Security is a bit of a hot button topic this year, with lots of high profile businesses falling prey to hacking of their drives and servers. But all businesses have data to store, so what do you use? Cloud storage is now a go-to option for most businesses, as it offers a built in backup for disaster recovery purposes. But which option is your most secure, and what will work best for you?
Dropbox is one of the few cloud storage options that offers clients for Linux and Blackberry, as well as the standard Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. There’s even a windows phone app too. The benefits of dropbox come from its flexibility and availability. It works by creating a local folder on your device for your data, that then syncs with the online version, so you essentially have a cloud backup and the ability to work on your documents even when you’re offline. The latest update has added the ability to sign PDF’s directly from Dropbox, sharing of files through iMessage and watching videos within Dropbox while working in another app. Security features include two-step authentication, and all filed held on their servers are encrypted by AES 256-bit encryption on the Dropbox side. That leads us to the downside – the data in your local version of Dropbox is not encrypted, so it relies on your own security to keep it safe. We’ve talked about this issue before, and new updates have only partially resolved it.
Google Drive is very much Google’s answer to Dropbox and OneDrive, and is at the heart of various online services that Google offers. When you create a Google account you automatically get 12GB of free storage space, and increasing this is simple and cheap. In fact, if you use Gmail, Google calendars or even YouTube, you already have a Google Drive up and running. The downside to this system is that the 15GB of storage you get free is shared across all Googler applications, so if you have some big email attachments you’re going to run through it quickly. It works in the same way most cloud storage solutions do, with a local version of the files and a cloud backup that are synced regularly. You can choose which folders or files you want to sync to your local storage, so you don’t have to keep everything there. Security wise you can set up the two-step verification and other security features, and Google encrypts your cloud side data in 128-bit AES, rather than 256-bit. Unlike Dropbox, Google asserts that it will not pry into the contents of your drive unless compelled to by law enforcement, guaranteeing privacy. Overall, it’s definitely one of the best cloud storage services out there.
iCloud used to be a impossible to use you didn’t operate with Apple, and wasn’t used by anyone other than devout Apple customers. But in 2014 iCloud Drive changed in order to allow you to store any document or file, even if it wasn’t created in an Apple App, and access them from a PC as well as iOS devices. There are no options for Windows phones, Android or Blackberry, so it’s still only really an option if you’re using Apple devices. While the free 5GB of storage might seem generous, it’s only a fraction of what you need to use the full range of iCloud services – including backing up your phone. If you want more, you have to pay 70p per month for 50GB, @2.49 per month for 200GB or £6.99 per month for 1TB. While the data is secure, it’s only encrypted with a minimum of 128-bit AES, and Apple reserves the right to go through your data if they believe it contents to be illegal or harmful. While iCloud Drive is starting to get some great collaboration features, it’s still not a user-friendly option for anyone using any tech outside the Apple ecosystem.
Of course, these are only the most popular options. For smaller businesses who aren’t handling huge amounts of data, these services are a perfect, cost effective solution with built in redundancy and backups. If you run a slightly bigger business, you have more options open to you, including running or renting your own cloud server, which gives you greater control and flexibility over your security and data. For more information about setting up your own cloud server, or to pick my brains about these services, get in touch today for a free consultation.