Instead of just syncing files across devices, Bitcasa has a "store once, access anywhere" approach that lets users access and run files from the Bitcasa client itself. Security is also a top priority — unlike many cloud storage services, files are encrypted before they even reach Bitcasa's servers, keeping your private files secure. It also offers offline access and a "mirroring" option for real-time auto backups. You can get 20 GB of free storage for up to three devices. Paid accounts start at $10 a month for 1 TB of storage with access for five devices. Website: www.bitcasa.com
With high-profile data security and privacy breaches escalating over the past couple of years, SpiderOak aims to give businesses some peace of mind. The company offers a 100 percent private cloud storage, online backup, sync and sharing service that utilizes a "zero-knowledge" privacy environment. "Zero-knowledge" means no one but the user can see the stored data — not even the SpiderOak staff or the government. The SpiderOak client supports Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS devices. SpiderOak comes with a free 2 GB of lifetime storage, access from unlimited computers, data backups and syncing. Users get 100 GB for $10 a month with the Plus Plan. Additional storage is also available for an additional $10 a month per 100 GB. Website: www.spideroak.com
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
For people who need big-business cloud storage on a small-business budget, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) offers advanced features with Web-scale computing capabilities at an affordable price. Small businesses get access to the same cloud used by Amazon and its big-name customers — such as Netflix, Pinterest and NASDAQ — which is a highly scalable infrastructure that comes with the same security, reliability and speed that the company offers to its big customers. Businesses can store and distribute documents, media, applications and other types of files; implement backup, archiving and disaster-recovery systems; and host their website on Amazon's servers. Amazon S3 is free and comes with 5 GB of storage and 15 GB of data transfer a year. Tiered pricing is available for additional storage and bandwidth needs. Website: www.aws.amazon.com/s3/