Cloud-based file sharing had grown in recent years to become a very effective way of integrating online storage with file sharing and editing for businesses of all sizes. There are many competitors in this field; Amazon and Microsoft were surprisingly late to get started with cloud-based file sharing, but they are working to become the biggest names in the industry along with Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive, among others.
The competition is fierce in this market and both companies know they need to work to set themselves apart. Microsoft OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) and Amazon Workdocs (formerly Zocalo) both manage to do so in different ways. For today’s business owners, it can be tricky to decipher all of the offers and pricing solutions put forward; so, in an effort to help you decide which cloud locker is right for your needs, here’s a comparison of some key features.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business is available to businesses that subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 as part of a bundle, or it can alternatively be purchased as a standalone. Individual users in the business must have a Microsoft account to access the business account. It’s important to note that OneDrive for Business is a separate entity from simply OneDrive, which offers a free 15GB of storage for personal use. Interestingly, Amazon Workdocs does not require individual users to have an Amazon account – the only registered Amazon account needed is that of the administrator that sets up the business’ site. The individual users then log in with a name and password assigned within the business site itself.
While both sites are easily accessible for users, Amazon’s service is better in this category. By not requiring individual users sign up for anything, they are streamlining the process of getting users started.
This is where Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business gets confusing; there are many options for purchasing. You can purchase Office 365 Enterprise E1 for $8.00/user per month, ProPlus for $12.00/user per month, or Enterprise E3 for $20.00/user per month. These three options offer different plans, with Enterprise E3 combining everything that the other two offer; all three include 1 TB of file storage and sharing per user for an unlimited number of users with the option to buy more storage at a reasonable rate. It also offers a 30-day 25-user free trial for the Enterprise E3 option. If you don’t want the extras, you can buy a cheaper standalone access to OneDrive for Business.
Amazon’s pricing model is less complicated – businesses pay $5.00/user per month ($7.00 in Singapore and $8.00 in Sydney) for 50 GB file storage and sharing per user, which can be upgraded to 200 GB for an additional $2.00/user per month ($3.00 in Sydney and Singapore) with the option to buy more storage at a low rate. There is no listed maximum number of users. They are currently offering a free 12-month trial for up to 50 users.
While Amazon’s pricing method is easier to understand, Microsoft’s wins in this category. The value is incredible, and Microsoft’s includes extras: depending on the option you choose, you could have access to email, HD video conferencing, fully-installed Office, and Office apps on tablets and phones. Amazon’s free 1-year trial is nothing to sniff at, though.
OneDrive for Business is seamlessly integrated with the Office suite, which makes it the best option for working with Office documents. However, there is currently no way for users to sync automatically, and there is still no desktop sync application for OS X. This application has been promised for 2015; when released, it will make OneDrive a much more viable option for businesses. Amazon’s Workdocs has a desktop sync application for Mac and PC, as well as apps for Apple, Android, and Google. It’s also important to note that a user doesn’t need to have the application that a document was created in to edit or read it.
Workdocs beats OneDrive for Business in this category entirely because OneDrive’s lack of OS X integration. If the OS X sync application is released this year, the two services will become very close in terms of integration.
As both of these services are still in their early stages, they both have some wrinkles to iron out. Microsoft OneDrive for Business has a 20,000 file limit per user, which is odd when you compare it to the 1 TB of storage a user has. This, in addition to the lack of OS X integration and automatic synchronization, seriously impacts the effectiveness of OneDrive for Business.
Amazon Workdocs has its faults, too. The initial 50 GB of storage per user is incredibly low in comparison to what is offered at the same price by OneDrive for Business. While it makes up for it by making it affordable to add more storage, it would cost a business over $30.00/user per month to have the 1 TB of storage that you get right off the bat with Microsoft’s service, and it doesn’t come with all of the extras that Microsoft’s includes.
Both of these services offer similar security measures. Workdocs encrypts all files and comments at rest, and OneDrive for Business has two levels of encryption for data at risk, BitLocker disk-level encryption and per-file encryption of customer content. They both encrypt in-transit data with industry-standard SSL. Additionally, permissions for sharing can be changed at any time. Administrators for either service can allow or prevent users from sharing outside of their organization, and can specify whether a user can share a file or not.
When it comes to individual user accounts, OneDrive for Business has users log in with a Microsoft account while Workdocs had users create a unique account within the business’ website. For this reason, password changes and expiration are to the administrator’s discretion, which may be less secure than the requirements Microsoft sets forward for its accounts; however, Workdocs does support multi-factor authentication which can provide businesses with an additional layer of security during the login process.
One option that Workdocs offers customers that OneDrive for Business does not is the ability to choose the Amazon Web Services (AWS) region where their data is stored, which means a business can set up their Workdocs site in the region nearest to where the majority of their users are working from to reduce data access latencies.
When it comes to security, neither of these services pose a risk to customers. They both do a solid job of encrypting information, but because Amazon Workdocs goes the extra mile with allowing businesses to choose the region where their data is stored, its service comes out on top.
Both Amazon Workdocs and Microsoft OneDrive for Business are growing as viable options for business. Each of them has their benefits and although they offer a similar service, one of them is a better option for your business. Which one do you prefer? Tell us in the comments!