Most businesses have data that needs to be shared and edited by multiple people. Businesses rely on servers and network shares to accomplish this. However, servers and network shares aren’t your only option. Consider cloud storage. Cloud storage allows you to share and edit documents from almost any device.
Some of the most common business cloud storage solutions are Dropbox and Google Drive. Each has its own pros and cons. Both of these options offer personal accounts and business/enterprise accounts. Usually with business/enterprise accounts, additional security features are available so you can control sharing permissions between different users. Certain levels of plans with enhanced security features for Google Drive can be HIPAA compliant.
Another thing to keep in mind: in order to access the cloud and work on files, you will need to have an internet connection.
We’ve written up a quick review of these two services.
Dropbox is pretty straightforward and simple. After signing up for an account, you can choose to upload files directly through the website or download the desktop application. The desktop application puts a Dropbox folder under your user profile. Any file that gets moved into this folder will get uploaded to Dropbox, including the folder structure.
One thing to be cautious about… if you have files uploaded to your dropbox account and install the application on another device, the device will then download all of the existing Dropbox information. Sometimes this syncing process can take a while and use up your internet bandwidth. You can choose what files and folders to sync, and that will help prevent issues like this.
Since Dropbox downloads/syncs all of the selected files and folders, you don’t need an internet connection to work on synced files but you will need internet to resync those files with Dropbox. Otherwise, your edited files won’t be uploaded to your Dropbox account, and if you’ve shared those files with others, they won’t see the changes.
Not only does Google Drive offer storage solutions, but it also offers Google Apps such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. These apps allow you to edit documents on the go across multiple devices. You can also share files and folders with other people and edit them at the same time.
Google Drive has a desktop application you can install, which works similar to the application for Dropbox. Google Drive has a plugin for Microsoft Office which allows you to open files from Google Drive in the Office applications, edit those files, and save them right back into Google Drive.