Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most SMBs have had to adopt a remote working arrangement. This has been successful for most SMBs so far, to the surprise of many. Most SMBs...
Simplifying the Selection Process
Making the case for cloud storage is easy. Just ask anyone who has lost files due to system crashes or defunct devices. Now widely considered the industry standard, cloud storage solutions abound. Yet, deciding on which solution is best for your organization is more than a round of eeny-meeny-miney-mo and requires a neutral look at what features you need and value most.
Beyond their real-time storage functionality, security is one of the biggest advantages to using cloud storage. Small and medium-sized businesses simply can’t afford to implement and maintain the general security measures cloud storage providers have in place, so cloud storage is the way to go even in heavily regulated industries like healthcare and finance. And all the major players, like Microsoft®, Dropbox®, Box®, and Egnyte™ are comparable when it comes to cybersecurity. Where you might find differences is in file sharing and access rights as follows.
2. File Sharing & Collaboration
General cybersecurity and integration aside, you can simplify selecting a cloud storage vendor that works for your business based on a few capabilities. For example, how and with whom you typically share files can drive your decision. If you typically share files with others, how important is version control, inline editing, and synching to you?
Do you typically share files with one individual or are you looking to set up groups for file sharing? Do you require that your storage solution function like a file server with access rights granted on a folder or even a file basis? Those options can steer you toward one vendor or another, depending on your needs.
You’ll find that even Microsoft itself steers businesses away from its own product OneDrive® towards another, SharePoint®, for file sharing. And we can comfortably confirm this is based on capabilities and not an attempt at upselling.
3. Integration with Existing Applications
Many solutions are feature-rich. Yet, those features may not be of use to you depending on how you typically work. And evaluating what devices and vendors you already have in place will factor into your decision. You may choose to stick with a family of products like Microsoft’s to ensure ease of implementation and compatibility.
Yet, cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Box, and Egnyte often integrate fairly easily with most applications—even allowing you to save files to the cloud from within the same windows you normally use to save files, displaying the cloud as if it’s another drive or file location. If you’re willing to follow installation instructions and click a few more buttons during the installation, introducing another vendor to your suite of applications isn’t an ordeal.
4. Mobility & Flexibility
Other important considerations are your need for mobility and flexibility. Do you or your employees access files from mobile devices or need to able to work offline at times? If so, you may choose cloud storage that allows for both.
Some providers may require you to use a desktop application for certain functionality, so be sure you understand your needs and the vendor’s requirements. Generally, the more granular your preferred access settings, the more robust your cloud sharing capabilities need to be. Here, you’ll also want to be selective as some platforms may offer the granularity you need, but may require more complexity for setup and maintenance than you are prepared for.
5. File Types
If you typically work with text documents or even simple spreadsheets, nearly any cloud storage will work for you. However, if you routinely handle different file types and especially those that eat up a lot of bandwidth, like video files, you may want to consider whether you’ll have to download those files to view or preview them. The same goes for non-native file formats like those created by Adobe®, AutoCad®, and the various software types that produce files like medical diagnostic images.
There are great benefits of cloud storage from reliability, security, and collaboration to document recovery and even the flexibility to temporally increase your storage while you complete certain projects. At first glance, vendors may seem to barely differentiate themselves, but working with a managed services provider who knows both your organization’s IT needs as well as the multiple vendors and how their products and support plans differ can help you make the best-informed decision for your organization’s needs.
For in-depth reviews of cloud storage and file-sharing providers, we recommend this PC Magazine article and its linked reviews on Egnyte, OneDrive, Dropbox, and others. For a quick comparison, we created our Cloud Storage Comparison Guide to help you evaluate products like Dropbox, Box, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Egnyte. Check out the comparison Guide now for easy, side-by-side comparison.