Working remotely brought a whole new level to cloud-based security regarding data sharing and how we can work from home safely. A secure file sharing platform, typically rooted in the cloud, is essential to providing your business and your employees with the protection they need to do their jobs.
When working from home or remote locations, your employees must understand the importance of data security. Many companies have launched company-wide educational programs to help employees fully grasp how to take appropriate security measures when working from their home office, logging on from a personal computer, or working in a public place, such as the local library or a cafe.
The Importance of Cloud File-Sharing and Security
Cloud-based file sharing allows employees to share information from any location at any time. As long as they have the proper credentials, they can get the information they need to complete their work. Not only do they have consistent file access, but they can get to it from any device that can connect to the internet.
As a business owner or employee, you probably know how vital it is to your workflow that your remote employees don’t have to wait for you to grant approval or send them specific files. Instead, you upload it to a cloud-based service, such as Dropbox, and they can grab it when they’re ready. This type of instant file access is necessary for a remote work model because it eradicates delays and unnecessary communication.
However, security within these necessary cloud-based file-sharing services is even more important. All cloud platforms come with a layer of protection, and it tends to offer improved safety over communication and file-sharing alternatives.
Cloud services operate on a shared responsibility model, which means that you’ll get a guarantee of safety (to a certain degree). Obviously, an employee that shares their login information online might cause a problem or two, but for the most part, your cloud service can guarantee you a specific security level.
You can customize your cloud experience to work with your industry, including any compliance issues your business may need to adhere to, which can be intense depending on your sector. Some industries require that companies provide proof of the proper data security, and cloud platforms can help you do that.
The cloud exceeds past expectations regarding company-wide security measures for sharing files and sensitive data between employees. It’s truly the key to successfully running a business that operates on a remote or hybrid model. Even companies that work in-office full time (and there aren’t many) have embraced cloud technology and the digital modernization movement.
Selecting a File Sharing Service
Selecting a file-sharing service can be more challenging than you might initially think. Many services are available now and have been popping up nonstop since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when cloud-based file-sharing became a workplace necessity.
Of course, there were file-sharing services before then. Still, the new, almost overnight, demand caused companies to create cloud-based services that would help businesses operate on a hybrid or temporary remote model. As we know now, most of those businesses would stay remote, and cloud-based file-sharing would become more important than we ever imagined.
If you’re just now dipping your toes into the file-sharing service pool or looking to switch providers, it can help to understand what you want in your file-sharing service before you commit. The process requires quite a bit of research, and this is a great place to start.
Check the Grade
You’ll need a file-sharing service that is business-grade and not consumer-grade because it’s crucial to have the security control, compliance, and access management features that come with a business-grade platform. Most major file-service companies offer both.
Installation and Space
During your search, look for a file-sharing service that is quick to implement, easy to install, and boasts ample storage space for a reasonable associated cost.
Does the file-sharing service you’re interested in integrating work well with the other applications and services you use? Consider the API features before you choose your potential new service. Also, consider that a stand-alone file-sharing service won’t sustain your file hosting and sharing requirements as your business grows.
This is the point where we’ll mention that checking any service’s key functionalities before you choose is essential to the outcome.
Accommodation and Cost
Many file-sharing services charge per user. Not only should you calculate how many users you’ll require, but how much each service will cost you in comparison. Also, ensure that you pick a service that can handle the number of users you’ll need to activate, as some have limits.
Ease of Use
A file-sharing service should have a friendly user interface. It won’t be easy to accustom your employees to a difficult-to-navigate platform, taking more time than it’s probably worth. Also, does your file-sharing solution offer messaging between employees and file storage? Most companies typically require both of these additional components in a file-sharing system.
A worthy file-sharing system will work across all devices, including laptops, mobile devices, and tablets. This ease of access allows employees to check out a file wherever they happen to be, such as if a document requires emergency review. However, it adds convenience that you’ve probably expected from more traditional file-sharing methods, such as email or company messenger.
Top File Sharing Services: The Details
Now that we’ve discussed why it’s important to layer security with your file-sharing services, how the cloud takes care of that aspect, and the criteria for picking a service to use, let’s look at the top file-sharing services today. We’ll list a few details and then some pros and cons of each, hopefully nudging you closer to a decision.
Dropbox has been around for quite a while, and it’s still considered one of the best cloud-based file-sharing platforms today. It offers plenty of advanced solutions for companies that work on a remote or hybrid model through various Dropbox Business subscription plans. Potential customers can try it free for 30 days to ensure it’s a good fit.
Dropbox has end-to-end encryption and top-notch security that will leave you with peace of mind knowing your data is safe. There are plenty of available communication and collaboration tools to keep your workflow moving along as smoothly as possible.
Though Dropbox can get a little pricey, ranging from $20 monthly for one user to $25 per user per month for the Advanced Business Plan, the features are worth it if you have the budget.
- You can start for free as all business plans offer the 30-day trial
- Use it anywhere on any device
- Offline capabilities
- You can back up and secure all files
- Easy to use and encourages simple collaboration
- Limited storage for free users
- File organization needs more flexibility
- It takes up plenty of space on your hard drive
- Content sharing could be more precise
- User-friendly interface but not intuitive
Box is a file-sharing platform (obviously) that provides users with endless collaboration options from anywhere. Used by more than 50,000 businesses and some notable brand names, Box offers security logs and controllable encryption features. Also, Box can assist your company with improving compliance issues.
Sharing files and folders is easy with Box, as all you have to do is drag it from one folder and drop it into another. You can easily limit access to your shared files and allow others to collaborate on your files from their own devices easily. Box can improve project management and automate everyday tasks to free up employee time. Plans range from free (individual) to $4,250 per month (Platform Pro).
- Easy to navigate dashboard
- Simple sharing and collaboration
- Top-notch security and encryption features
- Works for businesses of all sizes
- Crashes often
- Occasional issues downloading files
- Companies must purchase additional storage space
Google Drive is one of the most popular file-sharing spaces on the internet. Adding users to your drive and sharing documents takes only seconds. Google Drive is a great place to collaborate, and all users can see changes and updates in real-time. Google Drive is truly a game-changer for teamwork and simplifying workflow, even before the remote work boom.
With Google Drive, you can access and edit your files from any device, and it’s free as long as you have a working Google Account. However, businesses can pay more for additional storage space, and it’s pretty inexpensive. When you utilize Google Drive for your business, you borrow from Google security, ensuring protection for your data.
Google Drive Pros
- Instant file access
- Compatible across devices
- Easy sharing
- Excellent user interface
- Security features
- Solid data backup
Google Drive Cons
- Some security risks
- File size daily upload limit
- Slow downloading and uploading speeds
Decent pricing and usability ranks iDrive among the top competitors for file-sharing services. iDrive offers a fantastic combination of cloud backup and cloud storage, as well as disk image and server backups as well.
iDrive allows users to create an encryption key, enhancing the stringent security features it already has in place. The platform is also very reasonably priced, though they don’t currently offer monthly plans.
- Sync and share functions
- Plenty of backup features
- Free basic plan
- Excellent security for a low price
- No monthly plans
- It does not currently allow for unlimited backup
Microsoft OneDrive is a productivity tool that allows remote employees to synchronize and share data. It comes with a generous amount of cloud storage that businesses of all sizes appreciate. Microsoft OneDrive provides access anywhere, with world-class data centers offering state-of-the-art security.
If you’re not already using the Microsoft 365 Suite for your business, employees may find the interface confusing, and you may find the platform expensive, depending on your licensing plan. However, file sharing is effortless, as is placing restrictions on data that you don’t want to share.
Microsoft OneDrive Pros
- Strong security
- Access anywhere
- Easy file and data sharing
- Access files on demand
- Lots of cloud storage
Microsoft OneDrive Cons
- Security doesn’t necessarily mean privacy
- Data may belong to employees who leave
- Strictly storage and not cloud backup
Sync is a file-sharing service that offers many security features and a decent value for the money. Users like Sync because the company itself values privacy over productivity tools, bringing you an easily navigated interface with top-notch safety.
Sync makes it easy for remote workers to access their files from anywhere, and it’s super easy to install. Sync is compliant with GDPC and is based in Canada, known for strict privacy laws. It’s inexpensive, starting at $49 per year, but doesn’t offer monthly plans.
- Respects privacy
- Global data privacy compliant
- Easy file restoration
- Integrated local drive with multiple access points
- Easy sharing
- Exponential data (for free)
- No third-party app access
- Yearly contracts only
- Limited customer support
- Ironically, the syncing can be slow
Businesses can use pCloud on any device and secure files with manual encryption. pCloud is incredibly versatile for both companies and personal use, and users can pay a one-time fee for lifetime access. You can easily lock your files before you upload them for storage.
pCloud is very user-friendly, providing a file rewind feature that allows you never to lose another file ever again. That is the ultimate peace of mind. pCloud will always make sure that you have an intact version of your file handy, whether in the office or at home.
- Rewind system
- Impressive security
- Store files from other online platforms
- Convenient file management
- One time fee, affordable
- Easy collaboration with others
- Extra cost for pCloud extended file history
Choose What Works for You
When it comes to choosing a file-sharing service, you’ve got to pick the one that works best for the size of your company and the file or data sharing requirements that you have now. It’s not a bad idea to accommodate for the future. If you’re growing exponentially, choose a service that can work with that growth.
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