Dropbox and OneDrive, along with Google Drive, are the big three of the cloud storage market for SMBs and enterprises. Though dozens of niche players have made strong cases for themselves, particularly by offering unique interfaces aimed at specific market segments, the big three continue to grow strong, none of them really challenged by any of the new entrants. The choice of a cloud storage solution can have massive implications for the user experience, productivity, and information accessibility aspects for an enterprise. Among these, OneDrive for Business in particular, and Dropbox Business, to some extent, have been particularly aggressive in roping in new SMB and enterprise clients. Dropbox or OneDrive: Which one should you go for? How do you even decide? We’ve got help for you in this guide. (For an in-depth look at Team Drives, Google’s new cloud storage and collaboration offering aimed at businesses, go here.)
The critical question of storage costs
Experts estimate that the average enterprise doubles its data requirements every year. Taking this into account, the cost of storage becomes a huge factor. So when it comes to costs, is Dropbox or OneDrive the one for you? Here’s the lowdown.
Available for a free trial for 30 days, a subscription gets you 2TB of storage space per month, priced at $12.50 (for the standard plan) per month per user (for three users, or more). The advanced plan, priced at $20 a month, grants you unlimited space. About as much space to fit all those diamonds at the end of that awesome movie “Blood Diamond.”
OneDrive for Business
The basic subscription plan gets you 1TB of storage space a month per user. Called Plan 1, this one is priced at $5/user/month. Plan 2 (rather uncreatively named) gets you unlimited storage space and is priced at $10 per user per month.
So, from a price perspective, OneDrive for Business is the unquestionable winner, offering tremendous cost-cutting to SMBs that have massive data storage needs without the budgets to support them.
Of course, the choice of a cloud storage solution can’t be done entirely on the basis of the dollar amount.
The important question of data sync
Data synchronization is a key aspect of every cloud storage solution provider and document management application. Called “syn,” this is the ability of the application to make the changes done to a file reflect across the other devices it’s shared on, without the need for manual transfer of data. Though both Dropbox and OneDrive offer near real-time sync, there’s more to this comparison.
Dropbox Business offers data sync across Windows, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and Linux. Dropbox was, in fact, the innovator that brought the file system folder model of syncing to the cybersphere, wherein any files added in the designated folder are automatically made available on the cloud and shared across all other devices linked to the same account on the cloud.
The block-level file transfer algorithm used by Dropbox means that only the changes to a file get synced after the initial sync, which makes every subsequent sync faster. Smart Sync is another useful feature, allowing you to see the synced content in your desktop sync folder, even for files for which automatic sync is turned off.
OneDrive offers its client for all operating systems, except Linux. Also, there’s a lot of negative sentiment around how the web app of OneDrive doesn’t work well for Linux. However, for SMBs and enterprises that don’t need Linux support, this is not a deal breaker. OneDrive’s sync is more or less similar to the kind offered by Dropbox. However, it doesn’t support block-level file sync, except for Microsoft Office files. Selective sync helps you save on hard disk space, but you don’t get any visibility via the sync folder. You can throttle sync speeds, though.
Dropbox, because of block-level file sync, emerges as the better option because the real-time reflection of changes in documents to collaborators is a major productivity boost. However, for businesses that work mostly using Microsoft Office documents, OneDrive is equally good.
Content sharing and access control
There’s hardly a pure cloud storage service these days; content sharing is a must-have, and it naturally follows that these services should also offer access control features. So is it Dropbox or OneDrive in this category? On this front, both fare equally well. That’s because:
- Both services allow you to share content by sending out email invitations or via a link that you can share with others.
- You can set expiry dates for the links to control until people get access to the shared content.
- Users can allow view only or edit access at folder and file level.
- Both services offer a useful “audit” page to help users identify which content has been shared among multiple users.
Note: Dropbox edges out OneDrive on one aspect, and that’s by offering password protection via links. Unless you’re sure you won’t need password protection for your shared content access links, Dropbox is the better pick here.
Dropbox and OneDrive differentiate themselves from the others primarily because of their capability to integrate with several other vital applications. This enables businesses to set up primarily automated and wholesome workflows.
Dropbox Business is at a disadvantaged position here, mostly because Dropbox itself doesn’t develop many applications (there’s a note-taking app called Dropbox Paper). However, and almost surprisingly, Dropbox offers users the benefit of working on Office documents online (within the Dropbox interface).
That’s because Dropbox has a tech-collaboration deal with Microsoft, because of which it gets Office Online integration. Dropbox Business offers some other useful integrations, such as Adobe, Asana, Slack, IFTTT, and DocuSign.
OneDrive, naturally, comes with Office Online integration, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. Business plans also come with Office 365 integration, and you can find many apps on Office Store. Also, ever since OneDrive’s API was opened to developers back in 2015, the range of third-party tools you can use has expanded.
Dropbox or OneDrive? OneDrive for Business takes the cake here.
Dropbox or OneDrive: Ultimately, it’s your choice
OneDrive for Business offers a highly integrated user experience, particularly for businesses that have already been using Microsoft Office products for a long time now and bundles significant cost-cutting alongside it. Much like every decision you make, this one’s no different, and you’ve got to understand the feature and capabilities that are essential for your business.