by Todd Spear
Published on 14 July 2014
As you may have noticed, we're big-time cloud lovers around here, and we are loving the transition away from fixed media and physical processors to cloud-based, scalable solutions. But security is a common - and totally understandable - concern when considering whether or not to move your files and other digital assets to the computing cloud.
One particular concern centers around file storage in the cloud. Because we know that the Internet, by nature, is susceptible to cyber threats like hackers, you might have some basis for caution when it comes to putting your personal documents in the cloud.
The revelations about widespread government surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden have added a twist to the question of cyber security, leading many to ask "Just who is watching?" And with corporate cyber attacks affecting major companies like Target and eBay in recent months, as a business owner you may be seriously mulling whether or not to store customer info in the cloud.
These questions are serious, so we thought we'd look at a handful of apps that offer a bit of peace of mind when it comes to cloud storage. Here, we'll look at the security features of each of five backup and archival apps built in the cloud, representing the ideal alternatives to Dropbox and other big names in the field.
Hightail is another serious alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.
The app lets you send up to 10GB from your mobile device or PC. Hightail has a solid slant towards business purposes, allowing seamless and efficient file sharing.
Hightail is in use by more than 45 million people already, and it's notable for its professionalism. Hightail is ideal for freelancers, large enterprises, small businesses, medium ones, non-profit organizations, and anything else you could throw at it.
2GB storage (free) or unlimited (paid)
Outlook plug-in (paid subscribers only)
Hightail is a rock solid alternative to Dropbox and other popular file storage solutions. And with a name like Hightail, it has to be good, right?
ShareFile is part of the Citrix suite of business productivity apps. Citrix is the household name in security and privacy in the business world.
ShareFile starts off with 5GB of storage for $29.95 a month, with a credit-card-free trial.
Fifteen million businesses of all sizes are using ShareFile to organize their docs and get things done faster. ShareFile comes with dedicated customer support in areas like sectors including legal, healthcare, engineering and construction - all known for using immense files to share confidential information and dealings.
Up to 10 GB per file
Android, iOS and Windows phone apps
Granular folder and viewing permissions
ShareFile is unique that it actually integrates with competitors like Box and Dropbox, allowing folks to store their documents anywhere, but get business done within ShareFile. It also has impressively deep integrations with FreshBooks and Basecamp, which allow you to automate who sees what of your invoices and project management docs.
SpiderOak is making a lot of waves these days. The cloud-based storage platform is made for the post-Snowden age of increased focus on security and privacy online.
SpiderOak features an installable application that first encrypts user data before transmitting it to the cloud. The company states that it provides a "zero-knowledge" environment for your files. That means that SpiderOak's servers have no information about the documents you store - lead
The app's interface is more akin to a traditional backup application than a cloud-based drag-n-drop solution like Dropbox, but with a little experimentation, it's pretty logical to figure out and use.
2GB (free) or $10 per 100GB
Encrypted data centers
SpiderOak's excellence in security and privacy has made it the cloud storage platform of choice for the new ultra-secure smartphone, Blackphone, and if you're serious about keeping your documents private, SpiderOak should be the first app you tryout.
Zoho Docs is a major contender in the backup and archival space.
Zoho, broadly speaking, is one of the few companies out there that genuinely rivals Google's business apps offering. The Zoho Apps suite - including its esteemed Writer word processor - is a complete set of office apps that you can use for virtually all common business tasks.
While that's worth taking note of in itself, Zoho Docs is also a standout backup and storage app. It communicates with Google Docs and adds some helpful security features. Zoho Docs lets you set user permissions and manage access.
Zoho Docs features:
Secure file storage
Online chat and collaboration
Integrates with other Zoho Apps - Writer, Sheets, and Show
Reviewing and tagging
Document versions control
User access control
Zoho is fast becoming an Internet stalwart - a trusted, enduring moniker in a sea of names. If you're looking for a feature-rich alternative to Dropbox and the other "big names," Zoho is a great choice.
SugarSync is more than simply a backup app. It's a centralized document synchronization hub for all your files, and all your devices.
With SugarSync, you can synchronize a few files or whole folders just by right clicking on them - forever setting those assets to be backed up at all times, via SugarSync. Talk about peace of mind!
SugarSync also offers highly secure file sharing. You can securely share view-only or editable files or public ones, depending upon your preference.
As with Zoho Docs, you can control user access with SugarSync, which makes the app ideal for all sorts of businesses.
Secure data and protection
Remote file access
Folder and file sharing
SugarSync is another sweet alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive and all the other backup and archival apps. You'll appreciate the ease of use of SugarSync and its highly scalable feature set, which makes it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.
If you're using Dropbox or Google Drive just because they're the big names in the field, you may be surprised at the increased security you can get from apps like the ones listed here and others on the market.
To help you explore all the options available to you for backup and archival, GetApp maintains a running list of all the best apps for those tasks. Check them out and uncover the most helpful alternatives to Dropbox, Google Drive and other backup and archival apps.