The Top Cloud Storage Solutions For Businesses and Enterprises

When it comes to cloud storage, the service you opt to use is crucial. Business owners should never have to worry about losing critical information and not being able to recover it. A scenario like this could be crippling and erase months or even years of work and data which could lead to tremendous losses. Worse, it could lead to your business collapsing entirely.

Yes, the scenario we just ran through would be a nightmare. Don’t fret! It was only a dream. Thankfully, there are cloud backup solutions for businesses out there that you can trust. You have enough to worry about as it is. Busy schedule, clients, projects. The safety of your important files should never be one of those things.

Which Online Backup Solution Is The Best For Business?

With a myriad of options available, you’re going to need a solution that covers everything you’re looking for and is best tailored for your business. Would you ever want to deal with compromised confidential business files or data because your backup services security standards weren’t up to par? Of course not! Chances are you’d also be pretty upset if you ran out of backup space during a major project.

It’s also important to note that a lot of introductory types of backup services or those designed for personal use probably aren’t going to cut it if your business is beyond an exceptionally “small business” level. Many businesses have a configuration where multiple employees all work on different computers and devices so you’ll need a backup service that can cover all of them.

There are backup services out there that offer solutions which are designed specifically for businesses with administrative features built in.

When searching for the best business cloud storage solution, there are a few things you should be looking for:

  • A service that is built for businesses and can handle larger scale backup
  • Significant storage space so that you’re never at risk of running out at a critical time
  • Adequate security so that your data is never vulnerable

Now that we’ve taken care of the formalities, let’s get to the companies that are providing the best features for business owners.

#1 Carbonite Online Backup for Office

carbonite png logo

Described as a “cloud pioneer,” Carbonite was founded back in 2005. Carbonite headquarters are located in Boston, MA, and there are numerous offices located throughout the United States in addition to offices in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany. The company currently staffs over 800 team members to help protect customer data.

Carbonite’s backup solution for office features E2 hybrid backup which not only backs up all of your information on-site but also offers the added security of cloud backup. Having a local, on-site backup provides businesses with a rapid recovery solution when files need to be restored while the offsite backup protects you from disaster scenarios and addresses redundant data protection.

Pros:

  • E2 Hybrid backup protects you with two security layers
  • Easy to use and accessible from anywhere in the world
  • End-to-end encryption, including 256-bit private key encryption and TLS/SSL transport security
  • Multiple plans that will cover businesses of many different sizes
  • Award-winning support seven days a week

Cons:

  • Storage isn’t unlimited which could be a problem for some larger business models
  • No monthly plan options, annual plans only
  • Lacks file sharing options featured by a few other providers

#2 Crashplan Online Backup PRO

crashplan logo

Crashplan was created by Code42 and founded in 2001. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN and serves some of the world’s largest technology companies, most valuable brands, and most Ivy League colleges and universities.

Crashplan’s PRO Small Business solution is an excellent online backup for small business. The company offers a free 30-day trial of their services and even has a solution for enterprises with over 100 employees. Crashplan also provides flexibility by allowing customers to choose their plans by month and per device. You can also cancel at any time, so the risk is minimal.

Pros:

  • Unlimited storage – No bandwidth caps, file restrictions, or storage size limits
  • Advanced encryption – 256 AES data encryption, 128 AES communication encryption, and customizable security upgrade options
  • Restoration is easy and can be done through the desktop console, web-based tool, or mobile app
  • Automatic updates for all security updates, software features, and other enhancements
  • Universal networking that works over wireless, wired, and cellular networks

Cons:

  • No file sharing which is offered by a few comparable services
  • The mobile app has limited functionality
  • Some users have had issues with the reporting aspect of the service

#3 Backblaze Online Business Backup

backblaze logo

Backblaze has been around since 2007. The company started out as a small-scale operation and now offers online backup services for business as well as solutions for personal use, and developers. They have been featured in the news numerous times and are one of the best current backup services on the market.

Backblaze’s business solution is very affordable at just $50 per year, per computer. They offer unlimited storage which is a huge plus for larger businesses with large numbers of files to protect. The Backblaze service is both foolproof and off-site to ensure that all of your business data will be safe no matter what.

Pro:

  • Unlimited backup and unlimited external drive backup
  • Military-grade 128-bit AES encryption transferred through SSL and encrypted in storage
  • Data is accessible through the browser on any device
  • Files can be shared or downloaded from iPhones or iPads
  • Backblaze backs up exceptionally fast and doesn’t eat up resources

Cons:

  • All files are backed up by default, which works for some businesses, but can be an issue for others
  • Limited file versioning – file versions only kept for 30 days
  • Some users have reported that scheduled backups caused computer issues

Statistics For Businesses That Use Cloud Storage

More and more companies are moving their data to the cloud, and that is not by coincidence. An average organization uses over 545 cloud services on average.

In fact, here are some cloud statistics that you should know before moving your business data anywhere:

  • More than 60% of businesses use the cloud for their IT needs
  • Over 82% of the companies using the cloud reported savings
  • 80% of the organizations using the cloud saw improvements in just six months

Choosing the best cloud storage and backup for your business can be difficult, but we are here to guide you every step of the way! From choosing the right features, to the location of the servers, we have got everything covered.


What's The Difference Between Business Cloud Storage and Personal Cloud Storage?

The main difference between business cloud storage and personal cloud storage is the number of users that access the cloud at any given time.

When you get a personal cloud storage plan, you are the only one that is using the account. Most of the cloud storage companies allow you to connect only one machine to your cloud account.

why cloud storage for business

Now, this would obviously not be convenient for business users who have large teams who need to access the same data. The cloud provides a centralized place to store all the data which can be accessed by anyone from anywhere.

Another main advantage of using business cloud storage is saving on hardware costs. When you use the cloud, you pay-as-you-go and can scale very easily.

Imagine you have a storage requirement and you decide to get servers installed on-site. After a few months, the storage requirement almost doubles, and now you have to purchase even more servers. You don’t just pay for the servers; you have to pay installation and maintenance costs too. And, let’s not forget the extra staff you would have to hire to handle all this.

Whereas with cloud storage, there are no additional costs involved. You pay for the cloud storage and the features, and that’s it. You do not have to care about server costs or hardware costs. The cloud company takes care of it. So, you don’t just pay less but, you also save yourself from all the extra hassle.

Unique Features​

When you are using the cloud for personal storage, your main goal is it to be able to access your files no matter where you are. Not all of us are that concerned about encryption or knowing where exactly our data is being stored.

But, the tables turn when you start looking for a cloud storage service for your business. You not only need a service that can encrypt your data and keep it completely secure, but you also have to make sure that the cloud service you are using abides by all government regulations.

You have to decide whether you want to use cloud storage for quick file sharing and collaboration, or you want to use it to backup all of your data in case of a system failure. It's important not to confuse these features, especially for business usage, because each cloud storage service has a particular niche and you really cannot get the best of both worlds.

phone syncing with computer

Let’s discuss all the features needed in a business cloud storage...

File Syncing

File syncing makes sure that any change made to a file is instantly uploaded to the server and made available to everyone who has access. Through file syncing, you can make sure all your employees access the same copy of the file without any log.

File Versioning

Now, since we are discussing file syncing, it's also important to talk about file versioning. If more than one user has access and edit privileges to the same file and they start working on it at the same time, then the cloud service should be able to save both the versions of those files to the server.

File Sharing

With file sharing, you can give other users view only or edit privileges to the files created by you. Again, this is a crucial feature for a large team.

Real-time Collaboration

With real-time collaboration, you can work on the same file with team members working from a remote location. This kind of collaboration not only saves time on back and forth emails but, its keeps everyone in the loop.

Administrative Control

With so many files being shared by team members, it is important to make sure only the right employees are getting access to confidential data. Administrative control helps in handling all this through a single dashboard.

Encryption

Security is a paramount point, which we will also be discussing in detail in this article. Encryption of data makes sure that even if your data gets into the wrong hands, it cannot be accessed.

Affordability

Of course, with all these features, it's also essential for the cloud storage service to be affordable. Some cloud services provide more features while others provide a large storage space at the same costs. Now, it's up to you and your requirements.


Are Business Cloud Storage Solutions Safe and Secure?

Many users are still skeptical about the cloud just because they think it's not secure. And they are half right. While the cloud is safe and protected against hackers, the government might still have access to it. If you use a cloud company that is based in the United States and has, at least, one data center in the country, then the NSA has full rights to access your data at any time.

iCloud has already been hacked once. Microsoft, Google and Dropbox, all have an open door policy for the NSA. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook released a scintillating open letter talking about how the government is forcing him to create a back door for all iPhones.

And the fact is, the companies cannot do much if the government starts to push them more. That is why it's necessary to take security precautions from your end.

cloud security

There are two aspects to cloud security – data encryption and server location.

First, let’s discuss encryption. Instead of uploading your data as it is, which makes it wide open for the hackers to attack, your data is first encrypted with an encryption key and then uploaded. This key is used to modify your data and make it unreadable. So, even if someone gets access to this encrypted data, they won’t know what it means unless they have the encryption key.

Some cloud services let users decide their encryption keys so that the cloud company employees won’t have access to them.  Other cloud companies randomly select an encryption key.

Also, there are three locations where data needs to be encrypted – on your system before it's uploaded, while it's in transit and on the cloud server.

While some cloud services encrypt data on all of those three locations, some only encrypt data when it's in transit and on the cloud server.  There are also cloud services that only encrypt your data when it's in transit.

Another important aspect is the location of the server. As we mentioned before that, all the cloud companies based in the United States need to have an open-door policy to the NSA, but that’s not true for all the countries. So, if you choose to store your data on a server in Norway or Switzerland, then the NSA or even the Norwegian government won’t be able to do much about it.

The security of your data should not be taken lightly. You need to lay down all of your data syncing, sharing and your security needs, and make sure you are choosing a cloud storage service which fulfills all the criteria.


Necessary Compliance

Compliance regulations are set by the government to make sure businesses keep their customer data secure.

There are different compliances required by various industry verticals. For instance, if your business deals with the healthcare industry then you need to make sure that the cloud service you use to store your data is HIPAA compliant. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which allows you to use general details about patients for analytics, but you cannot use private patient information publicly. There are many SLAs involved as well.

Here are some other compliance regulations that you should know about:

​FERPA and COPPA

FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and COPPA stands for Child Online Privacy Protection Act. If your business deals with the education of minors or if you provide services for children then it's necessary that your data is regulated according to these compliance regulations. FERPA gives access to parents to go through the data stored by their kids, and it also restricts businesses from making children’s educational records public. COPPA ensures that minors are restricted from accessing any material online that might be harmful to them.

​HITECH

HITECH is another compliance for the healthcare industry, and it stands for Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. HITECH widens the scope of HIPAA, and it increases legal liability for organizations that do not follow these compliances and use ePHI (electronic protected health information) in the wrong way.

​PCI DSS

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and all the organizations that use or store customers’ credit card information on the cloud are required to follow this compliance.

According to PCI DSS, all the credit card transactions should be processed and transmitted in a secure manner.

​SOC

Service Organization Control has three levels, and it primarily provides audits and reports from the cloud storage company. They make sure that your data is confidential and completely secure.

​CSA STAR

CSA STAR stands for Cloud Security Alliance- Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry. This compliance has been made for all the cloud storage companies. All the cloud services registered under this need to specify the security measures they take to protect customer data.


Is Online Backup The Same As Cloud Storage?

It's important to know that online backup and cloud storage services are not the same, and they are used for very different purposes.

Imagine you have Google Drive on your home desktop, your work laptop and your mobile phone. If you upload a file from your desktop to Google Drive, a local copy of it will be made on your laptop and phone as well. Now, if any change is made to this file from any of the devices, that change will also be copied to all the devices. Google Drive will not care why that change was made or whether that change was unintentional, all it will do is copy that modification. If any of your devices gets corrupted by a virus infection and this file gets corrupted too, then the corruption will be copied to the local copies in the other devices as well. All in all, if lose your file from one device, you lose it from everywhere.

cloud backup

That is why file syncing is used for easy access, but not for backup purposes. If you are looking for a backup service, then you should make sure it has the following features, and it aligns with your requirements.

  • Unlimited storage
  • Backup scheduling
  • Continuous data protection
  • Incremental backup
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • Easy and quick restoration
  • Private encryption
  • Backups from different servers

The most important feature will always be unlimited storage. Businesses have a lot of data, and while it doesn’t hurt so much to pay-per-TB of storage for a file syncing cloud service, it can be very costly to pay-per-TB for backup.

For file syncing, not all the data is moved to the cloud. Only the data which needs to be quickly accessed is moved to the cloud. This doesn’t apply to a backup service; you need to backup all of your crucial business data to protect your organization against any system failure.

Conclusion

Choosing the right cloud storage and backup for your business can take time, and it should take time. After all, this is your company’s private and confidential data, and when you are trusting a company with it, you need to make sure that it provides all the features that suit your company’s requirements.

  • February 18, 2016
  • Blog