How to choose the best cloud storage for business? This question should arise to reveal the full potential of Enterprise software development. But the process of searching for the right cloud storage provider can be time-consuming. Customers need to shortlist the best secure cloud storage for business, compare price options, and get to know unfamiliar terms, like encryption methods.
To ease the search for cloud service providers for our clients, we’ve analyzed the most popular options on the market. In this article, we present the results of our research and provide a head-to-head comparison of the best cloud storage services for businesses. But first, we’ll get down to the basics of cloud computing and describe what “cloud storage” is.
What is cloud storage?
Cloud storage represents a digital data model on remote systems with a virtualized infrastructure. Third-party cloud storage service providers provide this storage system. They are responsible for maintaining, managing, and operating it and making it available to users whenever needed via a network or the Internet.
Companies opting for third-party cloud storage services don’t need to acquire and manage their virtual infrastructure. Instead, each service can be scaled to the application’s requirements and accessed via a web-based interface.
A cloud storage system also ensures constant data availability due to a vast number of servers. Therefore, the data can be moved to another server without any complex allocation procedures if one fails.
When choosing cloud storage for business, it is necessary to acknowledge that the offerings on the market are versatile from transferring and storing data such as word documents and video files to accessing the cloud to process complex data and run applications. It is necessary to determine the case and know the types of solutions.
Types of cloud storage
Private cloud storage
Private cloud storage is a service model for storing the data to remote servers dedicated to one Enterprise. It is completely isolated from other organizations and secured by its firewall. The infrastructure used for this model is tailored to the customer’s specific technical requirements.
As the name suggests, the private cloud storage option enables customers to manage data privacy in-house. It also grants complete control over the resources and lets users fine-tune them to specific performance requirements. Conversely, one of the significant disadvantages of this service model is that it requires large upfront investments and having IT teams with platform-specific expertise.
Public cloud storage
Public cloud system is designed to provide shared infrastructure and resources on a subscription basis. Different solution providers can be responsible for cloud storage hosting, management, and maintenance. As a client, you can access common security features.
It does not require the client to maintain, update or integrate it with the business. Such a cloud solution is easy to deploy and scale.
Hybrid cloud storage
Hybrid cloud solution is a mix of public and private cloud models. It can share data across all environments with the help of cloud computing services. The private cloud can secure the most critical data, while less sensitive files can be stored in a public cloud environment.
As a result, the client can get the best of the two environments and avoid the limitations of each option. In addition, it leaves much room for experimenting with a cloud solution and lets clients see what works for their organization.
How to choose cloud storage for your business?
The obligatory focus on security, top-level file sharing, and integration elements set Enterprise cloud storage solutions apart. Other criteria should take some points as well. That’s why we’ve decided to list them below. So, before we proceed to the list of the best Enterprise cloud storage providers, it is necessary to assess them with the following criteria:
- Security features. When it comes to Enterprises, data security and lack of vulnerabilities are the most cited factors that affect the final decision. In general, cloud storage security is crucial, particularly in privacy-sensitive sectors. Therefore, investing in secure cloud storage that offers the latest policies and full compliance with regulations is non-negotiable. It is a good idea to check if shortlisted cloud storage solutions for businesses use the following practices to safeguard security:
- In-transit encryption. It is the protection of the data in motion wherever it is heading - from device to device or network to network. Considered less secure while being moved, in-transit data requires extra measures to avoid vulnerabilities. Here’s what top cloud storage providers do for robust in-transit data protection: encrypt the data before moving, authenticate each endpoint, verify the data upon arrival.
- At-rest encryption. It protects inactive data stored on any device or network from data compromise. The 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) method is the most popular method for encrypting data while stored.
- End-to-end encryption (e2ee) is a communication system between the sender and recipients, which excludes other parties from accessing the encrypted data on the server. It uses separate cryptographic keys for protecting and decrypting each message. There is no way to access the data in a statement on a cloud service provider’s side. This party only passes along the letters and has no keys to decrypt them.
- Zero-knowledge architecture (ZKA). It is a design principle, which enables encryption to occur before the data is sent to a server. Then, when the owner backs it up on the server-side, no intruder or service provider will know what’s inside it.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds at least two steps to the normal login process. The first one requests a username and password, while the second can include inserting one of the unique security codes. For example, it can be a PIN code, an answer to a secret question, or a code sent via the user’s email.
- Server’s physical location. It impacts transfer and download speed due to the distance as the data can travel only at the speed of light. The general rule of thumb is to find the service provider that operates in the same area as your business.
- Uptime track record. Uptime is a standard guarantee of the availability of the data center throughout the year. In addition, it acts as an indicator that the service is reliable and working properly. That is why the best cloud storage for businesses needs to conduct frequent internal audits and optimization activities and subject all facilities to testing. It ensures that the service complies with the highest standards.
A credible way to monitor uptime is to incorporate a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) in the contract. That will help state metrics, responsibilities, and expectations between the client and the cloud service provider.
- Backup and recovery features. In case of software or hardware failure, a malicious attack, or data corruption, cloud-based server backup solutions allow the data to be restored. It means storing copies of data at remote storage systems, cloud storage containers, or other alternative mediums. Top cloud storage services for businesses make backup copies regularly to yield the best results. That helps to eliminate data losses between several backups and restore to a point in time not affected by the system failure, outage, or even a natural disaster.
- Integration possibilities. A company willing to use its on-premise and cloud apps together needs the proper cloud integration capabilities. Especially when it comes to business-critical software, joining up a cloud environment with legacy applications or systems for real-time data and process exchange is necessary. When combined, the data and cloud services become available on multiple devices over a network or the Internet. The primary goal of these integration efforts is to function as a cohesive IT infrastructure that makes life easier for every stakeholder. Above all, it saves the inconvenience of switching between different apps or browser tabs.
Considering the above criteria, we selected the top picks. Undoubtedly, due to the rapid adoption of cloud technologies, the leading vendors offer compelling and reliable technologies. Moreover, they already cater to the needs of well-known Enterprise companies, including Netflix, Pinterest, Evernote, and many others.
Discover current state of things on the Enterprise cloud computing market and the technology’s top names.
We've picked out a selection of excellent cloud storage services for businesses by analyzing current offerings on the market. Here’s the list of them.
Our top picks of the best cloud storage for business
pCloud is Swiss-based cloud storage for business and personal use. Since its launch in 2013, it has been providing great value as one of the most secure solutions with the lowest chances of data theft or hack. More than 14 million people currently use pCloud, as the data on their official website suggests.
Backblaze offers an affordable backup solution, which resembles a physical hard drive you would otherwise use in case of a sudden crash. It constantly monitors all the files, creates copies, and stores them on a cloud-based backup server. Add unlimited storage capacities, and you can easily label Backblaze as the best cloud storage for small businesses and large Enterprise customers.
AmazonS3 is an Enterprise-grade repository for online backup, cloud storage, or other purposes. It can host all the relevant data used to develop and store various types of content, including apps or websites. This storage service is packed with many great features that come as part of the robust AWS ecosystem. So the main advantage of using AmazonS3 is that it is compatible with other services in the pack.
Google Cloud storage
Google Cloud Storage is an Enterprise-ready public cloud-based solution that provides several storage classes. Among them are object storage, block storage for virtual machines, and network file storage services. Additionally, the platform houses archive services, data transport, and cloud storage for MySQL and NoSQL databases.
Azure blob storage
Azure Blob storage is designed to meet everyday storage purposes. It allows Enterprises to store vast amounts of unstructured data on Microsoft’s data storage solution. The platform’s primary focus is on unstructured data, such as audio/video files and images.
We analyzed each solution from different perspectives to justify their presence on our list and compared them to one another.
Price Comparison of the Enterprise Cloud Storage Providers
- pCloud offers predictable service costs for large businesses and gives each user 1TB of storage and Crypto functionality for $7.99/user/month.
- Backblaze’s customers don’t have to pay for file upload, deletion, or cover minimum file size requirements. Instead, they are charged $5/TB/month for storing and $1/TB/month for downloading files. As for transactional charges, Backblaze differentiates between the following types:
- Class “A” transactions are free-of-charge;
- Class “B” transactions - $0.004 per 10,000 (2,500/day free);
- Class “C” transactions - $0.004 per 1,000 (2,500/day free).
- AWS S3 costs from $0,021 to $0,026 depending on the region and the volume of the data stored on its servers. For instance, US-based customers pay 0.023$/1GB, next 450TB - 0,022$, and more than 500TB - 0,021$/GB. Additional charges for data requests are priced at the range of 0.0004$-10$ for 1000 requests.
- Price-wise, Google Cloud has different configurations and options. First of all, it varies by region. For instance, here’s what the charges look like for the US-based servers:
Depending on storage type, it differentiates between the following price tiers:
- Class A (per 10,000 ops) - 0,05$ - 0,50$
- Class B (per 10,000 ops) - 0,004$ - 0,5$
Google cloud storage provides Enterprise-grade customers ultimate flexibility in adjusting storage performance and availability. It also charges extra fees for data retrieval, duplication, migration, and network usage.
- When opting for Azure Blob Storage, clients are expected to cover several service costs at a time. The exact price depends on the level of redundancy, the data center location, data volume, and whether the company is implementing hot, cool, or archive storage packages:
|Archive storage||0.0099$/first 50 TB/month|
|Hot storage||0,018$/first 50 TB/month|
To sum up, the best cloud service providers have different approaches to billing. While some of them have a straightforward pricing policy, others offer tiered pricing and more flexibility as a result:
|Provider||Lowest price(USA)||Free tier||Comment*|
|pCloud||$0,0079/GB/month||20GB of storage space (personal use only)||No extra fees|
|Backblaze||$0,05/GB/month||First 10GB are free||No extra fees|
|AWS S3||$0.023/GB/month||5GB of storage space||Different price tiers based on a host of factors|
|Google Cloud||$0.020/GB/month||$300 credit for up to 90 days||Different price tiers based on a host of factors|
|Azure Blob||$0,01/GB/month||5 GB of LRS-Hot Blob storage space||Different price tiers based on a host of factors|
Next, it is worth moving on to other important aspects of choosing the right Enterprise-grade cloud storage. We’ll consider each service provider from the point of view of:
- Maximum storage and file size
- Vendor-native backup services
- Security features
- Uptime track record
|Provider||Max storage size||Max file size|
|pCloud||Potentially unlimited|| It is limited by the availability |
of storage space in the account
|Backblaze||No storage limit||Up to 10TB|
|AWS S3||No storage limit||Up to 5TB|
|Google Cloud||No storage limit||Up to 5TB|
|Azure Blob||Roughly up to 550 TB||Recently raised from 5TB to 200TB|
(130$ for a 2-year sub.)
|Google Cloud||Varies. From $0.01/GB/month|
|Azure Blob||Varies. From $0.0224/GB/month|
|Provider||SLA||Compensation if less|
|pCloud||No data||No data|
|Google Cloud||From 99.00% to 99,9%||10-50%|
To sum it up
This article explored the best cloud storage services and provided a good overview of their differences. They are pretty straightforward to grasp and let you figure out the best solution for the case. To save your time, we’ve collected the strengths and weaknesses of each cloud storage provider.
Choose pCloud to:
- cover predictable monthly fees without extra costs;
- never worry about data backup;
- add unlimited users to one business account;
- leverage robust security features.
When to avoid pCloud:
- you need unlimited storage capacity;
- you need adjustable price tiers;
- you need a solution with a proven uptime track record.
Choose Backblaze to:
- cover predictable monthly fees;
- leverage unlimited storage;
- secure files with built-in automatic encryption.
When to avoid Backblaze:
- you need to add more than one device to one account;
- you need adjustable price tiers.
Choose AWS S3 to:
- access unlimited cloud object storage;
- adjust the service to unique Enterprise needs;
- receive a full refund (in some cases) when the service goes down;
- access other Amazon-based services without hurdles.
When to avoid AWS S3:
- you need to minimize the number of unexpected charges and avoid complicated billing;
- you don’t have expertise with cloud service setup;
- you don’t want to invest in the team to get to grips with the platform’s complex infrastructure.
Choose Google Cloud to:
- integrate easily with other Google-based services;
- to reduce the cost of backups and archives.
When to avoid Google Cloud:
- you don’t want to cover different price tiers, which are based on a host of factors;
- you need similar service performance in different locations.
Choose Azure Blob to:
- get high service availability;
- store files up to 200TB without extra charges.
It is better to avoid Azure Blob if:
- you want to avoid additional charges due to limitations of storage space, file size, and absence of native backup services;
- you lack platform expertise;
- you don’t want to invest in the platform’s management;
- you want a more affordable solution (it is slightly more expensive than top contenders on the above list).
Let us study your particular requirements and workload, and we will help you make the right choice! Contact our team, and your search will become much more comfortable than you ever imagined.
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