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OneDrive vs. Dropbox – Which cloud document management solution should you choose?

The way we store and maintain documents has changed significantly over the years. From offices filled with filing cabinets, to the slow transition to digitally stored documents – first on a local server or a local machine – which has reached the end game (for now) of cloud storage.

When it comes to consumer cloud storage solutions, chances are you’ll think of Dropbox and probably OneDrive. Both file hosting services came about in 2007, fighting to be king. Dropbox has always been a standalone product which integrates with a number of services, whilst OneDrive has long been associated with the humble Hotmail account. However, we’re going to focus on the more powerful OneDrive for Business, which comes as part of Office 365 and integrates across the entire suite of Office 365 apps, which many businesses aren’t aware of.

Dropbox is used by consumers and businesses alike; from personal file, photo and video storage, to sharing data with colleagues or third-parties. Until the hack in 2016 that saw 69 million accounts compromised, it was ahead of OneDrive in terms of usage. However, the hack prompted many to reconsider their solutions and now Microsoft OneDrive for Business leads the way for business cloud storage and document management, with 51% of organisations utilising it. Dropbox adoption sits at 34%, level with Google Drive.

Both platforms have their strengths, and you’ll be looking to choose the one most suitable to your business’ needs. Here’s a comparison of OneDrive for Business and Dropbox so you can understand which platform is the one for you.

Price

The number one question in this budget-crunching age: how much will it cost?

Dropbox Business has a couple of pricing options depending on your requirements. For £10-12 per user, per month (depending on how you’re billed), you get 2TB of storage and a number of features including an Office 365 integration, 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption, remote device wipes and live chat support. For £15-18 a month, you get “as much space as needed”, advanced admin controls and phone support.

OneDrive for Business is available through a number of different pricing and plans. The basic standalone package is £3.80 per user, per month. But why would you pay that when for the same price you could get Office 365 Business Essentials, which also includes Skype for Business, Exchange, SharePoint and everyone’s favourite business communication tool, Teams.

If, like pretty much every business in the country, you use the Microsoft Office suite – Word, PowerPoint, Excel et al. – you might want to consider wrapping up your OneDrive solution in an Office 365 package that includes these elements, like Business Premium. This full-blown productivity suite still comes in at a lower price point than Dropbox Business’ cheapest solution.

Security

There’s no denying that Microsoft is a powerhouse in cloud security. From the protections it puts in place to safeguard its datacentres to the admin security features that you can control, Microsoft invests heavily in cyber-security.

OneDrive is no different, with security features that arguably blow the competition out of the water. It has multiple backups of your files on different drives and servers to protect you from hardware failure. You can use Azure Rights Management to encrypt your OneDrive files, rendering them unintelligible in the wrong hands, and you can set sharing limitations; so for example, if your colleagues need to share OneDrive files externally, you can block the third-party recipient from further sharing the documentation.

Trust in Dropbox’s security dropped dramatically when it experienced a hack; an employee’s credentials were compromised, which allowed a hacker to get into their Dropbox and access a file with users’ credentials.

Dropbox reacted to this by beefing up its security, offering 2-factor authentication (2FA) and encrypting its data in transit using AES-265 bit. You can revoke access to any devices that are lost or stolen.

The similarities between OneDrive and Dropbox

As cloud-hosted file storage solutions, there are a number of parallels between OneDrive and Dropbox, as you’d expect. You can share documents and files both internally and externally on both platforms; OneDrive recently expanded its external sharing capabilities, which are now more extensive and wrapped up in thorough security protocols. The apps are compatible with the most popular operating systems including Windows, Apple MAC and iOS and Android.

Both solutions offer version control and the ability to add metadata, ensuring your business is working to one version of the truth. You can set up notifications for document conflicts and resolutions; by saving conflicted versions, you can ensure nobody’s work is overwritten. Finally, both can integrate with Office 365 – although when it comes to the most comprehensive integration, OneDrive beats Dropbox hands-down.

Integrations with Office 365

OneDrive integrates with all applications in the Office 365 productivity suite, from saving your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files automatically to allowing you to collaborate on the same document in real-time. Moreover, OneDrive is built upon SharePoint, affording a level of collaboration that Dropbox simply can’t offer.

Which is better: OneDrive or Dropbox?

The answer to this question depends on your business. Dropbox excels as a cloud storage solution, because that’s what it is first and foremost. Dropbox is strong in its offline offering, so users would always have the latest synced files when going offline. When you get back online, your data is synced to the cloud first, then all computers and devices. Dropbox also excels in syncing files across devices and networks.

OneDrive does also offer offline access to files and syncing, but many argue it works best online; that said, being offline for a period of time won’t prevent you from accessing and editing your files. They’ll simply sync when you’re back online.

Because it’s built on SharePoint, OneDrive is the ideal solution if you’re looking for more than simply file storage. By using OneDrive in conjunction with SharePoint, your productivity applications like Word, and communication tools like Teams, you can collaborate with your colleagues in a much more efficient manner.

As part of your Office 365 solution, you can be sure that OneDrive’s security protocols are the best in the business. What’s more, your IT support team can manage controls like which documents you can and can’t share externally, which isn’t available in Dropbox. In fact, at TSG we’ve issued guidance to staff that prohibits the use of Dropbox in light of GDPR. Because of the risks associated with unknown file shares and our lack of control over external providers like Dropbox, we do this as a preventative measure. Dropbox has been used many times to distribute malware, so better safe than sorry.

Are you using Dropbox or OneDrive? What are the benefits to your business?