By Cristopher Burge
Moving to the cloud is a step many businesses, both big and small, are taking. There are a number of cloud storage options for businesses, both big and small, but two of the most popular are Box and Dropbox. Both services have been around for over ten years and are trusted by millions of users and organizations. But which one is the better choice?
Since its inception, Box has primarily been developed for business. Dropbox, on the other hand, started for personal use and later developed options for enterprise. This means the first one has more years of experience and development for business use than the second one, and has a head start in building user loyalty with large swaths of the workforce. Because of this, Box.com might be a good alternative to Dropbox for many businesses looking into their cloud storage options. Dropbox, however, has begun offering options to compete with Box, and both programs offer similar features and options. Currently, Box has gone public while Dropbox has not.
Like all cloud storage services, Box and Dropbox both offer a small amount of storage free and then charge for additional. For businesses, free cloud storage is generally not a good option. It does not offer the advanced security options that come standard with paid plans. Fortunately, both services offer differing levels of paid plans for business that will more than cover the needs of nearly every business.
Box currently offers several plans for businesses. These include their Starter, Business and Enterprise plans. The Starter plan is $5 per user per month (with a minimum of three users), making it ideal for businesses with fewer than ten employees. The Business plan is $15 per user per month (also with a minimum of three users). It offers unlimited storage and no maximum number of users. The Enterprise plan comes with all features offered under the Starter and Business plans and more, and offers individualized service and customizable options.
Dropbox Business also currently offers three plans. Their Standard plan is $15 per user per month, starting with three users. It comes with 2 TB of space. Their Advanced plan is $25 per user per month, starting with three users, and has unlimited storage space. Their Enterprise plan also offers individualized service and customizable options.
Both Box and Dropbox offer advanced security features, such as two-step authentication, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and 256-bit AES encryption. Two-step authentication in particular is one of the best ways to keep your online business secure. Originally, only Box was compliant with information security requirements, but now both programs are compliant with HIPAA/HITECH, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, SOC 1 and 2, PCI DSS and US-EU & Swiss Safe Harbor. Both are Cloud Security Alliance members. Box offers some features Dropbox does not, such as the ability to password protect files and e-mail validation upon login.
Both cloud programs excel at collaboration features, a critically important feature in any cloud storage provider for businesses. Both offer many of the same features, including Office 365 and Outlook integration, availability on Mac and Linux, and mobile access. Both are easy to use and user-friendly, although because Box has more features some users feel it’s a little tricker to pick up.
Dropbox offers the unique “File Request” tool, which allows users to request files from one another. It also has a list of 3,000 apps that will connect with their product, which is much more than Box’s 1,000. So this might be the better option for businesses that need connectivity to certain apps that Box does not support.
Box comes with the “Box Notes” tool, which allows users to create new files directly in the program as well as take notes on files for easy collaboration. Box shines with its administrative tools, which give administrators significant ability to set defaults and limitations on file access. Another helpful feature that it has is the ability to lock a file while it’s open for editing to prevent confusion.
As with all software products, it is best to try them out before purchasing to see which options employees prefer and what will work better for a business. Both Dropbox and Box offer free trial options. Companies should also always consult with their IT departments before making a decision about upgrading or purchasing new software. They know the operations of your businesses best and will be able to recommend the best plans to purchase.
Overall, both Box and Dropbox are solid cloud storage options for businesses of all sizes. Box is probably the better choice for larger businesses with more complex file management requirements. Both are good options for small and medium sized businesses with Dropbox having fewer bells and whistles for businesses that prefer simplicity. Which is best for any particular company will likely come down to the slight differences in features between the two, interface, and personal preference.
Cristopher Burge is a very passionate writer with a master’s degree in Information Technology, specialized in network management and defense. On his website, CloudStorageAdvice.com you can find more detailed information about online storage, reviews, and hot trends.