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Best cloud storage for business in 2021

two men sat at desks working on computers
(Image credit: Pexels)

The best cloud storage for businesses is often provided by the best cloud storage providers, who also largely provide the best personal cloud storage and the best free cloud storage. What sets cloud storage for business apart is the necessary and integral focus on cloud storage security and collaborative tools.

As with any cloud storage market, there are many providers vying for your cloud custom, and as so many offer similar features, make sure you're aware of what you and your business need. Consider security and collaborative elements first, but also versatility, service access and support, device number limits, and the amount of storage capacity you can access for each staff member, alongside file size limits.

This guide will point you towards the best cloud storage for businesses, by evaluating each of our choices against the above elements.

What to look for in the best cloud storage for business

When choosing a cloud storage and backup provider for your business, you need to look for highly stable, secure systems that protect data at all times. Look for end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge architecture, which respectively provide complete data security from start to finish, and prevent providers' employees from viewing or accessing your important files.

Many providers of the best cloud storage for business will also offer file syncing tools, and are Storage-as-a-Service (StaaS) providers, meaning they offer advanced cloud synchronization and collaborative features such as access management, system auditing, file sharing, file versioning, and more for your organization.

These elements offer seamless digital workflows, increased employee collaboration and productivity boosts, while administrative features mean you can control file access via two-factor authentication and roles-based permissions.

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The top 3 best cloud storage providers for business

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1. Microsoft OneDrive: collaborative storage and software
Microsoft OneDrive provides tight integration with Windows and Microsoft 365, allowing for real-time file collaboration and automatic backups. Its straightforward and intuitive interface requires little guidance, and the comprehensive and responsive support available is able to assist with anything more complex.

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2. Dropbox Business: affordable and the file sharing leader
Dropbox remains one of the world’s leading cloud storage solutions, its unobtrusive dashboard ensuring it remains one of the simplest to use. In turn, the freedom to choose third-party applications for integration should not be underestimated in comparison to Dropbox's business-focused competitors.

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3. IDrive: the best all-round cloud storage available
IDrive ranks consistently highly due to its top features, high security level, and a fair pricing structure. It’s available across Windows, macOS, and Linux-based operating systems, as well as smartphones and tablets running Android or iOS, with a wide range of business storage plans available.

Which is the best cloud storage for business?

Microsoft OneDrive is our top pick for the best cloud storage for business, thanks to integrations with Microsoft 365 as a cloud storage and syncing platform, AES 256-bit encryption and the Personal Vault, giving all business customers unlimited end-to-end encryption. Dropbox Business, followed by IDrive, Nextcloud, Backblaze, Tresorit, and SpiderOak are also worthy of your consideration.

The best cloud storage for business providers, compared
Cloud storage providerLowest-priced planStorage capacityNumber of devicesEncryption
Microsoft OneDrive$5 per user a month (Plan 1)UnlimitedUnlimitedEnd-to-end
Dropbox Business$12.50 per user a month (Dropbox Business Standard)UnlimitedUnlimitedIn-transit and at-rest
IDrive$74.62 a year (IDrive Team)12.5TBUnlimitedEnd-to-end
Nextcloud$42.60 per user for 100 users (Basic)Potentially unlimitedPotentially unlimitedFully customizable
Backblaze$7 a month (10 users)UnlimitedPotentially unlimitedEnd-to-end encryption
Tresorit$20 per user a month (Business Standard)1TBPotentially unlimitedEnd-to-end
SpiderOak One$6 a month (150GB plan)5TBUnlimitedEnd-to-end

The best cloud storage for business available

OneDrive logo

OneDrive is the complete package for enterprise cloud storage (Image credit: Microsoft)

Integration with Microsoft 365 makes it a standout platform for businesses

Specifications
Storage capacity: Unlimited
Number of devices: Unlimited
Encryption: End-to-end
Reasons to buy
+End-to-end encryption with Personal Vault+Best-in-class integration with Microsoft 365+AI capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-Less impressive as a standalone product-Fewer third-party integrations than competitors 

Microsoft OneDrive is the perfect platform for businesses already using Microsoft 365. Integration across those applications, including Word, Excel, Teams, and SharePoint, enables users to collaborate dynamically, making OneDrive our choice for the best cloud storage platform for business.

One of its greatest strengths is that it's both a cloud storage and cloud syncing platform. File versioning, tracked changes, and link sharing all operate seamlessly alongside OneDrive’s core functionalities, strengthening its credentials. Security is another strength, as while AES 256-bit encryption is applied to all data at rest, Microsoft goes further with the Personal Vault, with this subfolder providing unlimited end-to-end encryption for all business customers.

Data is also backed up across several servers, so you can be confident it won’t be lost. Microsoft’s enterprise plans also offer best-in-class cybersecurity services and advanced threat detection functionality. Ensuring the integrity of employees’ accounts is easy too, with administrators able to enforce 2FA and periodic password changes.

Its business plans offer a choice between a OneDrive plan or Microsoft 365 bundle. Two standalone OneDrive plans cost $5 per user a month (Plan 1) and $10 per user a month (Plan 2), with the first including 1TB of storage space per user, and the second unlimited storage space as well as a suite of security and compliance features such as file auditing, data retention, and sensitive labels. 

There are two packages with Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which includes 1TB storage per user, Microsoft Teams, and web access to apps such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for $5 per user a month; and Microsoft 365 Business Standard, with 1TB storage per user, Microsoft Teams, desktop and mobile access to all Microsoft 365 apps, and collaboration tools such as Yammer and Microsoft Planner, for $12.50 per user a month.

Read our full OneDrive for Business review to find out why we ranked it first for business cloud storage; check out our OneDrive for Business vs Dropbox Business vs Drive Enterprise and Google Drive vs OneDrive comparisons; and our Microsoft OneDrive review covering its personal cloud storage offering.

Dropbox logo

Dropbox offers a raft of business-specific features  (Image credit: Dropbox)

Unlimited storage for large businesses

Specifications
Storage capacity: Unlimited
Number of devices: Unlimited
Encryption: In transit and at rest
Reasons to buy
+Intuitive user interface+Feature-rich file sharing+Selective synchronization
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-No full device backup option 

Dropbox, while not a jack-of-all-trades like Google Workspace, still comes with plenty of options to create and modify files alongside backup and storage. 

Its simple desktop client provides drag-and-drop functionality for files of any known format onto the cloud, and the system prides itself on compatibility. Files can also be easily circulated among users using the in-built share function, even if the person you’re sharing them with does not have a Dropbox account. Dropbox Transfer also makes it extremely easy to transfer files to others, whether or not they've got an account. 

That way, the receiver gets access to an exact copy of the file with all the appropriate permissions, without getting to the original. With free accounts, Dropbox Transfer has a file size limit of 100MB. Upgrade to a business account, however, and the maximum file size quickly expands to a whopping 100GB. 

Dropbox Business Standard is available for $12.50 per user a month when billed annually, for a minimum of three users; while Dropbox Business Advanced is available for $20 per user a month, again for a minimum of three users. While the standard plan limits storage space to 5GB, the advanced plan is a rarity that offers truly unlimited cloud storage for businesses.

The service's clean, minimalistic design is both easy to understand and operate. The desktop app is available on Windows and macOS, alongside a smartphone app available via Google Play and Apple App Store. There’s also a very smooth web-based interface for those wanting to keep things lightweight.

To find out more about the platform, read our Dropbox Business review, or our Dropbox review to learn more about its personal plans. We also compared it to other leading platforms in our IDrive vs Dropbox vs pCloud feature. If you choose Dropbox for your business, make sure to read our guide on how to use Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive or iCloud for pointers on using the service.

IDrive logo

IDrive is the best cloud storage platform for server and device backups (Image credit: IDrive)

The best choice for server and device backup

Specifications
Storage capacity: 12.5TB
Number of devices: Unlimited
Encryption: End-to-end
Reasons to buy
+Options for end-to-end encryption+High-capacity storage options+Compatible with almost any device or OS
Reasons to avoid
-Minimal cloud-syncing capabilities-No two-factor authentication

IDrive is undoubtedly one of the best cloud backup and cloud storage platforms. However, the lack of cloud syncing features means it loses some marks from a business standpoint. Strengths include file versioning and snapshots, business-specific features such as user management and activity logs, and security, as businesses can choose to employ end-to-end or standard encryption. 

Its two sets of business plans include IDrive Team and IDrive Business, which are subdivided into different plans and pricing, with Team's first plan (at $74.62 a year) covering five computers and five users, with 5TB of storage. From there, it increases to 10TB, 10 computers, and 10 users for $149.62 a year; 25TB, 25 computers, and 25 users for $374.62 a year; and 50TB, 50 computers, and 50 users for $749.63 a year.

These prices are for the first year only, with each increasing in the years after that, though two year plans are available too. IDrive Business meanwhile offers unlimited users, computers, servers and more for $74.62 for the first year, with 250GB of storage. Plans increase up to 500GB, 1.25TB, 2.5TB, 5TB, 12.5TB, and 50TB, and are available on an annual or monthly payment basis.

Collaboratively speaking however, IDrive doesn’t excel. It simply doesn’t integrate with third-party platforms in the same way as competitors like Microsoft OneDrive or Nextcloud. IDrive is instead oriented towards businesses that want high-capacity, highly secure storage that can back up several servers and devices simultaneously. 

Likewise, if your staff need access to a lot of static data, with less emphasis on collaborative editing, then it's certainly one of the best cloud storage platforms for you. Read our IDrive review focusing on the business side of the service; our IDrive personal cloud backup review for information on its other cloud storage offerings; and our comparison feature pitting IDrive vs Carbonite.

Nextcloud logo

Nextcloud is the only self-hosted platform included in our buying guide (Image credit: Nextcloud)

A self-hosted cloud storage platform for businesses wanting total control

Specifications
Storage capacity: Potentially unlimited
Number of devices: Potentially unlimited
Encryption: Fully customizable
Reasons to buy
+Affordable if you maintain on-prem storage infrastructure+Best-in-class configurability
Reasons to avoid
-Setup and maintenance can be time and resource-consuming

In the strictest sense of the word, Nextcloud isn’t a cloud storage provider. Instead, it’s a suite of software platforms providing self-hosted cloud storage and file management services. As a result, it's likely the best platform if your business is looking for an innovative, self-hosted cloud storage solution.

Nextcloud enables business leaders to connect on-prem storage infrastructure to a local area network (LAN), essentially creating a private cloud. There are several benefits of such a system, alongside a few potential negatives. Benefits include enhanced control over security, because you will always know exactly where your data is stored.

Technically speaking, it reduces the attack surface area, and IT administrators also have significant control over how data is stored, including the level of encryption used. This enables businesses to tailor their storage solution to their specific needs. 

Another strength is the wide range of open-source applications that can be integrated. These include Nextcloud Files, Nextcloud Talk (a video-conferencing platform), and Collabora Online (a suite of office applications). These enable Nextcloud to compete against competitors offering extensive cross-platform integrations, like Microsoft and Google.

Potential downsides — we’d call them important considerations — include an increased responsibility on the behalf of business leaders to manage data backup and maintain infrastructure. In short, Nextcloud’s flexibility means more responsibility is shifted to the business. 

When it comes to pricing, Nextcloud's free open-source software means you can pick the services you’d like, but these cost extra. There are three different paid plans—Basic, Standard, and Premium— pre-configured and ready to use, available on annual payment plans, costed based on user numbers. There is a free trial available for one hour, if you want to get a feel for the service before signing up.

Read our Nextcloud review for more information and a detailed analysis of the service.

Backblaze logo

BackBlaze is a basic, but highly secure cloud storage company (Image credit: Backblaze)

Minimal solution offering encrypted backups

Specifications
Storage capacity: Unlimited
Number of devices: Potentially unlimited
Encryption: End-to-end encryption
Reasons to buy
+Unlimited storage space+No limits on individual file size+Fantastic value when purchased with ExpressVPN
Reasons to avoid
-No full disk image backup 

Unlike the other options mentioned so far, Backblaze doesn’t come with file-sharing or management capabilities. Instead, it offers a very secure backup service that keeps essential files safe from malware attacks and system corruption. Its emphasis is on security, while functionality takes a back step.

Backblaze is built with novices in mind, as you only need to set it up once, and only need to access it again should your computer somehow be compromised. There’s a very simple installation wizard that guides you through the first-time setup, and once done, Backblaze will automatically back up all files and folders in the background. 

You can set up backups to run continuously, daily, or when manually prompted. Usage is restricted to just one device per user per account, and while there’s support for external hard drives, there is none for network drives or mobile devices.

While advanced users may find functionality lacking, those with little cloud storage experience will find Backblaze appealing for the very same reason. For as little as $7 a month or $70 a year, users get access to unlimited storage space on a single device. While it only stores older versions of files for up to 30 days, you can extend that to one year for an additional $2 a month, and there are no file size limits. 

You can currently also get Backblaze completely free for a year when you sign up to award-winning VPN provider ExpressVPN, where you can also get 15 months for the price of 12!

There's also the Backblaze B2 offering, which is a pay-as-you go subscription plan that charges $0.005 per GB and $0.01 per GB for downloads. Despite limited functionality, Backblaze is really popular with its user base, with over 1EB (exabyte, or one million terabytes) of data stored securely. It has also helped recover over 50 billion files since launch. If you're looking for a simplified option that lets you back up and store files on the cloud, you need look no further. 

You can learn more about the service by reading our Backblaze cloud backup review, and our comparison feature pitting IDrive vs Backblaze.

Tresorit logo

Tresorit's security is a plus point, but it's expensive (Image credit: Tresorit)

Zero-knowledge service with a focus on security

Specifications
Storage capacity: 1TB
Number of devices: Potentially unlimited
Encryption: End-to-end
Reasons to buy
+Extremely secure+Lots of options for enterprise users 
Reasons to avoid
-No add-ons or extensions 

Tresorit banks its cloud storage technology on a claim of “zero-knowledge encryption”. Apart from the select few you choose to share files with, no one will have access to what you upload, with your account secured by 2FA and end-to-end encryption. 

Because of the strong focus on security and privacy, Tresorit’s technology doesn’t integrate with third party applications. There are no options to edit or modify files on the cloud, or stream audio and video, without downloading them first. These elements can feel limiting, but if you're a data-centric company requiring extensive security, Tresorit is well worth the compromise. 

It offers both cloud storage and network drives, with data residency options for several data centers worldwide helping you choose where to store data. It has good servers with decent download and upload speeds. The desktop and mobile apps are smart and intuitive, while a guided tour helps you get your bearings when you begin. 

Tresorit offers a free 14-day trial on all its subscription plans, which start at $20 per user a month when billed annually. That plan, Business Standard, offers up to 1TB of storage space per user for three to nine users. The Business Plus plan meanwhile is available for $24 a month per user for 10 to 100 users, with 1TB of storage per user. There is also an enterprise plan for upwards of 100 users. 

Read our full Tresorit review to find out more about this cloud storage provider.

SpiderOak logo

SpiderOak One is a cloud storage solution offering zero-knowledge encryption (Image credit: SpiderOak)

Secure and straightforward encrypted cloud storage

Specifications
Storage capacity: 5TB
Number of devices: Unlimited
Encryption: End-to-end
Reasons to buy
+Secure and encrypted storage+Clients for different platforms 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited free trial

SpiderOak One Backup is a multi-purpose cloud platform with a near best-in-class security framework. It provides cloud storage, syncing, and backup across all operating systems, although the lack of business-specific features is somewhat disappointing. It is also more expensive than many competitors. 

A standout feature is end-to-end encryption being standard for all data managed, and few other platforms provide this kind of zero-knowledge architecture. It also means that no one at SpiderOak can access your company’s data, even if compelled to by law enforcement.

SpiderOak’s four different subscription options are joined by a 14-day free trial on all plans, enabling you to test it before committing. All four plans come with the exact same features, with storage amounts the only differentiator. Plans range from 150GB ($6 a month) to 5TB ($29 a month), and discounts are available with annual payments, though these are quite small.

If you’re looking for a highly secure and reliable cloud storage solution, you'd do well to consider SpiderOak’s offerings. You can read our full SpiderOak One Backup review to find out more about the platform.


How secure is cloud storage?

When we compare on-prem vs cloud storage, or even cloud storage vs external hard disk drives, security is key. Cloud storage may not theoretically be as secure as local storage, but the best cloud storage uses cutting-edge security and encryption. So how secure is cloud storage, and how do secure cloud systems protect your data?

When it comes to enterprises, cloud storage security is crucial, particularly in data and privacy-sensitive sectors, and so investing in secure cloud storage that offers state-of-the-art policies is non-negotiable. End-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge architecture should be top of your list, or in-transit and at-rest encryption, which would make data indecipherable even if intercepted by criminals.

The very best providers not only protect data, but infrastructure housing it. StaaS data centers have 24/7 security guards, biometric authorization for entry, and frequent security auditing. Data center locations are also key for most businesses, as different countries have different data privacy laws. You'll need to make sure data is stored in a nation that complies with your data privacy obligations.

How to choose the best cloud storage for business

Know your current system

Before upgrading your business's cloud storage, it's worth taking stock of what you're currently using. An audit will allow you to optimize current resources, make an informed choice on future investments, and consider your storage framework. 

Ask the following questions: are there any internal data centers? Do you use private and public cloud services? And what data security and privacy protocols exist? Knowing the answers will immediately increase preparedness for a new solution.

Look for value

Many feel pressured to deliver comprehensive cloud storage and network infrastructure at a low cost. Fortunately, there are many affordable and high-value  providers, and the best approach is to consider several, making use of trials and free-forever plans to find a solution that aligns with your needs.

Prioritize business workloads

Should you suffer data loss, a full system recovery and reboot can take hours, if not days: this isn't an option for businesses. A day without networked devices, cloud storage, or data security means lost revenue and time wasted.

When looking for cloud storage, prioritize services offering 24-hour customer support, who'll help you get up and running as soon as possible. It's also worth considering a data recovery solution, which will further protect you against data loss.

Further reading on cloud storage

If you're buying on behalf of a smaller company, find out how to choose the best cloud storage for small business, and why small businesses should use cloud services.

Find out more about business cloud storage in our listicle giving business five top tips for data backup and recovery; and learn about the differences between cloud storage types in our comparison pitting cloud storage vs cloud backup vs cloud sync.

Darcy French

Darcy is a freelance copywriter, and a candidate for the dual master's program between the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in France and Peking University in Beijing, China. His academic and professional areas of interest include human rights and development, sustainable agriculture and agroecology, Pacific Islands diplomacy, and Sino-Australian relations.