What are the best SaaS applications for data storage?

SaaS applications can be a convenient, cost-effective way in which to store your files, documents, photos and more. There are numerous options available, so here’s a look at why this form of storage can be beneficial and ten of the top applications available. 

Data storage can take up considerable space on any device. In comparison, these SaaS applications reside in the cloud, and business users pay a subscription to store their data. These solutions will free up the storage space on your business’ desktops, mobiles or tablets, allowing you to keep business data in the cloud and access it from any device, whenever and wherever you or your team needs it. 

Any digital data can be held, including photos, PDFs, Word documents or spreadsheets. SaaS applications allow for seamless storage and access to your documents across all of your devices, meaning there is no longer any need to email documents to share them with other team members. 

SaaS applications allow users to save, retrieve or work on any files from any location with internet access, meaning access is no longer restricted to a specific device. Data is typically encrypted in transit to and from the server of the storage provider. When data is updated, it’s just the changes that are transferred, saving connection bandwidth rather than uploading entire files every time. 

Considerations when choosing an application

With numerous applications to choose from, key considerations will depend on businesses particular requirements. Some applications are more sophisticated and complex, with advanced options for greater customisation, while others are more generalised. 

Storage levels and upload size will vary, so determine how large your files are and how much storage you need. Also consider how vital protection is for your data in terms of encryption, how it’s stored, and what password protection and two-factor verification features are provided. 

While free versions of applications are available, these are almost invariably basic packages. Paid-for options, subscriptions or upgrades can see increases to storage capacity, as well as features and security options.

Companies should consider a solution that will work seamlessly with other services and apps to enable users to view, save, retrieve and collaborate on documents and files. Major SaaS providers will tend to interoperate reasonably well with other apps and tools. Some services are more specialised, such as Dropbox, for example, having a synced folder that’s readily accessible.

Other programmes are more generalised and offer a range of services, including folder syncing, device syncing and media playing, such as Google Drive and Apple iCloud. They also allow for real-time co-editing of documents. 

Additionally, many will share aspects with backup solutions, providing an element of backup and recovery, usually in-built.

The following are some leading examples: 

1. SpiderOak One

This application offers enhanced security, allowing for flexible sharing options, file backup and syncing. Although there’s no two-factor authentication with SpiderOak One and the mobile apps aren’t as user friendly as they could be, the security is superior. Making it more expensive than most other options available on the market, but a good choice if your data is highly sensitive.

2. Apple iCloud Drive

Compatible with both Windows and iOS / macOS devices, Apple iCloud has efficient web and app interfaces, although no app for Android. While collaborative editing isn’t as advanced, 5GB storage is complimentary when buying a macOS or iOS device, so while it may not meet competitor offerings, it’s an attractive option for Apple users. 

3. Google Drive

Google Drive is a highly-integrated solution, that works well with cross-platform applications and third-party products, offering ample free storage, file-syncing desktop-to-desktop and excellent productivity suite collaboration. 

There’s no password protection on shared files, productivity software is not as advanced as Microsoft Office, and the consumer desktop utility keeps everything locally, opening up some privacy concerns. It’s a popular choice for general storage, especially if you’re a productivity suite user. 

4. Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive is another popular option for clients on Windows, Android, iOS and Mac, given its efficient file sharing, photo management and integration with Office 365 and Windows 10. It comes with a range of features and allows document co-editing.

5. Box

Box is an easy to use solution with ample free storage, but it’s a more costly option that lacks some of the collaborative features that competing apps offer. It’s still well-designed, intuitive and allows for on-demand file syncing while integrating well with a range of other applications. 

6. Dropbox

Dropbox is another attractive app with seamless file syncing and integration, supporting collaboration, and it is available for most operating systems. There’s a free version along with a more advanced paid version. 

7. CertainSafe Digital Safety Deposit Box

CertainSafe provides secure file storage and sharing, with saved file versioning and authentication of the user to the server. At present, Office integration isn’t available, and if you happen to forget your security answers and password, then you’ll lose your access entirely. 

8. SugarSync

SugarSync provides reliable desktop and mobile interfaces, allowing for protected folders and File Explorer integration. It’s important to note that this is a pricier option that doesn’t offer the same level of comprehensive collaboration features as some other options on the market.

9. iCloud 

If you don’t require collaboration tools, then iCloud is an affordable option that’s straightforward to use and allows for large file uploads. Lifetime subscriptions are available with advanced features such as 30-day trash retrieval. 

10. iDrive 

This is a relatively easy to use solution that allows for unlimited devices, folder syncing, bulk uploads, File Explorer integration, back up of disk images and quick uploading. It’s favoured by many users as there are plenty of features, customer support, fast upload speeds and the ability to unlimited device backup, making iDrive a robust all-round option.

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