Many individuals or businesses have cloud-based backups, or already use the cloud for something like email and chat. Almost no one hosts their own website via an on-premises server, and it’s a safer bet to let a data center keep important customer information secure. People are becoming increasingly familiar with taking some resources off-premises, but the whole fileserver?
Recently, more businesses have been taking on this exact project. And, fortunately for them, there are more options than ever, offering strong enough featuresets to make the transition feel completely seamless. Even then, finding the right one can be a tricky prospect.
Dropbox (and other sync services)
Once a small startup, Dropbox has grown to become a major player for individuals looking to backup their files or synchronize files between a desktop and a laptop, for example. Dropbox offers business-friendly plans, which start at $12.50/user/month, with 2TB of shared space and administrative tools to help the IT staff keep a handle on the management side of things.
That said, Dropbox lacks integration with the other services that cloud-friendly businesses use (and need) to stay productive. Instead of creating a platform that works with those other services, Dropbox has chosen to instead try to recreate them on its own, to varied success. There’s a new Paper app, but if it’s anything like Carousel, it might not be around for long.
The rest of the players—and there are many—can’t keep up either. Most are made for individuals wanting small, selective backups, not a businesses wanting to migrate their entire server to the cloud.
Microsoft’s solution offers all of the same features as found in Dropbox, such as seamless sync between different users, mobile accessibility, and strong security. For business users, there are a few options, first of which is buying into a Business Premium or Enterprise (E3) plan, which gives them 1TB of cloud storage for every employee. Those are available from anywhere between $12.50/user/month to $30, but also come with the entire Office 365 collaboration and productivity suite, which includes word processing, chat, and much more.
A more stripped-down, storage-only option is available as well, ranging from $60/year/user all the way up to $120, offers the same 1TB per user without any of the extras.
The benefit of taking on Microsoft’s option is that inherent integration with the rest of its services. For those who are already using Office 365 and the included storage as individual buckets for discrete employee storage areas should absolutely look into OneDrive as the more comprehensive cloud storage solution to meet their needs. For those who aren’t using Office 365, going toward OneDrive can be the first solid step in starting to see how cloud services can help a business be more efficient.
Similar to Microsoft’s tight integration between Office 365 and OneDrive, Google offers its Google Drive cloud storage option alongside the rest of G Suite. Unlike Microsoft, there’s no valid Google Drive-only option, so buying into their storage service means also paying, in part, for the rest of the suite.
Luckily, it’s not going to set you back much. G Suite begins at $5user/month for 30GB of storage per user (or 1TB per user for accounts with less than 5 users), and you can upgrade to unlimited for $10/user/month, which also includes some additional features, like eDiscovery for emails and the ability to audit user activity.
Again, the big plus here is how tightly integrated Google Drive is with the rest of G Suite—users can attach Drive documents right into emails, or tag their co-workers in a comment to automatically assign a task and send a reminder email. It’s less a simple cloud storage solution and more a comprehensive suite of tools to help businesses to get smarter and work better.
The final decision
As with any business investment, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of what you pay for in a cloud storage solution. Dropbox and its like might seem like the sexy solution—and it works great for individuals—but other solutions offer more storage, plus many more features, all for an equal or lesser cost. With that in mind, G Suite and Office 365 seem like clear winners, particularly if you’re interested in doing everything you can to make your business stronger.
Here at Bi101, we’ve helped companies of all types transition some or all of their filesystem needs into the cloud, and we’ve seen first-hand their successes in doing so. They’ve become more flexible, mobile, and even smarter—there’s incredible value to be gained in the instant discoverability features found in these cloud-based systems. Not sure if you’re ready to migrate to the cloud? Take our quiz and find out—we bet you’re farther along that you think.