best-cloud-storage-for-nonprofits

There’s a limit to how much we can achieve as individuals, so people who want to give back will either volunteer or maybe even create their own nonprofit organization. They often struggle with money, though. To help them reach more people and reduce their financial stress, we’ve found the best cloud storage for nonprofits, including our top pick Tresorit.

Nonprofits work with many individuals and organizations and hold a lot of financial data. That might make it difficult to track everything, as well as amass terabytes of data. Storing data in the cloud makes it easier to keep tabs on your files and protects them, even if your hard drive crashes. Some services offer nonprofit discounts, too.

We’ll give you our top picks for the best cloud storage services, but before we do that, let’s define what’s important for storing data as a nonprofit. If you’re looking to backup data — it’s not the same, read our article on the difference — consult our best online backup for nonprofits list.

Starts from $ 1042 per month for 200 GB
Free plan available Save 17 %

Best Cloud Storage for Nonprofits 2019

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Starts from $ 1250 per month
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What Makes the Best Online Storage for Nonprofits

Storing as much data as you can for as cheap as you can is most important. Unlimited storage is ideal, provided it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If that’s not available, we’ll settle for terabytes of affordable space. The more plans the service has, the easier it will be to find one that works for your nonprofit.

If you’re looking for a bargain, check out picks for the best deals in cloud storage.

A good user experience that’s straightforward and enjoyable will let you focus on your work instead of cloud storage. Clean and attractive interfaces will help with that, too, and clients that run on desktop, web and mobile will make it even easier to use.

Your sensitive files should have the best security once they’re in the cloud. Zero-knowledge is helpful as only you will be able to read your data. If you don’t make a strong password, there’s a chance someone will steal it, so having two-factor authentication is important, too. It will help prevent them from logging in (read our best 2FA article).

Transferring many files will be much easier if your upload speed is fast. That depends on the stability of your connection, your internet service provider and how close you are to the servers you’re using. Uploading a file that you’ve modified would be a chore without block-level transfer, which only uploads the part of the file that’s changed.

With our factors out of the way, we’ll start with our top pick, Tresorit.

Best Cloud Storage for Nonprofits: Tresorit

One of the most secure cloud storage services, Tresorit, which means “vault” in German, keeps your data on servers in Ireland and the Netherlands.

Normally, Tresorit’s plans aren’t great value, but the service offers a 100 percent discount for nonprofits. It doesn’t get better than that. If your organization qualifies, it’ll get 10 Tresorit licenses providing 1TB of space per user. If you need to add more users, you can do so at a discounted rate of $15 per user per month.

Unlike other services, Tresorit provides many features with its desktop client. Working with it isn’t straightforward, though, because Tresorit requires you to create folders, called tresors, and sync them individually, which could be troublesome for some users. The client is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

The web interface is similar, but it has options the desktop doesn’t and vice versa. There are mobile apps for Android and iOS, as well.

Tresorit has outstanding security, including zero-knowledge to keep your data private. It uses AES 256-bit, which won’t help if someone steals your password, but two-factor authentication will.

The service’s data centers comply with the latest ISO standards and run Microsoft Azure. They also use surveillance cameras, security patrols and biometric scanning to ward off intruders.

Other Reasons We Like Tresorit

Tresorit is slower than other services, but that is, in part, due to its private, end-to-end file encryption. Unless you’re working with large files, speed won’t be an issue. If Tresorit uses too much of your system resources, you can throttle upload and download speeds separately. You can even schedule when throttle is enabled.

It’s tough to beat Tresorit for nonprofits when the service provides 10 free licenses. When you add competent security and satisfying speeds, it’s easy to see why we’ve made Tresorit our top pick. If you want to learn more about it, read our in-depth Tresorit review.


Pros:

  • Great plan for nonprofits
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Good overall security

Cons:

  • Sync speeds could be better
Starts from $ 1042 per month for 200 GB
Free plan available Save 17 %

Google Cloud with Storage Made Easy

Dedicated storage providers are an easy choice, but if you want to have full control and customize your solution the way you see fit, there’s only one way to go: infrastructure-as-a-service. Google Cloud is one of the most popular names in the industry and Storage Made Easy, a service that lets you choose how you store files, is a great fit for it.

The prices for storage and usage are far from a bargain, but Google Cloud is free for nonprofits. Plus, you’ll get access to G-Suite for non-profits, which includes unlimited email addresses at your custom domain, 24/7 phone and chat support, 30GB of storage space per user and video calls that can host up to 25 participants.

Using SME isn’t quite as friendly or polished as dedicated clients for other services are, but it’s easy to connect it to Google and manage files. You can do so by using the web interface or downloading the desktop file management client.

Once you log in to the web client, you’ll be presented with multiple links you can use to add a cloud provider, launch the file manager or download cloud apps. There’s a desktop client for those who prefer to not use the web. Its design is underwhelming but it doesn’t prevent you from doing your work.

SME also provides a network drive for some services, including Google Cloud. That’s convenient because it enables you to save space on your hard drive by storing your files exclusively in the cloud. Unlike with sync folders, you’ll still be able to browse those files in your system as if they were stored locally.

Google Cloud uses OAuth, an authentication token, which gives it a security advantage over its rivals that use API keys. The service splits your data into chunks and encrypts them at-rest using a 128-bit or 256-bit encryption protocol. The encryption keys are encrypted using Google Cloud Key Management Service, which allows you to manage them.

Besides virtual protection, Google secures its facilities against trespassing using biometric scanners, CCTV cameras, fences and patrols. If you’d like to learn more, read the full security whitepaper.

Other Reasons We Like Google Cloud with Storage Made Easy

The speed of your connection will largely depend on your ISP and how close you are to Google’s servers. The latter shouldn’t pose a problem because Google maintains a network of servers spread around the world. Currently, there are 15 data centers, with more on the way. If this storage combination intrigues you, read our Google Cloud review and Storage Made Easy review.


Pro:

  • Free for nonprofits
  • Strong security

Cons:

  • More complex than all-in-one solutions
Starts from $ 500 per month

Box

Box is one of the best enterprise file synchronization and sharing platforms. The service focuses on business clients and counts many of the Fortune 500 as clients.

Box isn’t free for nonprofits. It requires them to pay a one-time fee of $84 for administrative purposes. Once they do, they get 10 licenses that don’t expire or need to be renewed and 100GB of space. If they require more users or more space, they can request a 50 percent discount on one of Box’s business plans.

The web client offers a straightforward experience. The layout is intuitive and the color scheme is attractive. The client allows you to customize your workspace’s URL and add your logo.

If you prefer a desktop client, Box has one. After it’s installed, you’ll see the sync folder on your hard drive. Using it is the same as any other sync folder: anything you put in it will get synced to the cloud.

There’s also a mobile app which is easy to use and lets you access your files while you’re on the move.

Box uses in-transit encryption to protect your data from man-in-the-middle attacks. AES 256-bit encryption safeguards your data on the server. The service secures your key with the same level of encryption. You can also set up end-to-end encryption using Box because it integrates with Boxcryptor.

Two-factor authentication is offered to protect your password, too. There’s an option to set custom password requirements for your users, as well, preventing them from creating weak passwords.

Other Reasons We Like Box

When uploading files for the first time, Box’s speed compares well to other services. Subsequent uploads are much slower because it lacks block-level file transfer. To learn more about its features, read our in-depth Box review.


Pros:

  • Unlimited storage plan
  • Office Online & Google Docs
  • Strong security

Cons:

  • Slow
Starts from $ 1000 per month

Dropbox Business

Dropbox is a big name among cloud storage services and it pioneered the common sync model and block-level sync technologies.

The service offers discounts for nonprofits, but the administrator of your organization’s Dropbox Business account will have to contact the Dropbox Sales team to learn more. Plans charge per user and require a minimum of three users. The Standard plan costs $12.50 per user per month for 3TB of space. The Advanced plan is $20 per user per month, but offers unlimited storage.

Dropbox has been a leader in user experience for a long time. Desktop applications work on Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition, there’s a web interface to access your files. Navigation is intuitive and menus are well-organized. Drag-and-drop and other familiar options make the UX fluid and enjoyable. You can also use the mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Dropbox had a big breach in 2012, but the company has since tightened its security, especially for business users. It uses AES-256 bit encryption to protect your files in the cloud, but your metadata is in plain text. That’s the norm for EFSS solutions, though, because they use metadata for indexing and enhancing user experience.

The TLS protocol, secured with AES 128-bit encryption, safeguards your data from man-in-the-middle attacks. Dropbox protects against ransomware attacks, which is malware that holds your data hostage, with its versioning capabilities. Two-factor authentication is also available. You can wipe the data from your device if someone steals it, too.

Other Reasons We Like Dropbox Business

Initial file uploads to EFSS servers tend to be slow and that’s no different with Dropbox. Subsequent file changes and uploads are much faster, though, thanks to its excellent block-level algorithm. To learn more about it, read our Dropbox Business review.


Pros:

  • Good security
  • User-friendly experience
  • Fast block-level sync

Cons:

  • Limited role customization
  • No 24/7 support
Starts from $ 1250 per month
Save 17 %

OneDrive for Business

Microsoft has been a big name for decades now and has recently produced several productivity apps to business users. OneDrive for Business is its EFSS provider.

There’s a lot of flexibility in OneDrive’s paid plans. It requires you to pay for one year in advance for the entire user base, but it’s generally cheaper than the competition and users get their own storage. Many services only offer shared space, which makes that a huge advantage for OneDrive.

OneDrive for Business 1 costs $60 per user per year and offers 1TB of space for each user. OneDrive for Business 2 provides unlimited storage, though it starts at 1TB and additional space must be requested.

OneDrive is available for macOS and Windows. The desktop client follows the common sync folder approach. You can also access content using a web interface that is intuitive and looks good. Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS phones.

The mobile experience is as fluid as it is on the web and the apps are easier to use. By default, files don’t take space on your mobile, but you can tag and store them for offline access. Automatic photo and video uploading is available, too, as is document scanning.

Microsoft is vague about its security measures. We know that there’s file encryption at-rest. The level of encryption at the file level is AES 256-bit. The TLS protocol protects data in-transit and RSA 248-bit scrambles your encryption key. There’s no way to set password requirements, which default to eight characters long. You can request two-factor authentication, though.

Other Reasons We Like OneDrive for Business

OneDrive doesn’t stand out from other services for initial file uploads and downloads and the service sometimes lags when changes are made to files because there’s no block-level sync for file types outside of the Microsoft Office suite.


Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Office Online

Cons:

  • Limited support
  • No true block-level sync
Starts from $ 500 per month

Final Thoughts

The first two entries on this list — Tresorit and Google Cloud with Storage Made Easy — are excellent choices that won’t empty your wallet. Plus, they provide great features. Box requires nonprofits to pay a one-time fee, but it’s still a great option.

We can’t say the same for the last two, but maybe those services have a specific feature that makes them a viable choice. If you’re part of a nonprofit that uses another service, tell us about it in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Starts from $ 1042 per month for 200 GB
Free plan available Save 17 %
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