The top performers in our review are Zoolz, the Gold Award winner; OpenDrive, the Silver Award winner; and JustCloud, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the 10 best business cloud storage services.
With business cloud storage, companies looking to preserve and share sensitive information now have complete management over every important document. While the cloud is not the only options for storing files, it is one of the safest and most cost effective. When you store your company files in the cloud, you can access information from anywhere and easily share data, and you don’t have to worry about the costs associated with maintaining on-site servers.
Using a cloud storage provider is essential for any size of business in the current economy. In the event of a natural disaster, theft or poor management of documents, it is essential to have copies of each document online. Beyond the security provided by these services, the biggest benefit of cloud storage is the instant sharing capability through real-time collaboration. For more information, check out our articles on business cloud storage.
In this comparison, we cover small to medium-sized business plans. While every business featured in our lineup provides differing coverage, we evaluated the flexibility of the plans starting with 500GB up to an unlimited amount of space.
For small to medium businesses, the right amount of space is up to about 10TB. While a few of the services on the lineup, like Hightail and Dropbox, offer unlimited amount of space, we found that more isn’t always better. This is because unlimited space often comes with excessive costs. For example, purchasing more than 10TB of space can costs you thousands of dollars per month, and with these unlimited plans, you are often paying for data that you are not using. For small businesses with a workforce around 30 people, plans with 10TB should more than cover their data needs. Larger companies should look to enterprise solutions for cloud business storage.
If you are looking for a cloud storage bundle that is more personal and only meant to be shared with a small group of people, we also offer a comparison on online data backup. In that site, you can read about syncing your cloud with a personal mobile device.
Some features are especially important in business cloud storage. Many companies advertise and promote these features as part of their packages. While many of these advertised features are key, all of the companies we reviewed have them. So, no matter what the marketing material says, don’t base your choices solely on these features. Since they are industry standards, you should expect these of any business cloud storage company.
Automatic backup is an extremely useful tool that allows you to schedule backups for your information. This gives you peace of mind, knowing that your data will be recoverable in the event of an outage.
Scheduling your data backup is an essential piece of business cloud storage. Every company on our lineup offers this feature, so it isn't included on our matrix, though we have verified its presence in each program.
Support & Accessibility
Some other common features, which we verified but are not found on the matrix, are help and support options and apps that give you access to your storage.
Every service on our lineup provides support over email and telephone. We verified these services but did not include them on our lineup so that we could focus on less common features, such as a full online knowledgebase, FAQs and live chat.
We also didn’t include line items about accessibility for Android or Apple devices to access your accounts. Each service allows you to access your files through your Android and Apples devices; this is now considered an industry-standard feature.
The Price of Business Cloud Storage
Cost is a factor that requires close attention. In our evaluation, we encountered misleading small print of the final cost for many of these cloud storage providers. For instance, the cost of Zoolz's basic business plan equates to $30 a month and covers up to 15 computers. More users require an additional cost of about $10 per month.
Compare that plan to that of Mozy. The monthly business plan for Mozy equals out to $15 per month, which is clearly lower than Zoolz. However, that cost is per user, per month, which means the cost will quickly add up and eclipse the cost for Zoolz.
The benefit of doing a user-based monthly cost is that you get a large amount of storage for around $10 to $15 each person and only have to pay for the people that you share information with. The downside is the fluctuating cost that will be extensive if your business grows quickly.
We also found costs of data made a difference in the cost of the plan. If you want to upgrade your plan for more data per month, this often costs hundreds of dollars. For example, an additional 10TB of data could cost as much as $700 per month.
Security of Business Cloud Services
Each product on our lineup offers secure storage for your files with features like passwords and user-generated encryption keys. They also add encryption to files at 128 bits or more. Though, if security is something you are especially worried about while accessing the cloud and storing sensitive documents, you can take extra precaution to protect your information by using virtual private networks when you connect to the cloud and store your data. You can also look into internet security suites, which fill the gaps in your security networks by rooting out viruses, Trojan horses and malware.
To test business cloud storage services, we received trial accounts of each company’s comparable business or pro cloud storage plans. We conducted tests on these accounts independently, without any influence or input from the companies.
We tested these services on their document recovery and editing capabilities as well as how intuitive their online dashboards were. We also tested aspects of online storage like sharing functions, upload speeds with large-batch document transfers, and the ability to add and manage additional users.
The results of these tests helped us find the best performers in business cloud storage, the results of our tests were not provided to any of the companies prior to publication of the reviews.
Collaboration is a key reason that people choose business cloud storage. The ability to coordinate with others across your network, while still being able to control the security of your data, is a key consideration.
To test collaboration of business cloud storage, we evaluated the online and desktop platforms. In our evaluation, we tested the service’s abilities to add and manage new users and control the security of documents while sharing them inside and outside of the established cloud network.
In our collaboration tests, we also looked for types of files that services can download at once. Some services limited us to only downloading individual documents or zipped files, while the best services let you download folders without having to go through the extra steps of zipping your folders.
We created an objective collaboration score to help us measure these features. This score is based on how well you can manage and add new users and share and secure files in the cloud service’s platforms. Cloud services that give multiple options for sharing files, like email and social media links, while controlling user access received the highest collaboration scores.
During these tests, we found Mozy’s abilities to select your security levels based on the type of business you were running especially useful. For example, if you are storing medical files, you can select security settings that are fully HIPAA compliant.
Another important feature in business cloud storage is backup and restoration. This includes how much data you can upload at one time without encountering lag times or having to upload information chunks separately.
In our tests, we created a Storage score to evaluate services’ capabilities to back up and restore data; it represents a cloud storage service's ability to restore deleted files on different platforms and to schedule backups on multiple devices. We looked for companies that made it simple to work between devices; for example, services that allowed us to delete files from the desktop and restore them from a mobile device or separate browser earned higher scores.
Dashboard & Desktop Installation
While all of the products on our lineup come with some learning curve, some are much more accessible and intuitive than others. While some setup is expected, the best products allow you to quickly begin uploading and sharing your files without installation hassle or delays.
Egnyte, though lower on the lineup, is quick to install and allows you to immediately start uploading files from both the desktop and cloud platforms.
Once past the download and set-up phases, we looked for specific ease of use features like drag-and-drop capabilities and quick installation of the desktop application. We also evaluated the dashboard layout and customization of alerts and reports.
OpenDrive stood out in our tests for its abilities to export reports as CSV files, personalized branding of reports and the ability to view activity logs for all use.
These features, which allow you to share, secure and upload your documents quickly, are the most important when looking for business cloud storage because they give you control over your documents.
The companies on our business cloud storage rankings allow you to start small and grow to a possible unlimited amount of storage. That amount is crucial if you make the move to back up every file and corporate database. Zoolz, OpenDrive and JustCloud are the top contenders in business cloud storage and deliver great service.
We found strengths and weaknesses with each service. Yet, we found services with unique aspects. Carbonite, which falls in the middle of the lineup, offers special discounts for non-profit and K-12 institutions, so if you work for one of these institutions, Carbonite is a good choice for you. We also found unique features in Dropbox; this household-name cloud storage provider allows you to save multiple versions of your documents. Finally, we found the scalability of CrashPlan to be useful for a quickly expanding company. This provider offers plans that range from basic to unlimited, so you do not need to worry about limits as your company and data needs grow.