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Why use cloud storage in business?

Cloud Storage for Business

Online storage is very convenient for individuals in everyday life. But what about corporate data? SMEs, freelancers or even large companies may need a cloud storage solution to manage their data.

The benefits of cloud storage for businesses are numerous:

  • Simplified management. Setting up a complete and secure storage infrastructure within a company is a technically complicated task. It requires a lot of resources and complex maintenance over time. The cloud allows you to outsource these aspects and focus only on the use of the storage.
  • Cost reduction. As mentioned, setting up and managing a local storage solution is a complicated task. And it comes at a cost in hardware and skills that can become extremely significant. Moving these tasks to the cloud offers definite savings.
  • Data security. It’s entirely possible to implement a highly secure local solution in an enterprise. However, it requires a lot of skill, and the slightest mistake can be catastrophic. It’s easier to trust a cloud provider that implements a secure cloud storage solution. In addition, cloud solutions are often more robust than local solutions. For example, they duplicate data across multiple servers, so there is no loss if one server goes down. In 2017, a study showed that companies experience a 51% higher rate of security incidents in local data centers compared to the cloud. Of course, data privacy is an important issue if you entrust your data to a cloud provider. It is a criterion in our selection of the best enterprise clouds that we offer in this article.

In the business setting, several specifics come into play.

  • Data security and privacy. For a company, even more than for an individual, the question of data security is essential. What would happen if the sensitive data of the company or its customers were lost, destroyed, corrupted, or if they fell into the wrong hands? This question is at the heart of choosing the right cloud storage for businesses.
  • Multi-user. For companies with multiple people, cloud storage must handle multiple users: employees, managers, partners, etc. The question of rights and permissions for each user then comes into play. The manager must be able to select who can access certain files.
  • Convenient and configurable file sharing. Corporate file sharing requires more functionality than personal file sharing. Statistics on the number of downloads, setting up passwords for the security of a sharing link, or a professional layout in the company’s colors are important features.

The best cloud offers for companies

As we detail in our comparison of the best cloud storage, there are many general purpose cloud storage solutions. If we look specifically at enterprise cloud storage, the ranking is different.

So here is a list of the best enterprise cloud solutions, with a focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each service.

pCloud: the best cloud storage also has a pCloud Business offering

Swiss company pCloud is a great choice for cloud storage, for businesses and individuals.

Logo de pCloud

THE KEY POINTS

  • Uncompromisingsecurity and privacy with the included Crypto option.
  • Service and data hosted in the European Union (Luxembourg) or the United States of America as desired.
  • Free 30-day trial for companies (for 5 users).
  • 1 TB per user, with the possibility to add storage space on demand.
  • Rates from 9,99€ / user / month, or 7,99€ / user / month with an annual payment.
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and web browser.
  • Advanced management and administration of users and space.

FOR WHICH TYPE OF COMPANY ?

Suitable for any type of business with more than 3 users (SMBs and larger companies), which have traditional needs for storage, collaboration, or data sharing between employees or with customers. pCloud Enterprise has no major flaws

The 30-day free trial with 5 users makes it easy to get an idea of the service.

pCloud for Business pricing and features

Their offer for businesses has all the advantages of online storage for individuals, plus a few interesting points:

Informations principales pour l'offre pCloud Business.
  • The pCloud Crypto option, which creates a folder with privately encrypted Zero-Knowledge files, is free (and not paid for as in the consumer offerings). This option guarantees the confidentiality of files. Even pCloud cannot access their content.
  • Link sharing has all the features needed in a professional setting.
    • Password protection for sharing links.
    • Sharingexpiration date.
    • Upload links, a very professional way to allow your contacts outside the company to upload files to your storage space.
    • Customization of the filesharing page to fit your corporate look.
    • The download traffic allowed for sharing is global to the account and depends on the number of users (1 TB of traffic per user per month). For example, a company with 10 users will be allowed 10TB of share download traffic per month.
  • With pCloud, you choose the location of the data: in the European Union (Luxembourg) or the United States. Depending on the location of your company, and legal issues, you will have the choice to store your data wherever you want. Remember that for European companies, it is better to avoid transferring data to the United States, because of the Cloud Act and Patriot Act that prevail there.
  • With thefree trial offer, you will be able to use an unlimited Business account for 30 days and for 5 users. This free month will not be charged, even if you decide to continue with pCloud Business
  • User management. The administration interface gives the account owner (and users with the necessary rights) information about each user. These “logs” contain, for example, the devices each user used to connect to the service, their files, etc. You will also be able to set the sharing and administration rights of each user. There are also tools for managing teams and billing.

The form for creating a business account will first ask you for information about the user who will own the account (this user cannot be deleted), then about the company (name, phone, number of users) and the desired billing.

PCloud for Business pricing

The price depends on the number of users of your pCloud Business account, according to a monthly or annual billing (20% savings in the latter case):

  • 95.88 / year per user for annual billing (i.e. €7.99 / month / user)
  • 119.88 / year per user for monthly billing (i.e. €9.99 / month / user).

Please note that a minimum of 3 users is required for a pCloud Business account.

Your business account storage can be increased if necessary. You can simply make a request via the interface to get more space. The idea is to quickly justify the need for additional storage to avoid abuse.

Do you have other questions about pCloud Enterprise? The dedicated FAQ page on the pCloud website is very complete and will probably be able to answer them.

kDrive by Infomaniak: a real European alternative to GAFAM

Logo kDrive
kDrive

THE KEY POINTS

  • Much more than just cloud storage, kDrive is just one part of the cloud services offered by Infomaniak, suitable for all companies (backup, email management, meetings, contacts, etc.).
  • A real European alternative to GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft).
  • Service and data hosted in Switzerland, with inherent advantages in terms of privacy and confidentiality.
  • Free 30-day trial.
  • Very flexible offers: possibility to choose the number of users and the storage space (up to 106 TB).
  • Very cheap for very small companies with 6 users or less and 3TB of storage (about 10€/month in total).
  • Decreasing prices according to the commitment of 1, 2, or 3 years. Very practical to reduce prices if you are convinced by the service.
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and web browser.
  • Advanced user and spacemanagement and administration.
  • Efficient support by email, chat, or phone in multiple European languages.
  • No digital safe functionality yet (client-side encryption, Zero-Knowledge).

FOR WHICH TYPE OF COMPANY?

kDrive is perfectly suited for companies looking for a European alternative to American cloud services (Google, Amazon, Apple, Dropbox, etc.). In fact, Infomaniak’s range of services is much broader than cloud storage and contains many other services that are useful to companies (website hosting, domain name management, secure email, etc.).

The kDrive offers are generally very inexpensive. In particular, the rates for very small companies are very interesting, with a price of about 10€ HT/month (which can become even lower with a longer commitment) for a team of 6 users maximum and 3TB of storage space.

The 30-day free trial is a good opportunity to test kDrive.

kDrive pricing and features

The cloud provider kDrive describes itself as “a secure cloud for SMEs and individuals”. As much as possible, kDrive’s offer focuses on the enterprise cloud. In particular, all offers are flexible, it is easy to add storage space when needed for example, to get a customized corporate cloud.

In reality, the kDrive service is only one part of the set of cloud services offered by Infomaniak, the company that created kDrive.

kDrive offers two plans dedicated to teams:

  • The kDrive Team plan can be used by up to 6 users. The 6 users are included in the plan, so the price does not change, whether you have a team of 2 or 6 users. This is especially convenient for teams whose numbers vary, but never exceed . The included storage is 3TB (in total) and it is possible to add space in 5TB increments, up to a maximum of 18TB.
  • The kDrive Pro offer is naturally adapted to larger companies, starting with 3 users included and 6 TB of cloud space. The offer is very flexible with the possibility to add users and additional storage space (in 5TB increments, up to 106TB!).

The kDrive service is comprehensive, and particularly suited to collaborative work. For example, features like editing Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents directly online.

Offres pour entreprises de kDrive

The support from kDrive (and from Infomaniak in general) is particularly complete for companies, with support by email, by chat or by telephone, and in various languages.

kDrive is therefore an excellent service: complete, flexible, secure, and making it possible to free oneself from the American GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). The only problem that doesn’t make kDrive our default choice for an enterprise cloud is the lack of Zero-Knowledge encryption functionality.

Data stored on kDrive’s servers is of course encrypted (this is absolutely necessary for serious cloud storage). But kDrive can access the files if necessary. Although kDrive’s privacy policy is reassuring and assures that kDrive will not look at your data, we generally prefer services that offer a technical guarantee of this privacy, like pCloud or Sync.com.

however, kDrive is still a secure and privacy-friendly cloud, but this element may slow you down if you absolutely want a Zero-Knowledge type service.

To get a better idea of kDrive’s features, you can consult the dedicated page:

kDrive for business rates and features

If you have specific questions about kDrive’s service, you may find the FAQ page helpful:

Questions about kDrive

You can also register to test the service for 30 days for free, or simply make a simulation of the price that a subscription would cost according to your needs (number of users, storage space):

Test for 30 days for free

Sync.com: the possibility of unlimited storage for businesses

Logo de Sync.com

THE KEY POINTS

  • Service and data hosted in Canada, which is not subject to the Cloud Act and Patriot Act of the United States.
  • 30-day money back guarantee (different from the 30-day free trial offered by pCloud and kDrive).
  • Complete confidentiality of data stored at Sync.com. All data sent to Sync.com is end-to-end encrypted according to the Zero-Knowledge principle (unlike pCloud which encrypts only a selection of files, and kDrive which does not offer this feature).
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and Internet browser (no application for Linux).
  • Advanced user and spacemanagement and administration.
  • Only in English.
  • No application for Linux.

FOR WHICH TYPE OF BUSINESS?

Sync.com is a very good Canadian cloud storage service, which has the particularity of using private encryption on all data entrusted to it. There is no need to put the files in a specific folder like with pCloud. This will interest companies that store particularly sensitive and confidential data.

The other special feature of Sync.com is that it is a Canadian service. If you need to store your data on the American continent, then Canada is a good solution. This is because Sync.com is not subject to the privacy issues that companies in the United States face.

On the downside, Sync.com is only available in English and does not yet have an application for Linux.

Sync.com is a common alternative to pCloud. Among its main differences that distinguish it from pCloud Business are:

  • 3 distinct offers to best fit your online storage needs for your business
    • Teams Standard: for teams (from 2 users, but it is possible to go up to 50 users).
    • Teams Unlimited: for teams of 2 to 50 users, but with unlimited storage and some additional features (ability to customize your sharing links with your company logo, access to phone support in English).
    • Enterprise: For large companies with more than 100 users. Given the importance of the needs, it will be necessary to contact Sync.com to define the exact requirements and obtain a quote.
  • Sync.com and its servers are located in Canada. Outside of Europe, but it is important to understand that Canada is not the United States. In fact, the privacy policy is much more secure than in the United States.
  • All data stored on Sync.com’s servers is encrypted on the client side, using Zero-Knowledge. In other words, even the Sync.com cloud provider cannot decrypt and read this data. This offers complete confidentiality of the stored data.
  • The Teams Unlimited offering provides unlimited storage space, which will come in handy if you know you have large data to store for your business.

For more information on Sync.com’s services and features, visit the dedicated page

Sync.com Business Rates and Features

If you have any questions about how Sync.com works, you will probably find the answers in the Sync.com Help:

FAQ about Sync.com

What is the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup?

Be careful not to confuse online backup with online storage.

Enterprise cloud storage

What we call today online storage or cloud storage aims to centralize a set of data in order to access them from different devices (computers or mobile devices).

In the enterprise, this makes sense because then the same file must be accessible to several people. Without a file synchronization system, this type of data sharing quickly becomes an ordeal. Sending each version of a file by email is unfortunately too common, and of course often leads to costly mistakes to correct.

Using the cloud for easy and controlled access to all company data is an undeniable benefit.

It also makes sharing files with people outside the company (customers or others) much easier.

Enterprise Cloud Backup

The main objective of cloud backup is to keep the state of the company’s data in case of accidental loss.

Breakdown, destruction or theft of computer equipment are things that happen in business, and the loss of stored data can be catastrophic. Even a simple operating error can result in the destruction of important data.

Backup tools take pictures of all the data on a computer so they can be restored at any time. This type of tool allows to get out of very complicated situations.

In this article, we look at cloud storage for businesses.

Security and data privacy for cloud storage

There are many aspects that make cloud storage secure in a business setting. It is essential to consider them when choosing the enterprise cloud you will use with your team.

Protection against data loss

Privacy and Data Confidentiality in the Cloud

If you store your business data online, the issue of privacy is paramount. Can you safely entrust another company with sensitive data, or even personal customer data to a cloud provider?

The risk of this data being leaked or accessed by people outside your company is significant and must be protected.

End-to-end private encryption or Zero Knowledge principle

To ensure that your data is only readable within your company, even if you entrust it to an online storage service, there is a solution that is almost foolproof. It’s what we’ll call private encryption, or “Zero Knowledge”.

Private encryption improves the security of data entrusted to the cloud storage provider. With many cloud storage services, data is obviously encrypted before it is stored on the servers. A malicious person accessing the cloud storage servers will only be able to read your data if he has the key to decrypt the data.

However, this key is stored at your cloud storage provider, so you have no guarantee that this won’t happen.

Or even more simply, it means that the storage service itself or its employees can access the data and decrypt it, leaving a huge hole in data privacy.

Unfortunately, this is the problem that often drives people away from web giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, but also from Dropbox. Indeed, all these services do not offer private encryption, which clearly means that they can scan and process the data (especially for commercial and advertising purposes) that you entrust to them. Moreover, with these cloud providers, the data is often stored in the United States, which has very problematic regulations in terms of privacy and data confidentiality.

The solution is end-to-end private encryption. This encryption method follows the following principle:

  • The encryption key is created and kept by the user and does not leave the user. When the data leaves your device to be transferred to the storage servers, it has already been encrypted. Specifically, the key is never stored at the online storage provider, and the provider never handles readable data. Therefore, as long as you remain in possession of the key, only you can view the content of the files stored at your online storage provider.

Patriot Act, Cloud Act, RGPD and European company data storage

In the world of the cloud where American companies (and in particular GAFAM Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) are omnipresent, some questions arise:

As a European company, can I store my company or customer data with an American company?

In the United States, companies are subject to specific legislation: the Patriot Act and the Cloud Act. Although the Patriot Act was created in response to the events of September 2001 and was intended to be temporary, some of its elements have been made permanent. It was followed by the Cloud Act, one of whose purposes is to apply the Patriot Act more specifically to cloud actors. In short, the purpose of these regulations is to allow U.S. authorities to access data stored with cloud providers.

It is important to note that this is not to say that your data can be accessed by U.S. authorities at any time. There are rules for allowing this access (in particular, the authorization given by a judge). But it is necessary to keep in mind, especially for companies, that your data can be accessed under certain conditions.

What if our data is hosted in Europe?

Also, it is important to clarify that even if the data is hosted in Europe but through an American provider (notably GAFAM), then the US considers that this data falls under the Cloud Act.

Is it better to have the data stored by a European cloud?

Indeed, to satisfy privacy needs and RGPD compliance in the cloud, a European cloud provider seems to be the most reasonable option.

The other specificities of online storage for companies

Enterprise user additions and management

User management is a major issue with business online storage.

The number of users associated with enterprise cloud storage must be able to grow over time. Therefore, an interface is needed to manage the accounts: adding, deleting and editing the different user accounts associated with an enterprise account.

The capabilities of such an interface vary greatly from one cloud storage to another. Some allow you to organize users into teams, or to associate certain rights directly to each user. Some provide access to a history of operations performed by the user, etc.

File access interfaces

File synchronization and the ability to access them at any time is one of the key needs met by online storage.

It is therefore important to pay attention to the systems that are compatible with the cloud storage you choose. For example, if some of your company’s computers run on Linux, it would be a shame not to select a provider that offers a Linux-compatible application.

File Sharing

In a corporate environment, file sharing becomes more sensitive than for files sent between friends or family.

Some features that are usually useless for a private individual become indispensable for a professional cloud storage. This is because files can be sent to people outside the company (customers, contacts, suppliers, etc.).

Here are some of the features that should not be underestimated in a company:

  • Passwordprotection of sharing links. Thus, it is no longer sufficient to obtain the link to access the targeted files, but it will also be necessary to enter a predefined password.
  • Set a time limit beyond which the link will no longer work.
  • It is also useful to get statistics of consultation or download of shared files.
  • Upload link. This is the opposite of the classic sharing link, as it allows your recipient to send you a file (instead of allowing them to download it). Very practical, it allows one of your contacts to upload one or more files to your online storage space. This is extremely convenient when you need to receive certain documents, especially if they are large.

Amount of cloud storage space

Professional online storage offerings generally fall into one of two categories:

  • Global space shared among all users. This is a storage space that contains all synchronized company data online. The storage space is not allocated to a particular user, but to all of them. However, it is possible for the administrator to manage the permissions of each user to access a particular file. Sometimes the storage space is potentially “unlimited” (but the online storage provider decides if the usage is reasonable or not).
  • Individual storage space for each user. In this case, each user has his own storage space. Of course, he can easily share his files with other users, but he is the owner.

The choice between these two modes of operation depends strongly on the activity of the company, and the way in which the data will be specific to each one or centralized.

Pricing and trial periods

The question of pricing is of course essential for a company. A business manager is likely to be wary of making a long-term commitment to a service he or she is not familiar with.

Fortunately, most major business online storage providers understand this. So they usually offer a free trial period, usually from 2 weeks to a month, which will allow you to test the service extensively before committing yourself.

Our selection of the best cloud storage for business

1. pCloud

Logo de pCloud

THE KEY POINTS

  • Uncompromisingsecurity and privacy with the included Crypto option.
  • Service and data hosted in the European Union (Luxembourg) or in the United States of America, as desired.
  • Free 30-day trial for businesses (for 5 users).
  • 1 TB per user, with the possibility to add storage space on demand.
  • Rates from 9,99€ / user / month, or 7,99€ / user / month with an annual payment.
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and web browser.
  • Advanced management and administration of users and space.

FOR WHICH TYPE OF COMPANY ?

Suitable for any type of business with more than 3 users (SMBs and larger companies), which have traditional needs for storage, collaboration, or data sharing between employees or with customers. pCloud Enterprise has no major flaws

The 30-day free trial with 5 users makes it easy to get an idea of the service.

pCloud for Business pricing and features

2. kDrive from Infomaniak

Logo kDrive
kDrive

THE ESSENTIAL POINTS

  • Much more than just cloud storage, kDrive is just one part of the cloud services offered by Infomaniak, suitable for all companies (backup, email management, meetings, contacts, etc.).
  • A real European alternative to GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft).
  • Service and data hosted in Switzerland, with inherent advantages in terms of privacy and confidentiality.
  • Free 30-day trial.
  • Very flexible offers: possibility to choose the number of users and the storage space (up to 106 TB).
  • Very cheap for very small companies with 6 users or less and 3TB of storage (about 10€/month in total).
  • Decreasing prices according to the commitment of 1, 2, or 3 years. Very practical to reduce prices if you are convinced by the service.
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and web browser.
  • Advanced user and spacemanagement and administration.
  • Efficient support by email, chat, or phone in multiple European languages.
  • No digital safe functionality yet (client-side encryption, Zero-Knowledge).

FOR WHICH TYPE OF COMPANY?

kDrive is perfectly suited for companies looking for a European alternative to American cloud services (Google, Amazon, Apple, Dropbox, etc.). In fact, Infomaniak’s range of services is much broader than cloud storage and contains many other services that are useful to companies (website hosting, domain name management, secure email, etc.).

The kDrive offers are generally very inexpensive. In particular, the rates for very small companies are very interesting, with a price of about 10€ HT/month (which can become even lower with a longer commitment) for a team of 6 users maximum and 3TB of storage space.

The 30-day free trial is a good opportunity to test kDrive.

kDrive pricing and features

3. Sync.com

Logo de Sync.com

THE KEY POINTS

  • Service and data hosted in Canada, which is not subject to the Cloud Act and Patriot Act of the United States.
  • Satisfaction or your money back for 30 days (different from the 30-day free trial offered by pCloud and kDrive).
  • Complete confidentiality of data stored at Sync.com. All data sent to Sync.com is end-to-end encrypted according to the Zero-Knowledge principle (unlike pCloud which encrypts only a selection of files, and kDrive which does not offer this feature).
  • Applications for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and Internet browser (no application for Linux).
  • Advanced user and spacemanagement and administration.
  • Only in English.
  • No application for Linux.

FOR WHICH TYPE OF BUSINESS?

Sync.com is a very good Canadian cloud storage service, which has the particularity of using private encryption on all data entrusted to it. No need to put the files in a specific folder like with pCloud. This will interest companies that store particularly sensitive and confidential data.

The other special feature of Sync.com is that it is a Canadian service. If you need to store your data on the American continent, then Canada is a good solution. This is because Sync.com is not subject to the privacy issues that companies in the United States face.

On the downside, Sync.com is only available in English and does not yet have an application for Linux.