Cloud storage platforms enable you to efficiently and securely share files with people and always have access to them regardless of which device you’re using. Initially considered to be reserved for personal use only, cloud storage platforms have evolved to adapt to the needs of all kinds of businesses.
In this post, we will go over three of the most popular cloud storage platforms that enable you to securely share your files and increase productivity in your organization. Before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at why cloud storage has become essential for businesses.
Cloud Storage for Businesses
Deciding to move to the cloud allows businesses to save money on hardware and maintenance costs. Cloud services let you use infrastructure as a service for reducing costs and move away from on-premise data storage solutions for easier maintenance.
Aside from this, here are a few more reasons why cloud storage is important for businesses:
- Security: Your files are stored in a secure data center that has enterprise-level security. They’re backed up to multiple servers (often in multiple locations) so even if one server crashes, your data will be safe at the other locations.
- Convenience: You don’t need to purchase and maintain server hardware to store files. Instead, you can focus on core business activities instead of worrying about keeping your servers up and running.
- Mobility: Cloud storage allows you to access all of your files from anywhere. All you need is access to a computer and connectivity and you can work from just about anywhere.
- Scalability: Cloud storage enables you to optimize your costs by paying only for what you need. Instead of making projections, you have the option to pay as you go.
The first step in moving to the cloud is to find a suitable cloud storage provider. Next, we’ll take a closer look at three of the best providers in this space to help you determine which option is right for your business.
pCloud vs Dropbox vs Google Drive
Here we’ll take a look at three of the most popular cloud storage platforms, namely:
- pCloud. pCloud creates a private virtual drive on your machine which you can use to store and access files from within the cloud storage platform. It offers several useful features including integrated file sharing and sync.
- Dropbox. Dropbox is a popular cloud storage solution that allows users to create a copy of their files on the cloud and access them from other connected devices.
- Google Drive. Google Drive is an online storage service which is mainly used for storing and backing up files. It’s also a widely used solution for collaborating on business projects.
Security and Encryption
When it comes to cloud storage, one of the main concerns business owners have is data breaches. Many times, small businesses become victims of cybercrime and are exposed to extortion or threats from cybercrime actors.
Google Drive uses 128-bit AES encryption to transfer files while TLS protocol is used to protect files during transit. It also gives users the option to enable two-factor authentication for added security.
Dropbox uses 128-bit AES and TLS/SSL encryption during transit though it doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption. What this means is that your files are first encrypted on your machine, sent to Dropbox servers where they’re decrypted to extract metadata, and then encrypted once again using 256-bit AES encryption. For this reason, business users often end up using third-party tools to make sure their Dropbox data is safe.
On the other hand, pCloud is a security-first cloud storage provider that uses 256-bit AES encryption in addition to TLS encryption to protect files during transfers. In addition to this, it also gives you access to pCloud Crypto – an add-on service which enables you to make your own personal vault that offers high-level encryption with zero-knowledge privacy capabilities. This is possible through pCloud’s client-side encryption which means that no one, and I mean no one – including pCloud themselves – will have the keys for file decryption. Additionally, pCloud stores your files on at least three different server locations in secure data storage areas.
All three cloud storage solutions create a sync folder on your machine when you first install them. Every file you put in this folder will automatically be synced and made available across all signed-in devices – including smartphones, desktop, and tablets.
Though the transfer speeds of all three are nearly the same, one thing that separates pCloud from the other two is unlimited download/upload speed (including Free users) and its ability to sync and backup any folder that’s on your computer. In other words, the sync folder is there to make it easy for users to become familiar with the cloud storage software but you can backup and sync other folders without copying them into the sync folder.
In addition to this, both pCloud and Dropbox offer block-level sync which enables the cloud service to synchronize only the updated parts of the file in blocks. This helps you speed up the upload time for modified file.
For instance, if you upload a 1GB file, all three cloud storage solutions will take a few minutes to upload them to the server. However, once you’ve uploaded the file if you modify it, pCloud and Dropbox will only transfer the updated portions of the file (which happens almost instantly), whereas Google Drive will send the entire 1GB file again.
Secure File Sharing and Collaboration
When it comes to file sharing, all three solutions offer similar functionality. For example, all of them let you send files and folders to others and let you control who can view, comment, and edit them. However, Dropbox and pCloud enable you to password protect the shared links and share upload links – two things that Google Drive doesn’t do.
File collaboration is an important feature to look for in cloud storage providers for business use. Google Drive and Dropbox come with an extensive suite of collaboration functionalities such as in-line comments and live editing documents.
Google Drive also comes with a number of its own apps including Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Keep, and Google Sheets that enable you to increase work productivity. Similarly, Dropbox integrates with Microsoft’s Office 365.
However, you need to make sure that you and your team know how to use these file collaboration features in a secure manner, and ensure all files are encrypted and password-protected to keep your data safe from cybercrime actors.
pCloud has a distinctive feature, called the pCloud Drive, which creates a virtual drive on your machine. All the files you add to this drive will instantly be encrypted and transferred to pCloud’s servers and removed from your device. In addition to this, you don’t need to wait to download the files as pCloud Drive works like an external drive. You’ll be able to access files in the virtual drive with a single click.
This allows you to read documents, view photos, watch videos, and just about anything else straight from a secure drive. The files stored in the virtual drive work seamlessly with third-party applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and Slack. This unique feature isn’t on offer with either Google Drive or Dropbox.
When it comes to finding the right cloud storage solution for your business, security is key. Depending on your specific cloud storage needs, you might decide to go with a simple solution or a more advanced offering.
Let’s quickly recap the main points we covered to help you make an informed decision:
- If you’re looking to implement an easy, intuitive file sharing and collaboration tool that just about anyone can use, I’d recommend going with Google Drive. It’s great for small businesses that are just starting out and most people will already be familiar with the interface. However, be wary that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket that is your Google account, so make sure you create a monster password to keep your files safe.
- If you’re looking for a more feature-rich solution that offers advanced file sharing and collaboration options – such as password protecting shared links and in-line comments – choose Dropbox.
- And if you’re looking for a security-first cloud storage solution that offers client-side encryption in addition to file sync and sharing capabilities, then I’d recommend giving pCloud a shot. While being a lesser-known player in the cloud-storage solution, pCloud is the only tool on this list that hasn’t suffered from a data breach.
Which cloud storage solution are you thinking of adding to your company’s tech stack and why? Let us know by commenting below.
Read more: Choosing a Cloud-Based File Sharing Service