File synchronization, collaboration and backup have all been realized as important and necessary in today’s workplaces. However, the cloud, as a solution to the storage needs of a Business or Enterprise, is not often considered due to a variety of concerns.
To overcome this, more and more services are trying to meet the special needs of business customers.
“Why does my office need a cloud solution?” you might ask. An all in one cloud solution ensures synchronization, backup and accessibility of all the files of all the connected systems. Let’s review two professional cloud solutions – SugarSync for Business and Pogoplug Team and see if either fits your needs.
SugarSync for Business
SugarSync is a solid cloud storage system. After the latest release, it has become a lightweight client which is minimal yet powerful and versatile. With mobile apps for almost all major smartphone platforms, and desktop applications for Windows and Mac, SugarSync allows you to synchronize, backup, store and share your files or even collaborate with other users who have SugarSync. It is definitely one of the most well rounded cloud storage services in the industry. SugarSync for Business gives you a special dashboard which allows you to monitor
SugarSync announced new pricing for their business tiers, but unfortunately changed the plans a bit to remove their previously announced unlimited storage for the business plans. Nevertheless, SugarSync gives you the a lot of bang for your buck with 1TB priced at 550 $/year (or 55 $/month). Further more, SugarSync provides custom plans for each organization with tailored prices.
Since Pogoplug announced their unlimited storage pricing plans in 2012 after dominating the hardware personal cloud market, Pogoplug Cloud seems to have gained a substantial traction. Pogoplug Team is their business flavor of the product which provides additional customization. Pogoplug Team offers a simple web interface and desktop client along with mobile apps for iOS and Android. The web interface allows you to upload data or stream your media files whereas the desktop and mobile applications allow you to easily back up and restore files online.
Pogoplug Team offers unlimited storage at 5 $/user/month. For pure cheap storage, Pogoplug is almost unbeaten; its hard to argue with a service that gives you an all-you-can-eat storage for just 5$ a month, isn’t it?
As we repeatedly keep saying, backup of files should be given high importance, especially for the files at your office; losing your work files can be a big disaster. Let’s see the features of each service side by side to see if any of them fits your needs.
SugarSync allows you to perform plain backup of your files by creating a folder which syncs to the cloud. What this does is that SugarSync always syncs your files to the cloud, mono-directionally, essentially performing backup. But behold! Do not expect a service on par with the likes of CrashPlan or Backblaze.
SugarSync gives you a set it and forget it style of backup which can suffice many users’ backup needs. After files are backed up, they can be restored by copying them from the SugarSync drive; not only that, SugarSync can restore deleted files if you’ve mistakenly deleted them from your device. Deleted files are stored in the “Deleted files” folder where they stay until permanently deleted by the user.
Pogoplug, surprisingly, allows this and only this feature through its Windows or Mac application (other than the ability to restore backed-up files). Its backup client is nothing fancy, but it does the job by monitoring your selected folders and uploading changes as required.
Sync & Share
With ‘sync’ within the name itself, SugarSync does a great job at keeping your files in sync. It provides a central sync folder akin to the one of Dropbox. Apart from a central folder, named “My SugarSync”, SugarSync allows synchronization between any folder on Computer 1 to any folder on Computer 2. It can decently resolve syncing conflicts and also makes sure you never lose your data due to a sync mishap.
When collaborating with other people on files, emailing them back and forth is definitely passé. If it is not yet in your life, you should definitely consider making a change. Coupled with syncing capabilities, sharing can keep folders or even just files continuously updated as and when changes are made to them. This makes collaborating a breeze.
You can share your files for viewing only to anyone whereas you can share files to be modified as well by privately sharing it to an individual or a group. Even if you do not need to collaborate with users, sync might still be useful for you if you need to keep your common files and documents updated to their latest version on your various devices like smartphones or tablets.
Pogoplug unfortunately has no synchronization ability. The only monitoring it does is for one-way backup: from your computer to the cloud. Although, it covers up a part of the lacking by providing a very functional sharing feature through the web interface. File sharing in Pogoplug can replace email attachments and relieve cluttered inboxes. One special feature, which Pogoplug has but SugarSync doesn’t, is the ability to create a public folder where public uploads can be enabled.
This allows anyone to upload files to your Pogoplug Account, removing the need for a special sending service or even a Pogoplug account for the sender. Something on the lines of FTP sending, such a public folder could be a boon to some.
SugarSync can be used for pure raw storage. To store files storing files offsite, you need to stop syncing a folder (which was initially synced to SugarSync) after all the files have been uploaded, after which the local copies can be deleted. One advantage which SugarSync has over Pogoplug in this area is that you can sort of “stream” your files, on-demand, from your SugarSync drive without downloading the files beforehand.
Pogoplug allows you to upload files either through the web interface or the desktop client. Pogoplug Backup, the desktop client, can be used to upload entire folders to the root of your cloud directory; when a folder is deselected for backup after upload, much like SugarSync, the folder will be stored online and the local copy can be deleted.
More than just functionality, one advantage Pogoplug provides here, especially over SugarSync, is the price point. For 5 $/user/month, unlimited storage is a good deal, more so for people, for whom storage is more important than anything else.
Though one of most important aspects for a cloud solution meant for businesses, both SugarSync for Business and Pogoplug Team lack on true end-to-end encryption. SugarSync transmits data using TLS and Pogoplug transmits data using SSL. That means these services make sure that your data is safe while it is being downloaded or uploaded.
The problem starts when the data is stored on their servers. SugarSync stores data using AES-128 encryption; it is decently secure, but probably isn’t zero-knowledge encryption. On the other hand, Pogoplug doesn’t specify if they encrypt their stored data in the first place. This not only means that both the services might have to hand over data in case the law requires them to, but if data was by chance compromised, the attackers could potentially gain access to your data.
If you want true security but are not willing to forego using SugarSync, you can check out our article on How to Encrypt Your Data for Cloud Storage. If you want to encrypt data for Pogoplug, unfortunately, you will have to use some other workarounds which are not as easy. If you’re wondering what the whole commotion is about, you should find out more about the security issues behind some cloud storage services.
A cloud solution for files at your business or workplace will definitely aid your work flow and perhaps increase reliability and accessibility. Both Pogoplug and SugarSync excel in their own right and depending upon your specific requirements, you can choose the right product for your business.
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If you haven’t implemented any cloud backup, storage or synchronization system yet, you should consider to do so; you may need it now, more than ever. Make sure you consider your cloud storage needs, before it’s too late. Are you considering any of the two services? Let me know if you have any questions!