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7 Super Cloud Storage And File-Sharing Platforms

  • Enterprise file storage used to mean hulking black boxes, magnetic tape and floppy disks kept safe under the watchful eye of the storage manager. These days, storage is much more fluid and ubiquitous, and most organizations need effective ways to enable employees to share their work and collaborate more easily with colleagues -- both inside and outside the organization -- without any risk of information theft.

    For this reason, many organizations are exploring cloud storage solutions, which provide the storage capacity they need without making any up-front capital investments. Cloud storage can help simplify data sharing among managers, peers and clients, and the platforms listed here also offer additional benefits including collaboration and workflow, plus integration with enterprise software programs. With cloud storage, organizations can ensure 24/7 availability of data and reduce downtime and management efforts. Additionally, the ability to set different access levels for file sharing helps ensure the privacy and security of sensitive information.

    At present, there are a wide range of cloud storage tools available. This can make it tough for an enterprise to choose the right product to meet their business requirements. As part of our "Top in Tech" series, we've picked seven sync-and-share platforms that are potentially worth making a part of your enterprise storage strategy.

  • Box

    One of the most popular platforms for businesses, boasting 225,000 enterprise customers, Box is a cloud offering incorporating collaboration and project management with storage. Box also offers basic content management system capabilities such as version control, which organizations can use to quickly share corporate information and collaborate across multiple departments. For better data security, Box offers streamlined access controls, authentication and authorization, allowing administrators to adjust user permissions and assign tasks to employees. The tool can be integrated with other enterprise software, such as CRM. Box offers cloud subscription plans for organizations based on size. Below are the most business-friendly plans offered by Box:

    Starter Plan: Subscribers to this plan get a shared workspace for a team or project having three to 10 users. It includes 100 GB of storage, and the maximum file size supported is 2 GB. The cost for the plan is $6 per user per month.

    Business Plan: This plan is intended for content collaboration and user management for small and medium organizations. It can be purchased with a minimum of three users and offers unlimited storage, with file size support for up to 5 GB. The price is $17 per user per month.

    Enterprise Plan: This comprehensive plan provides secure and scalable content and management for enterprises, according to Box. Users can tie their other business applications to the platform via an API integration program with 550 partners, including CRM, office applications, social collaboration, security and product/project management. The number of users under this plan can be customized. Subscribers get unlimited storage space with file size support for up to 5 GB. For details about pricing, customers must contact the Box sales team.

  • Dropbox

    Dropbox gained popularity as a free consumer tool that enterprise IT often restricted, but the service has grown to provide features that businesses need, including encryption and integration with Microsoft Office 365. Administrators can allow or disallow external users access to information, and the Dropbox for Business tier offers remote wipe, ability to lock folders, and an audit functionality for monitoring user activity and file sharing. The tool is known for its ease of use and automatic sync and share. and has a wide variety of extensions and APIs for flexibility.

    Dropbox Basic: This plan provides 2 GB of storage and is intended for single users. File backup and versioning history extends to 30 days.

    Dropbox Pro: The pro plan offers 1 TB of data storage, and also retains file backup and versioning history for 30 days.

    Dropbox for Business: The business plan includes 1 TB of data storage and enterprise-class features such as sharing controls, file-level encryption, single sign-on, file recovery and version history. At $15 per user per month, the service also provides support through email, phone and live chat.

  • Egnyte

    Egnyte was built specifically for businesses, providing a comprehensive interface and high level of file management capabilities, as well as custom branding and URLs. Administrators can use detailed folder permissions to define rules around access to certain data and give specific users the ability to edit or delete files. Unlike many platforms, there are no limits on file size, and virtually every type of file is supported. Mobile access allows users to edit files via mobile devices, which may be important for certain business types. The company provides customer support to all packages at no additional charge, including 24/7 email support and phone support during business hours Egnyte offers several plans for varying organization sizes and needs:

    Office Plan: Intended for small teams, this level offers small office collaboration that includes 5 TB of storage, desktop sync, FTP access, mobile access and custom branding. This plan is available at $8 per user per month and supports five to 24 employees.

    Business Plan: This tier is designed to offer cross-site collaboration to businesses with 25 to 100 employees. In addition to features available in the Office plan, the plan also includes 10 TB storage, multifactor authentication, integration packages, centralized device management, and mobile security features. The price is $15 per user per month.

    Enterprise Plan: Suitable for organizations with a large number of employees, the Enterprise Plan includes all feature of lower-priced plans along with unlimited storage space, and covers administrative packages that include AD/LDAP integration, SSO, role-based administration and multi-entity management. Pricing details are available through the Egnyte sales team.

  • Google Drive

    Google Apps have gained popularity in businesses of all sizes, and Google Drive provides a place where employees can easily create, store, and collaborate on documents. Google Drive for Work, the business-class version of the tool, provides unlimited cloud-based storage to store all types of files and folders. It also provides effective functionality for backing up corporate information on the cloud, and it allows synchronization of corporate information across smartphones, tablets and PCs. Additionally, Google Drive for Work enables business productivity by providing the built-in capability of opening and editing documents without requiring an additional editing tool.

    Google Drive for Work is available at $10 per user per year with unlimited storage capacity, and requires a minimum of five licenses to subscribe. Organizations that want to subscribe to Google Drive for Work but need licenses for fewer than five users receive 1TB of storage capacity.

    A subscription to Google Drive for Work also comes with a subscription for Google Vault for eDiscovery, covering emails, chat, documents and files.

  • Microsoft OneDrive

    If your employees rely heavily on Microsoft Office applications and documents, OneDrive may be for you. Formerly known as SkyDrive Pro, OneDrive for Business is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of collaboration and productivity tools. The platform allows storage of any file type, but provides the best value and integration when saving, viewing and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Users can view and modify Office files within a browser or download them for local editing, or they can sync and share files with SharePoint. The service is included in Office 365 for business, SharePoint Online plans, and SharePoint 2013.

    On the security front, OneDrive for Business provides the benefit of Microsoft single sign-on, and incorporates enterprise-class auditing and reporting, including the ability to customize audit reports. Administrators can control if and how users can perform offline syncing, and Microsoft touts its compliance capabilities.

    OneDrive for Business provides 1 TB of storage per user to subscribers of Office 365, which costs $6.99 per user per month.

  • OpenDrive

    OpenDrive offers an unlimited storage plan that may benefit businesses with large files or high storage demands. OpenDrive offers support for backup from an unlimited number computers, no file size limits, unlimited backup bandwidth, 256 AES custom encryption keys, file versioning, and an administrator console for user management. The platform also offers a simplified user experience, with a file and folder structure that stays the same whether an employee uses OpenDrive with an Internet browser or with its client-side application.

    For enterprise purposes, OpenDrive offers two plans:

    Business Unlimited: The standard business plan offers unlimited storage, file size and download/upload speed. This plan also includes auto synchronization, backup, file versioning, file level encryption, custom branding, and user management tools. The price is $19.95 per user per month.

    Custom: This plan includes all the features of the Business Unlimited Plan, along with options for additional customizations tailored to your business. These can include account type, available storage, download size support and number of account users. Pricing depends on the customizations.

  • Tresorit

    Tresorit is cloud storage for the very security conscious. Tresorit for Business provides encrypted storage on the cloud to protect confidential information. With interfaces for both desktop and mobile devices, the service protects information residing on devices with two levels of authentication. This ensures security for confidential information even if a password has been stolen. It allows document owners to track the activities of collaborators, and roll back changes by collaborators if required. The company offers two plans:

    Business Plan: The basic business plan includes 1 TB of encrypted data per user license, unlimited sharing, document versioning, activity history, access controls, user management and deployment support. This plan costs $25 per user/month.

    Enterprise Plan: Includes all the features covered in the Business Plan, plus the ability to customize storage capacity limits. Pricing for this plan is $50 per user/month.