DriveHQ vs. Other Cloud Services

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Summary

3. Detailed Reviews and Comparisons

4. Disclaimer


1. Introduction


This is one of a series of reviews comparing DriveHQ's Cloud IT service with other cloud storage and online backup services.

A group of top experts in the cloud industry, with the help from enterprise customers, technology consultants and DriveHQ service resellers, created these reviews and comparisons.

1.1 Why do we create these reviews

1.2 About DriveHQ

Based in Silicon Valley, DriveHQ was the first cloud IT solution provider, before the term cloud was as popular as it is today. DriveHQ has offered a broad array of cloud services for over 12 years, quite a few years before competitors like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Egnyte, Carbonite, Sky Drive, iCloud and Amazon S3 started offering cloud services. This has given DriveHQ a competitive advantage when it comes to offering a more robust set of tools.

DriveHQ has been steadily growing its business and increasing its customer base. Currently, it has over 2 million monthly active users. DriveHQ presents itself as a technology and service oriented company, dedicated to providing advanced feature sets for large organizations.

The DriveHQ team has offices worldwide and works directly with large organizations, building customized solutions to ensure that the needs of the business are met. With the heavy industry regulations appearing every day, it is important for a cloud service provider to provide flexible solutions that can scale with your business. DriveHQ prides itself on this statement and works hard to ensure every customer is 100% satisfied with the service.


2. Summary


We have already compared DriveHQ cloud IT service with some other major cloud storage service providers. There are many cloud service providers; it is not possible to compare with all of them. However, many cloud services are very similar, so we don? need to compare with all of them. This document tries to give some general idea about how to compare DriveHQ service with other cloud storage services.

2.1 The differences among cloud storage services:

Generally, cloud storage services can be categorized as follows:

Different cloud service providers may offer different category services, even within the same category, making the actual service very different. There are many different type of cloud computing services available, all of which can suite your needs in different ways.

2.2 What to look for when choosing a Cloud Service Provider?

With so many services that are available, it is difficult to select a service that will best fit the needs of your business. Below are a few principles that will help in selecting a cloud service provider:

2.3 Folder synchronization services.

Dropbox is a simple synchronization service and there are many companies mimicking their service. In fact, when you analyze services from Box, Egnyte and Google Drive, the folder sync tools that they offer are almost identical. They all create a special folder on your computer and sync the folder with the cloud storage, making you recreate your folder structure within this special folder. While we have not fully reviewed every service, this seems to be a strong trend for sync services. Although popular, folder sync is not scalable for business / enterprise because it replicates data on all devices, leaving your confidential data at risk.

2.3.1 Folder Sync is not scalable for business/enterprise use.

If you are a consumer with only a few GBs of data, folder synchronization may work perfectly fine, but:

2.4 Cloud backup services.

Cloud-based backup services are often more secure and reliable than a local backup service. Your data can survive major disasters like fire, flood, earthquake, etc. However, any backup-only service is inadequate for businesses / enterprises. Most businesses and enterprises need to access, share and collaborate files remotely. Also, it can get extremely costly to pay for not only a cloud storage service, but a seperate backup service as well, as many storage providers do not offer a dedicated backup solution.

2.5 File sharing and collaboration.

Most other cloud service providers have relied on a web browser based file sharing and collaboration service. However, requiring all users to use web browsers for file management, sharing and collaboration will not only require re-training of many employees, but also decreases employee productivity as web browser-based service is inherently less efficient than native applications like DriveHQ FileManager or WebDAV drive mapping. Web browser services are highly inefficient, they cannot scale, and they pose many security concerns for IT administrators.

2.6 Traditional hosting services.

Traditional hosting services use conventional FTP servers, email servers and web servers. In some cases, these hosting services are more versatile. However, many cloud service providers do not offer these kind od features. As with online backup services, most of the time you will need to purchase these services seperately from your cloud storage.

2.7 Raw cloud storage services.

Amazon offers a raw cloud storage service with its S3 service. It is designed to be part of the internet's infrastructure service (IaaS). Because of this, it lacks advanced features that can scale with businesses. If a business does not have strong technical expertise, such IaaS service requires heavy development and integration work. When IT teams have limited resources and capabilities, this is not a feasable service as it often requires heavy customization work.

2.8 WebDAV drive mapping service.

WebDAV drive mapping clearly seems to be the most straight-forward and popular way of accessing cloud storage service. You can map your cloud storage as a network drive on your local computer. It works just like a local drive. Some other cloud service providers may also offer WebDAV drive mapping service. Although simple to use and to implement, it is not optimized for large-scale business use due to the technical inefficiencies that often come along.

3. Detailed Reviews and Comparisons


3.1 Folder Sync is not scalable for business use.

Folder synchronization is a consumer feature that allows easy access of cloud and local storage. It is simple to use, thus less training is required for your employees, however it lacks advanced security features that can help manage your business's data.

It is terribly inefficient if you need to sync over 100GB or 1TB of data. It will take a very long time to sync that amount of data to all devices and the Folder Sync client software will use more and more CPU and RAM to sync the files, which slows down your computer dramatically. Not to mention it will fill huge amounts of storage space on each computer / device in which it is synced to. Also, with services that only offer two-way synchronizations, the task will use a lot of bandwidth, which further slows down your network connection and creates a poor experience for your users.

When you have multiple users and computers that the data is being synced to, it exposes a lot of security issues. How do you limit each user to a specific folder? Employees may come and go and take your business data with their own account, it is a security nightmare. Also, once a file or folder is shared with another user, that user will technicall own those documents, allowing them to download confidential business data to their computers and share it with others as they may.

3.2 Businesses need a true cloud file server solution.

People who have worked for an enterprise will understand file servers and network drives. Enterprise users don't sync files on the file server to each computer because it wastes too much storage space on each computer, creates file version conflicts, and defeats the purpose central file management. True cloud solutions will provide a central management tool that allows you to log and track all your data, as well as user actions.

3.3 Businesses need ACL-based fine granular access control.

Businesses need the ability to share multiple folders to multiple users/sub-groups with different permissions. Most other cloud service providers cannot complete this task without giving full access rights to the document.

DriveHQ goes above and beyond the simple user sharing tactic by allowing ACL-based fine granular access control. This gives IT administrators the ability to create permissions for specific users, give different levels of access rights to specific folders, and completely control which employess have access to which documents. Once a folder has been shared with a user, the user must abide by the permissions that were specified and they will not have the ability to share those documents with other users. Once shared, you remain in control of all your sensitive business data.

3.4 Sharing a folder to non-members.

Many cloud services force users to sign up a membership before they can access a shared folder. This is done to not only improve their user count, but if documents are larger than the standard storage amount, that user must upgrade their account in order to access that document.

DriveHQ does not have such requirements. All shared files use the storage space and bandwidth from the sharing party and there is no need to sign up for an account. The sharing party can quickly create a guest user and provide the login information to that guest user, therefore they can quickly and easily access the shared document.

3.5 Scalable user management tools.

Many cloud services don't have scalable user management tool and They don't support sub-groups and contact groups. This is extremely important for user management because IT administrators can add users to subgroups and then mass share documents to the subgroup. Therefore, the subgroup only receives the data that the IT admin specifies.

If you have over 1000 users, sub-groups, contact groups, batch user creation and management are absolutely needed. DriveHQ has a very powerful user admin tool that allows admin users to create user accounts with different roles: group admin, sub-group admin, regular members and guest users. You can batch create or manage over 1000 sub-users at once. It is a simple yet powerful tool that allows the IT team to maintain total control over their documents and users.

3.6 Client-side encryption.

The lack of client-side encryption means the cloud service provider can access your sensitive information if they want to. Any hackers may also be able to access your sensitive information. Server-side encryption is generally meaningless: your data arrived at the server un-encrypted. The unencrypted data is then encrypted using an encryption method that is fully controlled by cloud service provider. When you need to access your data, the server un-encrypts your data and then transfers the data to you. Overall, this is not a security feature that will keep your data protected.

With DriveHQ’s encrypted folder feature, your data can be encrypted locally using your own encryption key before it leaves your computer. The data remains encrypted on DriveHQ server. DriveHQ server does not have your encryption key and cannot decrypt your files. This offers the ultimate security and privacy. In the rare case that a hacker gained access to DriveHQ's servers, they will be unable to access your data because you are the only one that holds the encryption key.

3.7 Feature sets.

DriveHQ offers a one-stop shop for all core IT services. Most other cloud services are only focused on one or two features. When it comes to large enterprises, they often need multiple solutions in order to tend to the needs of their employees. Instead of putting your data at risk by exposing it to multiple services, DriveHQ offers a vast array of services that can completely replace your in-house IT servers. These services include, but are not limited to: cloud storage, online backup, cloud to cloud backup, FTP server hosting, email server hosting, web server hosting, WebDaAV drive mapping, the highly rated File Manager software, advanced group management tools, and much more.

3.8 Folder synchronizations.

3.8.1 Basic sync services.

You do not have the ability to choose a folder (or folders) on your PC and sync with the cloud. You must migrate your files or folders to the special sync folder in order for them to be sync-ed to the cloud. This means you or your employees will have to change your work habit, many of which will need to be retrained. This is not a scalable solution and as mentioned previously, there are many security risks that can occur with this service.

DriveHQ can sync any folder(s) on your computer to any folders in the cloud. It's a very simple solution, using their File Manager software, that runs completely in the background, therefore your employees will not even know they are using DriveHQ. On top of this, DriveHQ's sync service supports multiple sync tasks, scheduled sync tasks, one-way sync tasks, and complete flexibility when creating tasks.

3.8.2 Advanced synchronizations.

The entire special sync folder (such as Dropbox) is one synchronization. With this solution, you are unable to create multiple sync tasks to sync different files using different sync schedules. Their service is simple and straighforward, yet it lacks the necessary security features needed by large organizations.

On the contrary, DriveHQ allows you to select exactly which folders you would like to sync, allowing you to continue accessing your data the same way as you were before (no opening the special sync folder and recreating folder structures). On top of this, each folder can have it's own synchronization task with its own seperate schedule, therefore you can minimize the bandwidth use suring the day. DriveHQ's solution is extremely flexible and it creates a seamless user experience, helping to prevent accidental deletions.

3.8.3 One-way synchronization tasks.

Sometimes, you just want to push (sync) your data to the cloud and never worry about your local files being overwritten or deleted. Sometimes, you just want to pull (sync) data from the cloud. However, most other sync solutions cannot support it, They only support two-way sync. So any changes made from either side will affect the other side.

DriveHQ supports one-way folder sync, allowing you to completely customize your sync task to meet the needs of your business. In the case of an accidental deletion on one side, the document will remain in place on the other side, ensuring you will not lose any prescious documents.

3.8.4 Excluding files / folders.

Many programs create temporary files or backup files, e.g. MS Word creates a temp file with the file name like ?$test.docx? Many programs create intermediate files or activity log files such as *.bak, *.obj, *.log, *.tmp, etc. There is no need to sync those files. However, with most other sync services, you cannot filter those useless files, not only it wastes your storage space, but also it slows down your network. With DriveHQ FileManager, you can filter certain folders/files using wildcard characters.

3.8.5 Freeing up your local disk space.

For consumers / businesses who want to offload some files from their hard drives to the cloud and free up disk space, most folder sync service cannot do it because it will keep a copy of the files on the local drives.

DriveHQ does not limit your usage and does not limit how your data can be stored, therefore you can completely replace your in-house file servers with DriveHQ's file servers. Offload all that data stored on-site and cut back on your server expenses by allowing DriveHQ to safely manage your data.

3.8.6 Controling upload / download tasks.

With the majority of other cloud service providers, you cannot complete any of the following:

3.8.7 Syncing network drives and external drives.

Most other folder sync solutions can only sync a special sync folder (like Dropbox); they cannot sync network drives and external drives. Because such software usually can sync one-time only, if the network drive or external drive is disconnected, it will cause the sync software to fail.

With DriveHQ FileManager, you can sync network folders or external drives. Disconnecting the network / external drive will affect one sync task, but it does not affect other sync tasks. And if the drive is reconnected, the sync task can automatically resume.

3.8.8 Syncing open (locked) files.

A lot of people might work on a file for days without closing it. Files are open / locked. Most other sync solutions will not sync the file until it is saved and closed. What if you forgot to close the file? You will not be able to access the latest version remotely; and what if you accidentally delete the file before you close it? You may lose your file.

DriveHQ FileManager can sync locked files when you turn on the VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) feature from the “My Options” screen. This feature simply takes a "screenshot" of the opened document and syncs that copy to DriveHQ, giving the rest of your employees the msot updated version of that document.

3.9 Supporting FTP, email and web hosting.

In the event that your company needs to host emails or websites, you will need to do so with a third-party service and pay their costs, on top of the price that you are currently paying for cloud storage. In order to avoid this situation, DriveHQ allows you to host your email and websites with us, creating a one-stop solution for many businesses.

3.10 File size limitations.

The max file size limit usually ranges from 250MB to 10GB for most cloud service providers. While most users probably dont have files over 10GB, businesses / enterprises may have much larger files such as Outlook PST files, database files, virtual disk image files that as large as 200GB. DriveHQ does not limit you to the file size, as long as it does not exceed your overall storage limit.

3.11 Active Directory Integration.

For large enterprises, integrating with Active Directory will make account creation and management much easier. Users can logon directly with their active directory email address and password.

Most other cloud services do not natively support Active Directory SSO integration. Some of them can support it through 3rd party companies, which normally charges $5/user/month. Involving a 3rd party service will make the system less secure and reliable. Any system problem or security breach with the 3rd party company may also affect the overall service and security.

3.12 SLA (service level agreement).

SLA (service level agreement) is commonly required by enterprises, but due to legal constraints, many service providers do not offer a SLA. For enterprise customers, DriveHQ offers SLA that is more robust than the typical SLA, ensuring your business's data will be completely safe.

3.13 Busines pricing.

Don’t be misled by free or cheap services. In fact, many cloud services charge more for business service plans. Their consumer service plans could appear to be cheap, but is often used as bait and also often comes with many hidden restrictions.

On DriveHQ, we never over charge our business customers. In fact, business customers often receive volume discount. So if they order a higher plan, the unit cost is much lower than smaller plans.

3.14 Customer support quality.

DriveHQ is based in Silicon Valley and our customer support and sales support are also based in U.S. Our support staff is experienced and knowledgeable and they usually can solve the problems over the phone. DriveHQ also has a lot of support documentation, videos, flash demos and an active support forum for FAQ's. For enterprise customers, we offer remote desktop support.


4. Disclaimer


This review and comparison document is mainly focused on comparing business cloud storage services or premium services. Most points also apply to free cloud storage services. DriveHQ uses its best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, objective and up-to-date. We will periodically revisit the document and update it. If you find any information inaccurate, out-of-date or incorrect, please contact us at feedback@drivehq.com, we will respond promptly.



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