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Cloud Storage

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage lets users store and sync their data to an online server.

Because they are stored in the cloud rather than on a local drive, files are available on various devices. This allows a person to access files from multiple computers, as well as mobile devices to view, edit, and comment on files. It replaces workarounds like emailing yourself documents. Cloud storage can also act as a backup system for your hard drive.

Cloud storage systems support a variety of file types. Supported files typically include:

Text documents

Pictures

Videos

Audio files

The most user-friendly cloud storage systems integrate with other applications for easy edits, playback, and sharing.

Cloud storage is used by individuals to manage personal files, as well as by businesses for file sharing and backup. Some feature sets are very important to businesses but may not be relevant to individuals. Admin and security features, for example, are designed for corporate enterprises where data security and availability are concerns for files stored in the cloud.

Cloud Storage Features & Capabilities

File Management

These features are core to every cloud storage platform. Typically, file management capabilities include:

A search function to easily find files and search within files

Device syncing to update files connected to the cloud across devices

A web interface, with no install required

Support for multiple file types

Collaboration

Most cloud storage systems also feature collaboration functionality. Not all tools will have the same level of tracking and control. Collaboration features may include:

Notifications when files are changed by others

File sharing, with the ability to set editing and view-only permissions

Simultaneous editing

Change tracking and versioning

Security & Administration

Security and administration features are important considerations for enterprises. Security is particularly important for storing sensitive, private data in the cloud.

Possible security and administration features include:

Single sign-on with Active Directory/SAML based identity software

Two-step verification for added security

End-user encryption (for integrations)

User and role management

Control over file access, sharing and editing permissions

Storage limits for individual users or groups

Choosing where files will be stored, individual users’ storage management

Device management, restricting access to certain devices

File Sharing

File sharing is one of the most common uses for cloud storage. Most cloud storage software offers a mechanism to let users share files. The level of access, versioning, and change tracking varies by product.

Some cloud storage systems put a cap on file upload size. This is important for anyone looking to upload and share files larger than 2GB.

File sharing is executed in a few different ways:

Making users co-owners of files

Sending files to users

Emailing users, a link to the file in the cloud

Cloud storage systems that prioritize availability and make file sharing easy often aren’t as strong on security. The reverse is true as well.

We help you choose which cloud storage service is best for your needs.

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