Dropbox is the best-known cloud storage provider and the first name that comes to most people's minds when searching for a cloud-based storage solution for business. Yet there are disadvantages to using Dropbox for Business, such as Dropbox's storage limits and its cost. This article discusses several other tools for cloud-based file storage and collaboration.
Disadvantages of Dropbox for Business
Dropbox is a stable, well-established cloud storage tool. However, while Dropbox may be the best business storage solution in some cases, it may not be in others, depending on which factors are most important to a business.
As critics have pointed out, Dropbox's business plans have some downsides. The standard Dropbox plan for businesses comes with only a maximum of two terabytes of storage. This is far from sufficient for many business users today. (Although storage needs vary from user to user, the average CloudBerry customer backs up 25 terabytes per month, which provides a sense of the data storage needs of typical users.)
Another Dropbox drawback is that, in order to get advanced security features like domain verification, you have to upgrade to the advanced storage plan. These types of security features may not matter for some businesses, but if they are important to you, perhaps Dropbox is not the most cost-efficient way of getting them.
Again, the purpose of this article is not to say you should never use Dropbox for business. Instead, we'd like to highlight some of the Dropbox alternatives for business in order to help MSPs find the best cloud storage solution for their needs.
Dropbox Alternatives for Business
Let's take a look at those cloud storage options besides Dropbox.
Founded in 2005, Box has been in business even longer than Dropbox, which was founded in 2007.
Box's business plan pricing starts at $15 per user per month, which is higher than Dropbox's $12.50. However, Box offers unlimited storage with that plan, making it more cost-efficient if you have a lot of data to store.
Box offers an admin console, which you can use to control file permissions, manage users and enforce security policies. To get advanced features, such as the ability to require certain features to be present on a device in order for a user to use Box, you have to pay for a Box "Business Plus" plan, which costs $25 per user per month.
Overall, Box is a good alternative to Dropbox for businesses if advanced features or unlimited storage are a priority, but you will pay slightly more than you would with Dropbox.
2. Morro Data
Morro Data is a cloud-based storage service designed specifically for businesses. That makes it different from services like Dropbox and Box, which also include individual consumer plans.
Morro Data's services are also somewhat different. Although it allows businesses to upload and store data to the cloud, it also caches data locally, so that it can be accessed more quickly than would be possible if the data had to be downloaded from the Internet.
Morro Data's pricing model is based on the number of devices that can access its storage service, rather than the number of users. Its basic storage plan costs $69 per device per month, with a 1-terabyte storage limit. This plan does not offer many features beyond basic file storage, however. For Active Directory integration, you have to upgrade to a plan that costs $89 per device per month. That plan includes a 5-terabyte storage limit with a pay-as-you-go model after reaching that limit.
Morro Data is best suited to business that require fast access to cloud-based files and whose data storage needs are limited. Depending on how you use the service, Morro Data may also be more cost efficient: Since the company charges per device instead of per user, you could save a lot of money if, for example, you have multiple employees who use the same workstation.
CentreStack is designed for businesses that require a high level of granular control over where their data is stored. The company enables businesses to store data on-premise while still sharing it internally or accessing it from a remote location. Meanwhile, other data can be uploaded to the cloud for extra reliability.
This dual storage model makes it possible for businesses to retain data on-premise in cases where compliance or security requirements prevent data from being uploaded to the cloud, while still leveraging the benefits of cloud storage for other types of data. Either way, the data is easy to share with other users.
CentreStack is intended for use by channel partners and resellers, making it a great Dropbox alternative for MSPs.
CentreStack pricing is not published; potential customers must contact the company for a quote.
If you are an MSP seeking a Dropbox alternative for business that provides a great deal of flexibility over where data is stored, CentreStack is an attractive solution. The platform also offers advanced features, such as AD integration. However, because of the lack of flat pricing, it is hard to know whether CentreStack is a more cost-efficient cloud storage solution than Dropbox until you try it.
Egnyte is another cloud storage company that caters to businesses.
Egnyte's pricing starts at $8 per employee per month. That makes it among the lowest-cost alternatives to Dropbox. When you consider that this plan includes up to 5 terabytes of storage, it becomes especially cost-efficient, given that Dropbox offers 2 terabytes of storage at $12.50 per user per month.
That said, Egnyte's $8 plan, as well as its more advanced $15 plan, offer no advanced administration or AD integration features. In order to get those, you have to choose an enterprise plan. Egnyte enterprise pricing is not fixed; you must call for a quote.
Overall, if your storage needs are basic and you don't require advanced administrative or security features, Egnyte provides the best value among Dropbox alternatives for business.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is the cloud storage service included within Google's suite of business applications, which is known as G Suite.
If you just want cloud storage, Google Drive pricing starts at just $1.99 per month for 100 gigabytes. (You can also set up a free account with a 15-gigabyte storage limit.) One terabyte costs $9.99 per month. Given that Dropbox, Box and other cloud storage providers offer more storage at lower price points, Google Drive is not the most cost-efficient cloud storage plan.
However, the best use case for Google Drive is when you use it in conjunction with other Google apps. If you sign up for a standard G Suite Business plan for $10 per user per month, you get email, calendar, conferencing, administration tools and other services as part of one package, with no storage limits.
If you already have other business application solutions in place, or if compliance or privacy concerns prevent you from uploading all of your data to G Suite, this may not be a good solution. For one-stop cloud storage and business application shopping, however, G Suite is attractive.
Microsoft's alternative to G Suite is OneDrive. It provides access to a similar suite of cloud storage and hosted business applications, at a price point similar to G Suite's: For $10 per month, you can get unlimited OneDrive storage, access to Office Online and other common business tools.
Microsoft OneDrive for business allows sharing and has a wide range of other features and integrations. Check out our in-depth OneDrive for Business Overview.
If you've reached your Dropbox storage limit or are searching for lower-cost cloud storage alternatives, you have a number of options. The best platform and plan for your business depends on how much storage you need, how many users you have per device, how much fine-grained control you want over data storage and which level of security and auditing services you require.