For this comparison, we have again taken a closer look at the most popular cloud products. Particularly for sensitive company data it is important to have complete control over the encryption, exchange of data and user authorisations. Unfortunately, most of the service providers do not offer all of this, but instead merely focus on just a small section.
Apple vs. Microsoft
Apple's “iCloud®” and Microsoft's “OneDrive®” are already firmly integrated in their corresponding operating systems. As they are integrated directly into the file manager, both services offer a high level of operating convenience and can also be effortlessly synchronised on a smartphone or tablet. As soon as the data have been synchronised with the device once, they are available for offline editing.
In the free-of-charge versions, 5GB of storage space is available to the user in both services. In terms of the maximum file size, Apple (15GB) beats Microsoft (10GB). A paid subscription is necessary for this, however, as the storage space would otherwise be insufficient.
Apple saves the data, encrypted, on third-party servers. The key, the file names and meta data all remain on Apple's servers.
Microsoft, meanwhile, scans the user's files for any violations of the “User Regulations”.
Dropbox is particularly widespread in the German-speaking area, as users gain extra storage space as a reward for recruiting their friends (in the free-of-charge version the space can be increased in this way to up to 18GB).
The web interface of Dropbox can sometimes be a bit tricky to use; the software for the Mac and Windows is better here. When working, the user will not even notice that they are editing files that are located in the Dropbox. Offline usage is, of course, also possible here.
As does Apple, Dropbox relies on hosting on third-party service providers. The keys, however, are also stored on Dropbox's own servers. According to the Stiftung Warentest consumer organisation, all US American cloud service providers are classified as being only ‘sufficient’ in terms of data protection, and it is recommended that encryption be carried out by the client.
While Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive are primarily aimed at the end users, Citrix offers significantly extended administration options. Authorisation rights can thus be managed better and deletions can be ordered from a distance. The clear focus on companies can be seen not only in the fact that the service allows hosting on their own servers, but also in the maximum file size of 100GB. In addition, third-party service provider software which is permitted to access Sharefile can be regulated to be able to better implement company guidelines. At the same time, this results in lower support expenses.
The service provider box.com places great importance on the high level of security standards in relation to the applicable statutory guidelines as well as on the protective directives for e-discovery and data retention. It is also possible easily to implement a variety of ISO Standards customised for the location.
This level of security has its price, however. In the standard version, box only allows files with a maximum size of 250MB. The Enterprise version with 5GB is still somewhat at the lower end in our comparison.
cloudplan secure private p2p cloud
With its peer-to-peer concept, cloudplan is moving in a completely different direction to all of the service providers that have been discussed so far. Due to the distribution of data directly between the clients of the customer, there is a significantly higher level of failsafe performance and transfer speed than with client-server architectures. At the same time, all of the data are stored on the devices of the customer and there is no need to rely on an unknown third-party. The single point of failure is removed and the capacities of all devices connected can be used.