In the past couple of years Dropbox has tried to distance itself from its consumer roots by adding business features and plans. But while the service is the most popular for online file storage and sharing with more than 200 million users worldwide, it faces stiff competition from enterprise services also targeting SMEs.
The best-known competitor is the similar-sounding Box, which was founded in 2005 and has more than 20 million users.
Business plans for both services cost US$15 per user per month, although Box has a lower minimum number of users (three versus five). Box included shared storage of 1TB and a maximum file size of 5GB, while Dropbox’s business plan included unlimited storage and no file limits if uploaded from the desktop or mobile apps.
BoxFreeIT asked Tony Chadwick from Rype, Box’s primary partner in Australia, why a business should choose Box instead of Dropbox.
1. Audit Trail
Box users can track documents and files and see when they were added, downloaded, modified and deleted. “You can set up a secure audit trail of conversations and communication,” said Tony Chadwick, strategic director at Rype.
Users could also see a list of changes, creating a timeline of progress.
“Box allows documents and files to be date stamped. Comments and edits are dated, marked and can be backtracked,” Chadwick said.
Dropbox shows the last date of modification, who modified it and when a file was added. However, when a download link is shared with non-Dropbox users there’s no way to tell how often the file has been downloaded or when.
2. Text Search and Collaboration
Authorised users have full text search and the ability to turn folders into an online portal for collaboration. People can view, upload and receive instant email notifications and real-time updates for a file or folder.
“When you talk about the biggest enterprises in the world who share and collaborate huge amounts of files, you must have enterprise grade file sharing and folder sharing capabilities. Box is an enterprise grade solution,” Chadwick said.
Dropbox lacks full text search and there’s no way to set alerts for when a file is updated or altered.
3. Password Protection and Security
Box has many more features that ensure files are only seen by the intended recipients. Aside from password protection, users can schedule file deletion, deactivation of the sharing link, add up to six permission levels, from upload only to view only, and anonymous uploading for bidding purposes. “Box gives very good granular control,” Chadwick said.
While Dropbox encrypts files stored with the service, it can’t password protect individual files and folders, let alone more advanced security features.
4. Workflow Productivity
Box has greater ambitions that a simple online storage service. It has added basic collaboration tools such as the ability to comment on files and assign tasks to team members.
For example, colleagues could give feedback on a sales presentation and discuss next steps. Tasks associated with the presentation could ask the file owner to provide updates, kick off reviews or seek approvals.
A business can give non-Box users such as partners, customers and suppliers access to files for discussion or comment.
“The biggest thing about Box is collaboration. I can send you a link to a file and the end user can comment on the file,” Chadwick said.
Box cites an average workload saving of an hour a week – it claims a 15-person team saves 20 hours per week when using Box to drive workflows.
Dropbox has no collaboration features other than sharing the file itself.