Cloud storage services are so popular that some have hundreds of millions of users. You can use them as simple storage, but they offer more than that. They can improve your collaboration, especially if they have native and third-party productivity tools. In this article, we’re going to tell you how cloud storage and collaboration go hand in hand.
That said, we’re going to tell you about benefits besides collaboration first. You can move your files to the cloud to make room on your hard drive and improve its performance. Even if your hard drive malfunctions or someone steals your laptop, your important files won’t be lost if you keep them in the cloud. You can easily share them, too.
If you’re worried about cloud security, know that many services take good care of your files and privacy. You can refer to our most secure cloud storage article to learn which has the strongest security. You should also be aware of the cloud laws and regulations that govern your files. If you’re working in a distributed team, be sure to read how to make remote work easy, too.
Now, we’re going to take a look at categories of collaboration and the services that fit them. If you want a quick list, read our best cloud storage for collaboration article, instead.
Collaborating on Documents
Text, presentations and spreadsheets are common types of documents for businesses. Editing them offline, then transferring via email, external hard drive or flash drive is inconvenient. Cloud storage makes collaboration easier.
It enables you to quickly edit documents and collaborate with others in real time. You can assign tasks, make to-do lists, suggest edits and comment. If you make a mistake, you can use version history to roll back the changes so nothing is lost. Passing messages to collaborators is also available.
Storage services that integrate with Google’s office suite or Office Online are prime candidates for such use. We’re going to use Google Drive as an example.
Google Drive’s office suite is comprised of Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. Docs lets you work with text documents and is quite capable. To see how it compares to Dropbox’s document app, read our Google Docs vs. Dropbox Paper article.
Slides enables you to collaborate on presentations. If you’re used to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, it’s easy to convert them to Slides, and vice versa, or you could work on them using a Chrome extension.
Google Sheets corresponds to Microsoft Excel. You can use the same Chrome extension you do for Slides to work on Excel files or you can convert them to Sheets and back if you wish. The extension works for Docs and Microsoft Word files, too. You can learn more in our Google Drive review.
If Google Drive’s not a good fit, you can find more services in our best cloud storage for documents list.
Collaboration and Large Teams
The era of a select few working with computers is over. Today, everybody uses one and large teams are the norm. Not all cloud storage services are suitable for that, though, which is most obvious in their pricing plans and features.
Teams are not cheap, but cloud services can be. Team plans that support many people for less money are best. Storage size per person is important, too. The services that don’t share storage between teammates are especially enticing. Sharing and transfer speeds are factors, as well, because large teams do a lot of both.
Egnyte Connect is one service that ticks most of those boxes. It’s one of the best enterprise file sync and share services, as well.
The service has three plans that are good for teams: Office, Business and Enterprise. Office is the cheapest at $8 per user per month. It can support five to 25 users and provides 5TB of shared space. The other two can accommodate more users and offer more storage space. We advise you to read the extensive list of features the plans offer if you’re interested.
Working on files that have already been uploaded is a breeze thanks to a block-level transfer algorithm that speeds up transfers of such files. Initial upload speeds are not as good, though.
Egnyte Connect has the standard sharing features. Once you’ve shared files, you can protect them with passwords and expiry dates. Read more about its sharing capabilities in our Egnyte Connect review. For other services that are great for sharing, refer to our best cloud storage for sharing list.
Another service that stands out is OneDrive for Business. It gives each person their own storage space and offers affordable plans, too.
OneDrive for Business 1 costs $60 per user per year and provides each user with 1TB of space. The other two plans offer unlimited storage, and the more expensive of the two includes Office 365.
Initial upload speeds are decent, but the service only uses block-level copying for Microsoft office files. You can easily share your files, set them to expire and restrict access, but they can’t be protected with a password. You can find out more about OneDrive for Business’s features in our OneDrive for Business review.
If you’re focused on teams, you can find more services that fit the bill in our best cloud storage for teams article.
Collaboration and Large Files
Working with large files in a remote team is challenging to say the least. You need a service that can transfer them reliably and lets you upload files up to dozens of gigabytes in size.
Many services set a limit on how big a file you can store or restrict upload traffic. Some don’t, though, and they are prime candidates for large files. Obviously, transfer speed is an important factor because you don’t want your upload to take forever.
Sync.com is our top pick from the best cloud storage for teams. You need to pay for the year in advance to use it, but its plans are among the best on the market. Business Pro, for example, requires only two users and provides you with 1TB per user for $60 per user per year. Plus, there are no file size or traffic limits.
It takes about 15 minutes to transfer a 1GB file which in line with other services.
Improving collaboration will save you time, money and reduce your work-related stress. What you get out of cloud storage depends on what you need. Some services are better suited for one type of collaboration, while others are good for another. We’ve reflected that in our categories and suggested services for each.
Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest on new releases and more.
We’ve picked services that are among the best cloud storage providers, so, no matter which you choose, you won’t be working with a substandard one. Before subscribing, be sure to make use of a free plan or a trial to test the service.
What do you think of using cloud storage for collaboration? Do you have a favorite service? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.