Following the aftermath of yet another cyber attack, this time in the form of the the Wannacry ransomware attack, it is more important than ever to back up important data and files. Cloud storage solutions offer a cheap, reliable and easy way to do this.
Storing data off of your own laptop does not just help ensure you have a backup if something goes wrong, but it is also a very convenient way to access your files from any device. Whether you need to check a database from your mobile whilst on the train or you need to borrow another laptop because yours has had a meltdown, you’ll be able to continue working if you have saved your data in the cloud. Some solutions also offer bolt-on productivity suites, like the Google Apps suite, which lets you work on documents without needing to download them to your computer.
But Which Cloud Storage Solution?
There are a variety of cloud storage solutions on the market. Here are our top 5 for small businesses and freelancers!
Google Drive is free (up to 15 GB) for all new users, though the data is shared across your entire Google account. If you already use Gmail, for example, then this will count towards this total, but in reality this is a lot of space and upgrading to the next plan up is mere pennies.
The beauty of Google Drive is that you also have access to Google Apps for free too. That means you can edit notes, add lines to a spreadsheet, create a survey and so much more. There are applications for laptops, mobile devices and tablets, but you can also simply login using your Gmail address using your internet browser.
Sharing is simple and Google take security very seriously. If you run a small business we would recommend that you take a look at G Suite (previously Google Apps for Work) which provides you will even more functionality and 30 GB of storage for just a few pounds per month.
Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage for new users (Dropbox Basic) and allows you to increase this by taking certain actions such as referring friends. Each successful referral earns you 0.5 GB of extra space. The company has shifted their focus to offering Dropbox Plus accounts, which offer a gigantic 1 TB of space for £7.99 per month.
Dropbox also offer cross-device apps, but given the comparative cost to Google Drive (which offers more free space in the first place) and the lack of anything outside of simply storing files, this is no longer a favourite cloud storage solution of ours.
OneDrive from Microsoft (previously SkyDrive) offers 5 GB of free storage for new users. Like with Google Drive, you’ll need to create a free Microsoft email account to use One Drive – either a Hotmail or Live mail account will work.
If you are looking at taking this a step further and working entirely in the cloud, subscribe to Office 365 for £5.99 per month and receive 1 TB of storage. If you spend a lot of time working in MS Office this may be the best solution for you. Unlike Google Drive, which will create Apps-friendly versions of your files if you want to edit them, Office 365 will retain your files in an Office format.
Box is becoming increasingly popular and is considered more geared towards the business market. They offer 10 GB free storage on their Individual plans (though this has a 250mb file upload limit) but really this is geared up for small teams. If you have 3-10 users you can pay just $5 per user to receive 100 GB of storage or a little more for unlimited storage. “Box for Office” is also offered as a useful way to work with Box within MS Office programme.
Box is big on security and allows you to turn on 2-factor authentication, which is pretty smart.
The clue is in the name. Mega offers a huge 50 GB of free storage which already has us interested! Not only do they take privacy and date security extremely seriously, offering end to end encryption on all files stored on their servers, but they also offer some interesting additions such as Mega Chat. Mega Chat is a securely encrypted audio, text and video based messaging service.
Data Security at Virtalent
We also take data security at Virtalent very seriously. Not only are we registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, but all VAs are trained in data security protection measures and Virtalent follows all industry guidelines. Plus:
- All data and files in Virtalent’s head office is stored remotely, off-site.
- All data sent to our task management portal is transferred over a 256-bit SSL encrypted connection. Only Directors have administration access to this portal.
- VAs are instructed to follow client processes for data storage, so if you need them to use a cloud storage solution they will be happy to do so. We can also sign an NDA or confidentiality agreement to cover any work carried out by our team on your account.