E-commerce giant Amazon.com recently threw its hat into the ring of cloud-based storage platforms. But can Zocalo (Spanish for “town square”) compete with the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and the others that are sure to follow?
Tale of the Tape
In just a short time, cloud-based storage has become a viable alternative to server-based storage. Here is a quick look at the major competitors:
· Zocalo: After a 30-day free trial, as many as 50 end users share 200 GB of storage for $5 per month. Licensed users can share files on almost any Internet-enabled device. Additional features, like an integration with a corporate directory, may be available for an additional cost.
· Dropbox: $10 per month buys one TB (1,000 GB) of storage space. Dropbox recently dropped its prices to compete with Zocalo. Users may upgrade to Business Dropbox for an additional $5 per month, and gain access to additional security and control features.
· Google: $10 per user per month (maximum $120 per month) activates an unlimited data storage cloud, along with features like audit and reporting, administrative controls, litigation controls, an archive service and more.
There are a number of other platforms, including Hightail, Zip Cloud, Carbonite and many others, but Zocalo, Dropbox and Google are the undisputed Big Three.
Laying the Odds
At first blush, Zocalo seems to be the best deal by far. Five times the storage space for half the price seems to be a no-brainer. That may be true in some situations, but certainly not for all cloud users.
Consider the size of your company and the type of industry. A small law firm, with six or ten lawyers and other staff, may eat up data storage at an alarming rate, whereas a solo practitioner may not ever approach even the lowest data-storage limit.
Interface style is another big factor. Google probably has the inside track here, as pretty much everyone is familiar with the style and design. Dropbox and Zocalo are easy to learn, but there may be a learning curve and some users may not want to jump on board.
One option, especially if you anticipate using a lot of storage space, is to sign up for more than one service. To stay with the law firm example, the litigation section could use Dropbox while the M&A lawyers use Zocalo.
Zocalo has the advantage for now, but it remains to be seen how long it can stay on top.
The price is right, especially for small organizations who don’t need a gazillion bytes of storage space. You can purchase additional storage capacity and software features on an as-needed basis. Zocalo bills itself as a streamlined clone of Google Drive and Dropbox (well, Amazon uses more flowery language than that), so the service definitely caters to the price-shoppers.
Zocalo is also tablet-optimized, which is a major advantage for many users. You’ll save time by not having to magnify and reduce the screen image when you’re switching back and forth from reviewing the text to editing and making comments.
The data is double-encrypted. In reality, that security level make not make much of a difference, but it gives your clients and customers a good feeling.
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