People today connect to the Internet more frequently than ever before, using: Social media, e-mail, Skype and other forms of digital communication. So it only makes sense that cloud storage services need to accommodate multiple users so that they can share information quickly, efficiently and painlessly.
Multiple users have two competing needs when it comes to cloud storage services. On the one hand, businesses demand cloud storage with features designed to control security and file access permissions for multiple users.
On the other hand, individuals need cloud storage designed to make files easily shareable with friends, by inviting other users to see their data. Whether you need cloud storage for business or personal use, always be sure to use a provider with strong security.
Despite what you may have heard, understand that no two cloud storage services are the same and they each have varying levels of control for multiple users.
The problem with an average cloud storage service is that it gets designed with individual users in mind. While it is true that many of them support multiple users, they just don’t have the security controls needed to protect sensitive files. Other than encryption technologies, designed to protect data-in-transit and on servers, many cloud storage services don’t provide many extra security features.
And this can be a massive problem for businesses and organizations that have two or more users. Ideally, people who need cloud storage for multiple users, need to be able to aggregate users into functional groups and control access permissions.
Doing so makes it much easier for an administrator to manage who can read and overwrite different types of files. The good news is that there are plenty of enterprise-class services designed with user access permissions in mind.
Such services allow administrators to apply access permissions to individual user accounts and group access permissions. But the great enterprise-class services go one step further by offering auditing controls. These verification systems allow an administrator to see every file operation (e.g. uploads, which files were accessed or overwritten by users, etc.) on a per user basis.
Not only do they keep records of which files users have created, updated and deleted. But they also mark these operations with timestamps. In an organization, being able to see what individual users have done to sensitive information is critical to security.
$ 4.08 per month 500 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Sync.comSync.com Review|
$ 7.49 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit SugarSyncSugarSync Review|
$ 5.00 per month 100 GBStorage All Plans
|Visit SpiderOak ONESpiderOak ONE Review|
$ 15.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Dropbox Business|
$ 8.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
|Visit EgnyteEgnyte Review|
$ 13.00 per month GBStorage All Plans
|Visit Autotask WorkplaceAutotask Workplace Review|
Why Cloud Storage is Important for Multiple Users
On the other hand, individual users often want the best cloud storage for multiple users, which can invite other users to share their information. In this sense, users demand easy-to-use file sharing and collaboration mechanisms.
Many cloud storage solutions facilitate file sharing by allowing users to create custom links. That way, a user could permit selected friends to access an individual file or folder, as opposed to all of the data contained in their storage account.
After the link gets created, the user then has several options regarding how to send the link to their friends.
The first choice is to email or message the link. While this method is certainly useful, some of the more advanced cloud storage services offer social media tools, which help users share information through channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Keeping these two different needs in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best cloud storage for multiple users.
Sync.com is a Dropbox competitor with strong encryption and a fantastic attitude towards customer service — plus some cool features to boot. Sync.com is a natural fit for personal and home use when an individual wants to share data with multiple users.
However, they don’t only provide online storage, syncing, file sharing and collaboration services. They offer the whole package because there’s an automatic backup feature on board too. And Sync.com generously allows users up to 5GB of absolutely free storage. Last but not least, Sync.com is extremely secure for two reasons.
Other Reasons Why We Like Sync.com
Sync.com’s sharing features allow an individual to send files to friends and family, even if they lack a Sync.com account. It also lets any friends or family members upload data to your account, share entire folders for easy collaboration and set passwords to control who can see shared data.
Sync.com generously allows users up to 5GB of absolutely free storage. Last but not least, Sync.com is extremely secure for two reasons.
- File versioning protects data
- End-to-end data encryption
- Automatic backup feature
- No third-party tools
- No block-level file copying
- No monthly plans
SugarSync is a file syncing service that comes with backup and decent collaboration features. Unfortunately, it lacks zero-knowledge encryption.
If you want to try out SugarSync risk-free, they offer 5GB of free storage for 90 days, which is more than enough time to see how their features work. Furthermore, they’ll allow users to sync data with an unlimited number of devices. And though SugarSync isn’t a zero-knowledge provider, it’s still secure.
Because SugarSync encrypts data while it sits in storage, and when it is in transport through the public Internet, destined for their network (using both TLS and AES-256).
Other Reasons Why We Like SugarSync
SugarSync is another popular service for personal users who want to share data with a lot of friends and family members. This service will allow people to collaborate on files, distribute read-only information and generate links to share files with unlimited users.
They even have a handy feature that allows the prioritization of file transfers. Last but not least, they provide adequate backup features as well.
- Up to 5GB of free storage
- TLS & AES-256 for security
- File sharing & collaboration
- Backups lack scheduling
- Not HIPAA compliant
- Not a zero-knowledge provider
SpiderOak is an old school zero-knowledge service, with moderately good syncing, backups speeds and a decent feature set. SpiderOak is ideal for multiple users with lots of hardware as it can backup an unlimited computers and devices, which is perfect for families and people with a large circle of friends.
That said, they are relatively affordable considering how much storage space they provide. $7.00 per month gets you 30GB of storage, and the highest-class service costs $25.00 per month for 5TB of storage.
Perhaps one of the best features of their service is the fact that they are a zero-knowledge provider. Because users manage their encryption keys, even SpiderOak employees are completely powerless to decrypt and read your data.
Other Reasons Why We Like SpiderOak
SpiderOak is perfect for multiple users since it allows them to share files almost effortlessly. There are essentially two ways to share files, including ShareRooms and generating individual file sharing links.
The link generation features three days of access, before barring further access, but users can create an unlimited number of links with an unlimited number of users.
Last but not least, they do provide a 60-day free trial of their service, and allow file synchronization with an unlimited number of devices.
- End-to-end encryption
- Zero-knowledge service
- Strong focus on privacy & security
- On the expensive side
- File syncing is slow
- Based in the U.S.
Egnyte is a robust business cloud solution; that comes with proper file syncing and user management access — but its web interface is a bit on the clunky side. Egnyte’s starting price for 4 to 24 employees is only $8.00 per month, and for 25 to 100 employees the cost is only $15.00 per month.
The service allows customers to personalize and customize the interface’s appearance, to help unify a brand among internal employees and external partners. In addition to custom branding, logos, and personalized message headers, you can even customize the URL that points to the storage space.
In addition to their encryption technologies, Egnyte also offers user and group permissions so an administrator can control who has access to various files and folders. Furthermore, they even include a convenient auditing system that helps track and time stamp user activities.
Other Reasons Why We Like Egnyte
Egnyte is our clear winner for businesses looking at the best cloud storage for multiple users.
One reason we like the service is that it isn’t as highly priced, per employee, compared to the competition. In fact, they even offer an unlimited employee package, though you will need to call for pricing.
- Good file syncing
- Sports file sharing
- End-to-end encryption
- Lacks zero-knowledge protocol
- No Linux support
- No single-user plan
Dropbox for Business
Dropbox for Business is probably the best bet when it comes to ensuring ease-of-use, familiarity, great speeds and comprehensive third-party support. Dropbox for Business is used by over 150,000 organizations around the world and for a good reason. The service is secured using SSL and AES-256 encryption.
I.T. administrators will have a wealth of controls at their fingertips to help manage individual and group access policies. Which helps lock down file access to people, and admins can also generate reports on who has access to what files.
Their interface has been praised by many as being incredibly clean, simple and straightforward to use.
Other Reasons Why We Like Dropbox for Business
Dropbox has created a great business-class service, integrating traditional I.T. systems like Active Directory and SSO.
Furthermore, they have enhanced their collaborative features to help professionals access, view, edit and update data no matter their location or device. Last but not least, Dropbox for Business is moderately priced – starting at $15.00 per month per user (for five users).
- Fantastic interface
- Enhanced security
- Integration with third-party apps
- Terrible backup solution
- Not suitable for small businesses
- Limited individual features
Honorable Mention: Autotask Workplace
Autotask Workplace is a great enterprise-level file syncing and sharing tool, designed for businesses of any size looking for increased mobility and better security. One of the great things about Autotask Workplace is that it’s regulatory compliant with standards such as HIPAA, and they give businesses peace of mind that their data is truly safe and secure.
The platform allows users to communicate and collaborate in real time, to securely enhance productivity, giving employees access to data anywhere in the world, on any device. In fact, their service integrates Google Docs, Office 365, Outlook, Salesforce, SSO, SAML2.0 and Active Directory.
Last but not least, they provide user and group access permissions to lock down file access, and an auditing system to record user activity. Autotask Workplace (read our review here) is our last choice for businesses that need cloud storage for multiple users.
They are certainly a business-class service and allow secure file access, unlimited syncing and secure sharing features. The service also integrates nicely with existing business I.T. systems.
Whether you need cloud storage for personal use or in a professional setting, these six providers are the crème of the crop. Many of the personal services include excellent security controls to help prevent data from being shared with unintended parties.
Furthermore, the business-class services will contain user and group security checks, to help administrators manage all the multiple users on their account. Cloud storage seems to have been influenced by social media and today, people demand cloud storage that allows them to share data with multiple users on the fly.
Don’t you agree? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section below.