It’s time to identify your perfect cloud file solution among the many cloud file storage solutions. Where do you begin? You’ve come to the right place! Check out our Cloud File Solutions breakdown. We highlight how to use our favorites and give you some “buyer beware” advice. There are tons of other solutions like Box and DropBox. We don’t use or support those for a number of reasons. One of the solutions below will work perfectly for you, though.
SharePoint has sort of a bad reputation. Early SharePoint servers were monstrosities. It was and is a whole IT specialty. SharePoint done right is a great cloud file storage solution and tool. It used to take a special SharePoint Developer and designers to make it really user friendly as an Intranet. Even then, storing files up there was a real learning curve with checking documents out, checking them back in, re-publishing them, etc. Now SharePoint Online is a powerful collaboration tool. Multiple users can be working on the same file—which opens easily in the browser or on a Desktop Office app. You can see the other users active in your document. Their cursor can be a word, a paragraph, or pages apart and everything is seamlessly working. The file isn’t locked as soon as two people want to work on the same file.
The key with SharePoint, though, is to not think of it like a file server or file share. It’s one of the best cloud file storage solutions available, however, you want a much more flat architecture (it wasn’t built for hierarchy). Instead of 16 top-level folders, create 16 sites for your teams and departments. You use tags instead of nesting things multiple folders down. In this way, SharePoint does have a little learning curve, but it’s really a shift in mindset. So, it’s not the solution for everyone, but you might want to give it a shot if you are already paying for a Microsoft 365 license that includes it.
OneDrive is a personal drive and is one of the cloud file storage solutions we recommend you use as intended. We run into many people who are using one person’s OneDrive as the company file share. We can’t stress enough that this is a bad idea and not the intended use. You create links and dependencies for individual users. It’s hard to track permissions and sharing at a high level and get a full picture. Basically, it can become a mess to unravel and create some real conundrums. However, it is great as a personal drive. When you use it with your business Microsoft 365 subscription, it is also centrally managed by your IT department or company. So, at least if someone leaves, your IT provider can grab the data and throw it in SharePoint or give it to another user. OneDrive can also be configured to backup your local computer files. If you love saving things to your Desktop or My Documents, for example, OneDrive can back those files up for you in case your computer hardware fails.
Datto Workplace is a Cloud File Server Solution
Datto Workplace is our favorite of all the cloud file storage solutions. We love using Datto Workplace with clients who either don’t love SharePoint or like their file structure as-is—meaning they want to maintain the same structure they had on their file server. Additionally, it integrates right into Azure Active Directory for easy sign-on and it looks just like a mapped network drive on a file server. You can also easily share files outside of your organization and provide a plethora of permissions to internal and external users, like read-only, no-downloading, edit, full-access, etc. If you like the way your file-server worked or works, this is the perfect solution for you. It comes in at $15/month for each internal user—no licensing required for external users. Don’t let the price sway you away. Test drive a demo and you will instantly see the value.
You may want to slowly work into SharePoint by creating Teams and Channels within Microsoft Teams. A SharePoint site will automatically be created for each of your Teams, but you can still work on documents within a Teams channel under the files tab. In this way, it is absolutely a key application in successfully adopting cloud file storage solutions. We are actually talking about this in our next webinar. And I happen to be writing this very article in a Word document with our Marketing Teams Channel. Microsoft Teams probably should not be your complete solution, but with the right awareness on where your data lives, with policies and procedures around that data, it can absolutely supplement or be a big part of the cloud file solution.
One place you should not store your files if you are a business: Google Drive. Simply, this is not a cloud file storage solution. Our friends, “Bizarro BEI” (full Mac shop and Google Partner), told us last week when we asked if Google Drive was a good cloud file storage solution for a business, “NO! End of story. Google Drive has issues saving files, applying the correct permissions, and also keeping said permissions applied. Google Drive also has the issue where documents are owned by the account, so if you remove a user, you have to migrate the data in the drive to a new user. It’s a total PITA.” Straight to the point: Google Drive may be okay for a personal file storage solution but no organization should be using it as a solution for sharing files.