Most employees have a need to share documents and files with peers or among PCs and mobile devices, and often those files are too large to send via email. Although more sizeable organizations likely use enterprise software to provide such sharing and collaboration opportunities, quite a few services are available for SMBs that provide similar features. Some of these apps are free, but storage size is limited so they offer inexpensive plans to pay for extra storage.
The most popular document-sharing applications each offer business plans that provide for IT management of the service. They also provide security tips and features to help ensure that your data is kept safe; however, the most important point to remember is that your documents are truly only secure if you trust the persons with whom you share them. The top three document-sharing apps include:
- Google Drive
Google Drive is probably the most familiar tool for consumer users and maybe some business users. For a basic service, you can sign into your Google account and download Drive. The free service provides up to 15GB of storage.
Google’s business plan allows an organization to start with 30GB of storage per user, and more space can be added for $4 per month per 20GB. IT administrators can buy and manage users’ storage of up to 16TB for a monthly fee.
With Google Drive, users can share folders or files with single persons or teams of people. Through the use of Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, users can create and share a variety of media and multiple team members can access a document at the same time to collaborate on editing or creation.
Google Drive can be used on any Mac or PC and an app is available for mobile devices that run Android or iOS.
Dropbox is also a favorite of consumer users, but it, too, has benefits for the business. The free, single-user Dropbox service includes 2GB of storage (upgradable to 18GB if you refer family and friends). Dropbox business accounts start at 1TB of storage for up to five users. Business accounts can also be managed by IT administrators.
Dropbox allows users to work together on the same documents and users can see changes instantly. Users (or administrators) can set bandwidth limits so it won’t slow your connection. Documents and files are saved within a folder that invited users can access. You can even access the files offline.
Users can access Dropbox from computers running Linux, MacOS or Windows. Mobile users can gain access through apps that are available for iPhone, iPad, Android systems and BlackBerry.
SugarSync provides its service for a fee. Personal accounts run as low as $7.49 per month for 60 GB and go as high as $24.99 per month for 250GB. Business plans start at $55 per month for 1TB and up to 10 users. Additional users and storage can be added for a fee.
SugarSync allows users to choose folders to be synched and then synchronize the data between them automatically in the background. This way, a user can access a document at work and have the same document to access from home via a personal cloud. Documents can be edited offline and if they are in the folder to be synched, they will be automatically updated through the cloud once the computer is online again.
Folders that are shared realize the same convenient auto-update features and can be used for collaboration among a whole team of users. And, administrators can safely and remotely wipe synched data from a user’s computer from the Admin Dashboard.
SugarSync can be used on Macs or PCs and is available for use via app for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Outlook.
Any small to midsize business looking for a convenient way for users to collaborate or an inexpensive service to allow sharing of documents among computers and/or mobile devices will find that these products fit the bill. Each provides a variety of plans and levels of storage that are used by millions of people and businesses around the world.