Having access to files stored in the cloud is incredibly handy for businesses. It gives workers the flexibility to work on their files no matter where they are, it lets them transfer big files, and it even lets them work on documents together with their coworkers and clients, live.
And while there are plenty of services to choose from, it can be tough to know which could suit your needs best. So we’ve rounded up some of the most popular ones in the hopes that our information helps you make an informed choice if you aren’t already using one.
Any discussion about online storage usually starts with Microsoft’s excellent OneDrive service. And for good reason: it’s one of the best and most reliable online storage options for businesses and individuals alike, with high reliability and near-constant availability, plus it’s the one that most people have a passing familiarity with.
OneDrive has been designed to meet the needs of both individuals and businesses, with anywhere from 5GB to unlimited storage on offer, depending on what you’re willing to pay. But most usefully, it offers seamless integration with Microsoft Office applications and Windows, making it a popular choice for businesses already inside the Microsoft ecosystem.
With OneDrive, businesses can securely store and access their files from anywhere, collaborate in real-time with colleagues, and easily share documents with clients and partners. It also provides advanced security features, such as data encryption and multi-factor authentication, ensuring that sensitive business information remains protected.
OneDrive starts at R90 per user, per month, for 1TB of storage.
Dropbox is a widely-recognised cloud storage service, known for its simplicity and ease of use. From a business perspective, Dropbox offers features that make it an attractive option for companies of all sizes: it provides seamless file synchronisation across devices, allowing employees to access and share files easily. With robust collaboration tools, teams can work together on projects, leave comments, and track changes in real-time. Dropbox also offers integrations with other popular business apps like Slack, Adobe’s offerings, Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, and others, giving businesses the flexibility they need to make Dropbox work for them.
Get 2TB of Dropbox storage starting at $9.99 (R200) per month, per user
Google Drive is the cloud storage service that comes with the Google Workspace suite, making it a no-brainer for businesses already using Google’s productivity tools. It’s also an option for anyone with a Google account, starting at R29 per 100GB of storage. Google Drive provides powerful document editing and collaboration features through Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, enabling real-time collaboration and version control, and all you need to access it is a browser. Additionally, its integration with other Google Workspace applications, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, enhances productivity and simplifies workflows for businesses.
Get 100GB of Google Drive storage for R30 per month, per user
When South Africans think cloud storage for business, Amazon is seldom top of mind for anyone but the biggest enterprises. But they do have it, and it’s called Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), a scalable cloud storage solution offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). While primarily designed for developers and enterprises, it’s flexible and robust enough to be used quite easily inside smaller organisations.
With AWS having data centres in South Africa, though, businesses can benefit from low-latency access to their data and the peace of mind that comes from trusting a huge corporation like Amazon to keep that data safe and available.
Amazon S3 offers high durability and availability, but with a strange pricing structure that claims to cost American cents per gigabyte, at escalating rates the more you use. See what we mean by clicking here (this is a link to its pricing page).
Box is the last cloud storage service and collaboration platform in this Top 5, and it focuses on secure file sharing and content management. Interestingly, all of Box’s business pricing tiers offer unlimited storage, so it could potentially be incredibly useful for companies that want to store a lot of data, or who believe their storage needs are going to grow massively in the future. It’s not cheap, though, starting at $20 per month, per user, with a minimum commitment of three people.
In addition to arguably the most generous amount of storage, Box provides advanced security features, such as data encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications, which can be what businesses dealing with sensitive information are looking for. Box offers integrations with popular business applications as well, making it an attractively comprehensive solution for businesses in South Africa.
Get unlimited cloud storage starting at $20 (R400) per month, per user.
So which one should you choose? Ultimately, the online storage you should go with is the one that suits your pocket, your work environment, and your storage requirements best.
For what it’s worth, from our perspective here at Stuff, OneDrive is probably the cloud storage solution that most South African businesses will get the most value out of. It’s reasonably cheap, offers a sensible amount of storage, and is already quite tightly integrated with Windows, which, let’s face it, is the most popular operating system in the ZA business world.
The others are still great and can probably integrate nicely into your environment with a bit of effort, but there’s no doubt in our mind that OneDrive is likely the easiest way to go for the largest number of local businesses, as it requires very little training or setup before it’s ready to go.