Best cloud document storage
Your files and personal data are precious. It stands to reason that they should be available no matter what device you use.
In light of this, this guide focuses on some of the very best cloud document storage providers online today. All of these platforms allow you to ‘sync’ your files to their servers so you can view, edit and share them on the fly.
Many of these providers support integration with popular apps such as Microsoft Office. All of them offer a free tier, to allow you time to decide if this is the right cloud document storage provider for you or your organization.
- We've also highlighted the best cloud storage
- Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
Harness the might of Microsoft via OneDrive’s cloud platform
OneDrive, previously known as SkyDrive, was rolled out in 2007 as Microsoft’s own cloud storage platform. It works as part of the Microsoft Office Suite and gives users 5GB of free storage space. Registered students and those working in academia are given 1TB of free storage.
OneDrive is available for all platforms. You need to have a Hotmail or Microsoft account but this is very easy to set up. Users can collaborate on, share and store documents.
OneDrive also gives you offline access to documents so you can always have your most important documents at your fingertips. It comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 machines and can be easily accessed or downloaded onto other platforms.
One of the main complaints about OneDrive is that it appears to have trouble syncing at times and there have been reports by users that it can crash on occasion.
You can upgrade your storage to 50GB for $3 (£2.30) a month.
Flexible pricing plus a robust interface makes Egnyte an ideal document storage platform
Egnyte was founded in 2007. The company provides software for enterprise file synchronization and sharing.
Egnyte allows businesses to store their data locally and in the cloud. All types of data can be stored in the cloud, whilst data of a more sensitive nature can be stored on servers on-premise. This provides better security.
Business teams can work how and where they want with an easy to use collaboration system through their content services platform.
Egnyte integrates with the more popular industry applications such as Office 365. This allows remote and internal employees to access all the files they need.
The ‘Office’ plan starts at $8 (£6.14) per employee per month. This covers 5-25 employees, 5TB of storage and 10GB max file size.
The ‘Business’ packages starts at $15 (£11.51) per employee per month. This includes 25-100 employees, 10TB online storage and 10GB max file size.
In order to take advantage of their ‘Enterprise tier’, which includes over 100 employees, 25GB max file size and unlimited storage, you will need to contact Egnyte directly.
Egnyte offer a 15-day free trial for their packages.
Users have observed that some files, such as photos, can take a long time to sync.
Box offers excellent storage and integration at very affordable rates
Box is a cloud content management and file sharing service for businesses. It was founded in 2005.
Box offers strong management capabilities and security features. The interface is made for ease of use and is simple to navigate.
The dashboard allows access to settings and files and folders. Admins cam manage all users, monitors activity and control sharing.
As Box has been around for a while, it is supported by a number of mainstream apps such as Google Docs and Office 365. The Box Sync client is available from the Downloads page for Mac and Windows, plus there's also an official Android client.
Box offers a 14-day free trial for all packages. For business use, their ‘Starter’ plan is priced at $5 (£4) per user per month. This includes 100GB secure storage, 2GB file upload with a maximum of 10 users.
The ‘Business’ plan starts at $16 (£12) per user per month which includes unlimited storage, 5GB file upload and no maximum number of users.
Moving up again, the ‘Business Plus’ package is $27 (£20) per user per month and this comes with unlimited storage, 5GB file upload and unlimited external collaborators.
In order to subscribe to Box’s ‘Enterprise’ plan, users will have to contact them directly for a quote.
Unlike other cloud storage providers, if you choose to share a file with someone who doesn’t have a Box account they’ll only have read-only access.
Simplified cloud storage from a veteran in the field
Dropbox is one of the oldest cloud storage providers. It does offer a rather miniscule 2GB of storage space for free users but this can be increased by up to 16GB through referrals as well as by linking your Dropbox account to social media accounts.
To date it is one of the simplest storage providers to use. Dropbox can be installed on most computers or devices and syncs easily between apps. The app can store almost any kind of file with no compatibility issues. You can drag and drop files into the desktop app with ease.
You can also share files with other users easily through links, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.
As Dropbox has been around for a long time it integrates with most other apps such as MS Office and Slack.
The downside to Dropbox is that it can be expensive if you need more than 2GB of space and you have run out of friends to refer. The ‘Plus’ package allows you to upgrade to 2TB of storage at a cost of $9.90 (£8.99) per month. The ‘Professional’ package offers users 3TB worth of storage for $19.99 (£19.99) per month.
SpiderOak offers military grade encryption but few collaboration options
SpiderOak is a collaboration tool, online backup and file hosting service founded in 2007. The platform allows users to access, synchronize and share data using a cloud-based server.
The company places a strong emphasis on data security and privacy. They offer a cloud storage, online backup and sharing service which uses a ‘zero knowledge’ privacy environment. This means the client is the only one who can view all stored data. SpiderOak claim that even they cannot access your files.
SpiderOak’s main focus is on privacy and security. As a result, the tool itself offers a very basic design. This make the admin console and all central device management very straightforward to use. They also include a handy drag and drop feature for organising files.
Users can access settings for all applications such as backup selection and sharing from the centralized device management dashboard. The dashboard also allows users to manage their accounts, set group permissions and gain insight into usage.
Prospective clients will need to contact SpiderOak’s Sales Team directly to obtain a quote.
Online commentators have observed that SpiderOak lacks many of the collaboration tools that are available from other cloud storage providers.
Google has recently been busy rebranding parts of itself, and its famous Google Drive is no different. While the name has been retained for the free version, with a 15GB storage limit, the paid-for Google Drive plans have now been rebranded to Google One, and Google Drive is now headed with "Google Cloud".
Google Drive by itself offers 15GB of cloud storage, though this includes not just the documents in your Google Drive account but also everything else saved to your Google account, not least GMail and any high-resolution images you might have uploaded to Google Photos.
Google One, on the other hand, offers not just additional storage space but also additional features. For storage capacity there are different plans for individuals, with the main three being 100GB for £1.59/month, 200GB for £2.49/month (or £24.99 per year), or 2TB of storage for £7.99 (or £79.99 per year). Additional plans with more storage are available as required.
On these individual plans are additional options, such as setting up a shared family account to use your storage, plus promotions for other Google services.
However, for business purposes with multiple staff you would almost certainly need to use Google Drive/Google One as part of the G Suite. The basic plan there offers up to 30GB of storage on top of G Suite apps, for $6 per user per month. The Business plan offers unlimited storage for $12 per user per month (though for teams of less than 5 it's 1TB of storage).
Google's prices for Google Drive/Google One/Google Cloud are among the cheapest in the industry. Though be warned that at the time of writing Google services are increasingly inaccessible unless you use the Google Chrome browser.