By Jesse Wood, CEO of eFileCabinet

If we were comparing soft drinks, we wouldn’t need an article for it. But software is chess, not checkers, right? So without further ado, let’s take an unflinching look at the drawbacks, benefits, and similarities of sophisticated document management software (DMS) and Dropbox for Business, so you can decide which solution is best for your company’s needs.

Key Document Management Similarities

Both DMS and Dropbox for Business have carved out solid niches in the digital information management space. While DMS has a great stronghold in the accounting, financial services, and HR space, Dropbox for Business is used by a larger range of organizations with less specific needs.

Role-based Permissions are Extremely Granular

File viewing, editing, and sharing permissions are extremely important to security. Although Dropbox offers tiered administration, DMS systems have a similar tier-ing of permissions, meaning both systems have slightly different but deeply embedded permissions for security.

256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Encryption

Both offer these features in at least one of their solutions. This security standard is especially important for businesses and organizations handling sensitive patient, client, or customer information, as email is no longer safe due to the fact it is breach-susceptible.

Similarly Tiered Products and Pricing

Dropbox for Business and DMS both have tiered products and pricing. However, DMS systems have a higher caliber bandwidth and functionality than the normal Dropbox.

Both offer pricing plans for businesses, but “lite” versions of DMS are a better fit for single room office or home office workers—making this a perfect segue for the areas in which DMS beats Dropbox.

Where Document Management Software Wins

Document Versioning > Document Deduplication

Files get needlessly duplicated and re-created in most paper or shared drive-dependent offices. Both DMS systems and Dropbox for Business offer features to combat this. However, Drobox for Business’s method of deduplication is a bit more complex than DMS.

Deduplication is a process in Dropbox for Business where users can search for previously stored documents that are identical to one another, ensuring they are not duplicated. If it finds a matching document on the server, a copy can be placed in the account without having to reupload the data.

File versioning with DMS simplifies the matter by not only preventing duplication, but also by adding some audit functionality to the feature: For instance, the version history of a single document title will entail multiple document versions, including the users who changed the documents.

Automated Document Routing, Storage and Classification

DMS makes going (and staying) paperless easier and more intuitive than Dropbox for Business.

The boring document processes that waste time like filing, faxing, and manual file handling are best transubstantiated into time saving processes by DMS.

If you want to work on documents at the speed of thought but without human error, a more sophisticated DMS is your best bet.

DMS Has More Platform Options

DMS has more versatile delivery models through on-premises and cloud offerings. Although on premises and online platforms are frequently confused, clarifying how each platform functions can demonstrate when an on premises platform is a better fit for a company—on premises being the key solution Dropbox for Business does not offer.

Contrary to popular opinion, an on premises document management solution does not require an on-site IT team, especially if the DMS vendor has a good support squad. Although the cloud is becoming more popular, on premises remains (and will remain) a viable option.

DMS Has Wider Range of HIPAA Compliance Plans

Although both vendors have solutions that ensure HIPAA compliance, a more sophisticated DMS system ensures HIPAA compliance, whereas only two of Dropbox for Business’s packages ensure HIPAA compliance (Advanced and Enterprise).

More specifically, a DMS system helps with the following aspects of HIPAA compliance:

HIPAA Security Rule

Under full and proper use, a greater number of DMS solutions ensure that all four technical safeguards under HIPAA’s Security Rule, as outlined below, are met:

  1. HIPAA Security Rule Technical Safeguard 1: Access Control

This safeguard establishes the following definition as achieving access controls: “…the ability or means necessary to read, write, modify, or communicate data/information or otherwise use any system resource.”

  1. HIPAA Security Rule Technical Safeguard 2: Audit Controls

This safeguard establishes the following definition as achieving audit controls: “Implement hardware, software, and/or procedural mechanisms that record and examine activity in information systems that contain or use electronic protected health information.”

  1. HIPAA Security Rule Technical Safeguard 3: Integrity Controls

This safeguard sets forth the following definition of achieved integrity controls: “The property that data or information have not been altered or destroyed in an unauthorized manner.”

  1. HIPAA Security Rule Technical Safeguard 4: Transmission Security

This safeguard sets forth the following definition of achieved transmission security: “Implement technical security measures to guard against unauthorized access to electronic protected health information that is being transmitted over an electronic communications network.”

HIPAA Privacy Rule: Protected Health Information (PHI)

Under proper use, DMS facilitates the technological requirements for confidentiality codes and practices in healthcare.

HIPAA states that protected health information should not be used or disclosed when it is not necessary to satisfy a particular purpose or carry out a function.

Protected Health Information (PHI) entails information, including demographic data, that relates to patients’ past, present, or future health or condition; the provision of healthcare to the individual, or; the past, present, or future payment of the provision of healthcare to the individual.

Where Dropbox Wins

Without an implementation fee and a free 30-day trial, Dropbox may seem like an appealing option right off the bat. However, some DMS vendors offer something similar, although it cannot be called a free trial, per se: Rather, it’s an unlimited number of free demos.

Depending on who you are, a free demo is more beneficial as someone will walk you through the process of using the software, whereas a free trial simply means handing you the reins and expecting you to just “figure it out.”

Syncing Capacity and Bandwidth

DMS is to capture what Dropbox is to syncing, meaning Dropbox is best at syncing. This strength is accented by Dropbox for Business’s offline access: The capacity to access information and files when an internet connection is not available.

App Integrations

If you are heavily mobile dependent, you can get a broader range of integrations from Dropbox for Business. However, DMS not only has in-depth integration with the software that really matters (such as Salesforce and Microsoft Office), but also strong integrations for the accounting and financial services professional.

Remote Device Wipe

This lets you wipe files from lost or stolen devices to ensure the account’s information isn’t compromised by unwanted parties. Although DMS does not offer this functionality as a service, the security backing DMS account access is strong enough to prevent the theft of a mobile device, for instance, from having business data compromised.

Jesse Wood is the CEO of document management software vendor, eFileCabinet. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations automate redundant processes, ensure security, and solve common office problems.

Dropbox stock photo by Nopparat Khokthong/Shutterstock