What’s cloud storage?

Cloud storage means storing information and purposes on distant servers and accessing them by way of the web, versus saving or putting in them in your workplace server.

The time period cloud is used when information is saved on distant servers owned by different firms.

With cloud computing, all of your information will be saved on the successfully infinite area of the web slightly than on space-limited onerous drives on premises.

Cloud storage may also be accessed wherever in your desktop, laptop computer, cell phone or pill. None of your corporation information is confined to single onerous drive, server or location.

Even when one server goes down, you’ll be able to nonetheless entry your information as a result of it could even be held in one other server. This manner, you keep away from the catastrophe of knowledge loss if your individual onsite server went down.

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How does cloud storage work?

Once you add a file right into a cloud-based service equivalent to Google Drive or iCloud, the file will get copied over the web into an information server. Knowledge servers are the place firms retailer your recordsdata on a number of onerous drives. Most firms have 1000’s of those servers often known as server farms spanning a number of areas, so if one goes down you received’t lose your information as a result of it is going to be backed as much as one other location. That is called “redundancy” and it retains your information from getting misplaced.

The backend of a cloud storage system consists of knowledge storage, a central server and laptop community. The central server screens the system, monitoring demand and ensuring every part is working easily.

Are you able to lose information within the cloud?

In fact, it’s doable for particular person cloud servers to fail because of bodily injury to the hardware. However whereas servers and even whole server farms may exit of motion, it could be virtually unattainable for the cloud in its entirety to crash. The cloud, very like the web, isn’t one single system reliant on one single connection.

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Cloud storage vs. onsite server – professionals and cons

Cloud storage professionals

At all times-on, 24/7 entry to information
Extraordinarily unlikely to have an outage or lose information
Limitless capability
Enterprise-level safety
Entry your information on any system
Others are accountable if issues do go incorrect
Reduces IT issues and prices – you don’t want your workplace computer systems to be hi-specification, simply to have the ability to connect with the web.
Saves bodily workplace area

Cloud storage cons

Though a month-to-month price per yr seems to be innocuous, it will probably shortly ramp up into 1000’s of kilos every year
Shopping for your individual server may cheaper within the long-term
Your information is the property of a 3rd get together
Hazard of a high-profile firm equivalent to Google or Microsoft getting hacked
Cloud storage firms, being non-public, can unilaterally delete accounts
You want an web connection, which suggests information will be stolen in transmission.

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Onsite server professionals

Quicker than cloud-based storage, which will depend on broadband connectivity velocity
Places you in management
Resolve your individual stage of safety
Cheaper within the long-term
Management who has entry to server information
Doesn’t want web connection
Disconnecting your server from the community retains your information protected from assault

Onsite server cons

Susceptible to fireplace and theft
Full lack of information if one thing goes incorrect
Costly and troublesome to insure
Tech goes outdated shortly
Your duty to keep up and improve

How to decide on the best cloud storage

Lots of the seven suppliers listed under provide related providers. It may be best to easily go together with the one you firm already makes use of as its office-suite resolution. So, when you’ve got PCs then go for OneDrive; in case you’re already utilizing Gmail, then go for Google Drive; in case you’re an Apple-based firm, then go for iCloud.

When you resolve on a supplier, three inquiries to ask:

What number of customers will want entry?
How a lot cloud storage will your organization want?
Does your cloud storage supplier run its personal information centre?

What’s the finest free cloud storage?

To tempt you, small enterprise cloud storage suppliers provide free area within the cloud. Google Drive provide as much as 15GB of on-line space for storing at no cost. For those who assume that 1GB is equal to roughly 7,000 Phrase pages. At 15BG, that’s the equal of 105,000 Phrase pages. Dropbox by comparability presents solely 2GB of area at no cost.

BT Cloud goes even additional, bundling as much as 1TB (1,000 GBs) with broadband subscriptions, so the month-to-month price is sunk. Ditto OneDrive, which bundles storage of 1TB and up per person with its month-to-month Workplace 365 subscription.

How a lot does 1TB of cloud storage price?

OneDrive presents the most affordable 1TB of storage at £5.99 per person monthly however iCloud presents double that capability at 2TB for simply 67p extra a month. Most costly is Google Drive at £eight.28 a month.

What’s the finest cloud storage for UK small enterprise?

Small enterprise UK cloud storage tariff comparability per person/monthly       
Amazon Drive5GB£1.42****£6.66****£13.33****£39.99****
Apple iCloud5GB£2.49£6.99
BT Cloud10GB/200GB/1TB***
Google Drive15GB£four.14£eight.28
*Minimal three customers/no most. Limitless storage above 100GB
**Comes with Workplace 365
***Relying on broadband allowance. Further 50GB £three p/mo. Further 500GB £9 p/mo.
****Solely accessible on yearly plans
Sources: firm web sites


Amazon Drive – most versatile pricing plans


Amazon Drive presents barebones storage, enabling you to create folders, add and sync recordsdata however with no performance to create or edit productivity-suite recordsdata inside the Amazon Drive locker.

One other draw back with Amazon Drive is that you’ve got take out a yearly subscription, versus the rolling month-to-month contacts rival platforms provide.

Amazon Drive does provide the widest vary of storage plans although, beginning at £16.99 per yr for 100GB’s price of storage and going as much as a stupendous 30TB of storage for £2,399.70 per yr.


Two-factor authentication
Very keenly priced
Home windows, Mac, Android and iOS


Can’t edit paperwork in Amazon Drive nor share or view earlier variations – lacks performance


Free – 5GB
100GB – £16.99 (1 yr)
1TB – £79.99 (1 yr)
2TB – £159.98 (1 yr)
6TB – £479.94 (1 yr)

Apple iCloud – finest for iOS and Mac OS

As a result of it integrates so seamlessly with all of Apple’s merchandise and gadgets, iCloud is one of the best storage resolution for somebody who runs their enterprise on end-to-end Apple: laptops, cell phones and iPads, who works on Apple’s personal model of Workplace (Pages, Numbers and Notes). Plus, iCloud is a user-friendly, dependable service.

For those who’ve ever purchased an Apple system, you have already got an iCloud account. That iCloud account is already cut up into two: one for storing Apple app information and the opposite for extra basic storage, known as iCloud Drive.

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And since iCloud is so firmly wedded to the iOS surroundings, it makes little sense to run it on Home windows, as it’s so restricted in comparison with OneDrive for PC customers. You can not even create an iCloud for Home windows account on a PC until it has already been used on an iOS or MacOS system.

Vice-versa, there isn’t a manner you’ll be able to double-click on a Microsoft Workplace doc if you wish to learn it instantly in your Apple system. All you are able to do is obtain them.

Like OneDrive and Amazon Drive, iCloud presents 5GB of storage at no cost, after which you need to migrate to a sensibly priced paid-for plan. Nevertheless, that 5GB consists of iOS working system backups, consuming into your allowance.


Specifically designed for Apple hardware, seamless integration
Privateness – Apple doesn’t know or have entry to the encryption key iCloud encrypts your information with. That’s linked to your Apple ID.


You can not run iCloud for Home windows with out creating an account on an Apple system
No official Android app
You possibly can solely share particular person recordsdata with different customers however not folders


Free – 5GB
200GB – £2.49
2TB – £6.99

Field – finest for medium-sized firms


Field’s focus is on collaboration, so it’s geared toward medium-sized and enterprise-level firms versus sole merchants or microbusinesses. Organisations that use Field embody BT and the Metropolitan Police, in addition to multinationals like Coca-Cola, Hole and Toyota.

Moderately than only a vanilla cloud storage system, Field acts as a central content material hum, letting staff use productiveness software program equivalent to Workplace 365 and Google Suite, Salesforce buyer relationship administration (CRM) and Oracle NetSuite enterprise administration software program (ERP). Not like a barebones system equivalent to Amazon Drive, you don’t have to obtain recordsdata to open them up once more.

Additionally you’ll be able to add context to recordsdata by way of Field’s Notes app, which acts as a sort of workflow administration system (CMS), enabling you so as to add standing updates on paperwork, create advertising plans, venture outlines and each day to-do lists, drafts for weblog posts, assembly notes, and so on.

Though Field presents 10GB free storage, its £12 per person p/mo Enterprise Plan jumps as much as limitless storage, offering you have got not less than three customers.


Enterprise-grade safety
Password safety, expiry dates
Workflow administration instruments
Integrates with Workplace 365, Google Suite, Salesforce, Adobe Signal
Works on PC, Mac and Android


No password safety or expiry hyperlinks for enhancing
Recordsdata on its servers are unencrypted
250MB file add restrict on free model


Free – 10GB
100GB – £four per person p/mo
Limitless – Enterprise £12 per person p/mo; Enterprise Plus £20 p/mo

BT Cloud – finest for infrequent cloud storage


BT’s 9.2m broadband subscribers, together with small companies, may not even know they’ve complimentary cloud storage as a part of their broadband subscription.

On one hand, BT Cloud storage could possibly be seen as free as a result of it’s bundled with any broadband subscription. Clients on BT’s restricted broadband or restricted Infinity packages get a measly 10GB storage allowance; Limitless broadband and Limitless Infinity 1 prospects obtain a beneficiant 200MB allocation; any small enterprise on BT’s top-tier Limitless Infinity 2 bundle enjoys an enormous 1TB of free cloud storage.

BT prospects can bolt on 50GB additional cloud storage for £three monthly and 500GB for £9 a month.

Nevertheless, Dropbox presents 2TB of storage for simply £7.99 a month, whereas Google presents 1TB of storage – double BT’s provide – for £eight.28 a month, making BT look costly by comparability.

In case your small enterprise makes use of cloud storage greater than once in a while, you’d be higher going with a full-fat supplier.

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GDPR compliance – BT’s servers are completely situated inside the EU, which suggests firm information won’t be transferred exterior Europe.
BT doesn’t examine your recordsdata so it will probably serve focused advertisements again to you.
Accessible on Android, iOS and Home windows


Just one BT Cloud account per account quantity, which suggests there’s no choice to have separate accounts for varied employees members.
Bolt-on information costly


10GB/200GB/1TB bundled alongside together with your BT Broadband subscription
50GB – £three
500GB – £9

Dropbox – finest for safe file sharing


Launched again in 2008, Dropbox is likely one of the greatest names in UK small enterprise cloud storage. Many small companies use Dropbox to allow colleagues to see recordsdata and information on a number of gadgets. Its easy, dependable file-syncing and storage service allows real-time on-line doc collaboration.

Nevertheless, since then Microsoft has bundled OneDrive with its month-to-month Workplace 365 subscription (2014) and Google has launched Google Drive (2015), each of which have eliminated the necessity for a separate cloud storage supplier.

Then again, loads of impartial apps maker solely sync cell variations by way of Dropbox, not desirous to be in thrall to the dominant tech gamers.

Plus, Dropbox’s 3TB £16.58 monthly Skilled plan permits password safety and expiry dates on shared doc hyperlinks.


Easy file synchronisation.
Apps for almost each working system.
Tight OS integration.
Helps file-sharing.
Reveals motion historical past
Permits entry to deleted recordsdata and earlier variations.
Straightforward to put in


Costly in comparison with Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
Options that come as commonplace in free variations of Google Drive and OneDrive are locked behind paywall


Free – 2GB
2tB- £7.99

Google Drive – finest for collaborating in small groups


What initially put Google Drive within the lead, forward of different cloud storage suppliers, was its performance, which allowed two or extra customers to live-edit a doc. Invaluable in case you’re co-writing a bit or group enhancing with a number of stakeholders. Nevertheless, since then different cloud-storage suppliers equivalent to OneDrive additionally provide this performance.

As a rule of thumb, in case you use Google as your ecosystem, it is sensible to Google Drive; vice-versa for PCs already subscribing to Workplace 365 and OneDrive.


15GB comes at no cost
Comes bundled with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides – Google’s equal of Workplace 365
Greatest third-party app integration


Much less strong encryption than Dropbox (128-bit AES vs. 256-bit AES)
OneDrive has extra options and extra intuitive performance
Privateness – Google collects different info out of your on-line exercise to serve you focused advertisements.
All recordsdata saved on Google Drive will be scanned by Google, which suggests your information could possibly be deleted if it contravenes the platform’s phrases of service
No password safety on shared recordsdata.


Free – 15GB
30GB – £four.14
1TB – £eight.28

Microsoft OneDrive – finest for Workplace 365 customers


Microsoft’s OneDrive began out as SkyDrive again in 2007. Right now, OneDrive has change into one of many three dominant cloud providers alongside Google Drive and Dropbox.

In comparison with Google Drive’s 15GB of storage at no cost and Dropbox’s niggardly 2GB, OneDrive sits between the 2, providing 5GB to customers at no cost. You possibly can improve that as much as 100GB for simply £1.99 monthly. And in case you migrate to Microsoft’s Workplace365 ubiquitous software program suite (Phrase, Excel, and so on.) you get 1TB of OneDrive storage thrown in at £5.99 for one person.


First 5GB of storage is free
Works seamlessly with Workplace 365 and as much as 1TB of storage bundled with month-to-month subscription
Straightforward to make use of
Works on Android and iOS in addition to PC
Password safety provided on free plan
2-factor safety authentication


Particular person file measurement restrict of 10GB
Microsoft stays the number-one-targeted firm for hackers.
Syncing between totally different variations of recordsdata will be glitchy
No file encryption as soon as recordsdata are uploaded to Microsoft’s servers until you have got a Enterprise subscription


Free – 5GB p/mo
100MB – £1.99 p/mo
1TB – £5.99 p/mo
6TB – £7.99 p/mo

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