Our lives are filled with inventions that quickly go from unfamiliar to indispensable, like personal computers, microwave ovens, cell phones, and digital video recorders. The influx of technology is just as true in our professional lives, and to that list, one can now add cloud storage providers.
Why Cloud Storage Providers ?
Cloud storage can seamlessly solve business problems that previously necessitated navigating an array of cumbersome hoops to accomplish the same task.
Yes, you can back up critical files by sending yourself a copy through email, but email is not designed as a file-management application, and if one ever needs to recover more than a couple of small files, then that will become painfully apparent.
An abundance of possibilities are opened up via cloud storage – sharing files between varied devices and operating systems, locations, and organizations. The value of information expands when it can be easily shared to a tablet or phone of a customer or traveling colleague. The growth in business process possibilities greatly benefits the small business that lacks the IT resources to solve the same problems by labor-intensive means.
A small business owner or home computer user searching for a cloud storage vendor for the first time won’t find any shortage of candidates. A browser search of “cloud storage providers” led me to a dozen different services by clicking on a single result link. The avalanche of names like:
- Cloud Pockets
- Jungle Disk (read the jungle disk review here)
- Live Mesh
- and still others…
Well, it left me feeling like I do when trying to pick a winning horse at the racetrack, only without the color of the jockey silks to guide me!
Analysis of any tool can ride on how that tool is to be used. It is a good bet that a sizable percentage of prospective new customers will be entering the cloud storage universe due to the tremendous benefit this technology brings to backup and restore functions. A disaster like a fire can easily destroy both your primary file system plus local backup drives, but to also wipe out files stored on the cloud, it would take a far-reaching blaze.
One of the first items to consider when selecting any product is cost. Most of these providers use a tiered pricing structure, varying with the number of computers being backed up or the quantity of online storage needed. In all cases, the cost is low compared to the potential benefit and protection being offered.
After compiling a comprehensive list of candidates and performing a basic analysis, a group of five of the strongest cloud storage providers emerged to be considered more closely:
- Egnyte (read the Egnyte review here)
- Livedrive (read the Livedrive review here)
- SugarSync (read the SugarSync review here)
Choosing From The Various Cloud Service Providers
Each product occupies a slightly different niche than the rest.
SugarSync will prove to be the most economical choice for most users.
Livedrive can handle more data for backup, file sharing via the cloud, or both.
Backblaze provides backup capabilities only, with an eye to ease of use, but no limitations on data volume.
Dropbox shows its technical roots and is the only product to explicitly support some platforms like Linux and Blackberry.
Egnyte is a more ambitious product that could prove too involved for small-scale customers.
All of the above offer free trial periods, free low-volume options, or both, so you can easily try any of the these cloud storage providers with zero risk or commitment.