Backing up your information (whether for organizational/personal use) used to be relegated to dusty and worn-out files, piled up in a dilapidated records room. With Dropbox and its alternatives, gone are the days when we were fearful about the possibility that files could be destroyed by environmental hazards.
When we now refer to files here, we mean more than just word documents. It includes, but is not limited to, audio, images, graphics, and video formats.
Nowadays, software developments coupled with high-speed internet ubiquity have brought unprecedented ease in sharing, storing, and collaborating on files. Let us dive more into online storage solutions available in the market.
Terms Used for Dropbox Alternatives (To help you Research)
To speed up your research on virtual data backing, organizing, editing, and sharing, the terms used for this process are “cloud-based storage” and “cloud content collaboration platforms.” Here are their definitions:
According to Webopedia, cloud storage is, “the collection of multiple distributed and connected resources responsible for storing and managing data online in the cloud.”
Gartner defines cloud content collaboration software as “dedicated cloud storage and file sharing solutions for documents, images, videos, spreadsheets, and other files created and used by a business. They allow users to easily store, share, create, collaborate on, and find content within the system and are available from multiple types of devices.”
You can look up these terms to get a better idea of Dropbox alternatives.
But before we begin, let's first look at what Dropbox has to offer and why to look for alternatives in the first place.
Dropbox | Pros and Cons
Dropbox is one of the most commonplace cloud storage platforms, which offers 2 GB of free storage once you create an account and pricing plans offer storage capacities from 2 TB and more. Customers can store all their files in one place being able to access them from all their devices.
Through integration with the Microsoft Office suite, you can work together with teams to edit documents and other media files. Users can be involved in project management and note-taking, informing one another about progress and to-do lists.
Dropbox allows for integration with to-do list apps (Trello, Salesforce, and Zapier) and communication tools (Gmail, Slack, and Outlook). Using version history, you get to see which documents and files are being worked by whom and leave comments accordingly.
Limitations of Dropbox
The main reason for discussing Dropbox alternatives is its security concerns. Lost or stolen devices can be tapped by unauthorized people gaining access to a confidential database. There are no controls given to the users such as remote asset disposition, password protection, or link expiration period to prevent subsequent sharing.
Users complain that when file sharing goes beyond the threshold, collaboration also gets halted for days. The system is unable to configure which files are causing the problem, further adding to the frustrations.
As more people get added, the straightforward folder organization method leads to pile ups, it becomes gradually complicated to make sense of where the stray files and folders belong.
But we must be honest with ourselves. It served as a solution to a common problem: sharing files outside of emails or expensive servers. Yet, we push the boundaries with this simple software by forcing it into areas it was not built for.
However, there are other options with secure sharing which may be better suited to those organizations that deal with large video sizes. They usually handle sensitive information not privy to the public, on a day-to-day basis. Some sectors that fit such nature of business can be healthtech, education, media, law firms, and law enforcement agencies (especially for video evidence management).
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS)
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is specifically designed for managing and sharing evidence files. It offers detailed sharing and access management capabilities to ensure evidence files are accessed by those that are authorized to do so, while keeping it safe from external attacks.
In addition to searching your video library, you can search “within the footage” to jump to a specific part. When it comes to sharing videos, secure sharing can be done based on the authentication controls you assign to each external receiver.
One of the major distinctions you will find between VIDIZMO and Dropbox is custom link sharing. Unlike in Dropbox where you need to delete files to restrict access to others, and unfortunately to yourself, VIDIZMO DEMS provides the ability to create multiple link versions to the files and expire them as you wish.
You can decide from a single video file who can edit the files, view a certain number of times, or have limited time to access them. All of these can be done while keeping your files in storage. Also, internal communications can be narrowed down to department and personnel level.
One should never share sensitive project files from personal accounts. When it comes to who owns the project files, the user of the personal account basically “owns” it. This creates 2 problems: employees can make unauthorized use of multiple copies, and other users will no longer be able to access them after an employee’s resignation.
With a litany of video formats requiring separate media players, you may be wondering how much compatibility this one has to offer? Supporting 255+ video formats with recordings coming from a myriad of capturing sources like body cams, dash cams, CCTV footage, drone cams, smartphones etc. VIDIZMO offers a comprehensive Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS).
VIDIZMO DEMS allows hosting of data on public cloud (AWS or Azure, or on-premises storage, and hybrid models depending on each client’s risk averseness for managing sensitive information. These models comply with Criminal Justice Information System, US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and other compliance regimes.
With a robust AI, evidence videos are transcribed to provide rapid searchability and automatic detection of faces, objects, license plates and audio to generate smart tags. Automatic redaction is also present to conceal Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and meet privacy requirements as per GDPR and HIPPA region and country-specific data privacy laws. Through custom categorization, evidence can be organized based on investigator/officer, case type, specific artifacts found within videos, geospatial mapping data, and other identifiers.
You can customize your DEMS portal to match your branding needs through custom CSS. It streamlines the workflow from content ingestion, management of digital files, to analysis and presentation in the court proceedings helping public safety officials deliver swift justice.
Google Drive offers free 15 GB online storage. If you are looking for larger space, you can either buy more within Drive or subscribe to Google One to receive a monthly plan of 100 GB storage with a feature to add additional people to your plan.
With an internet connection, you can synchronize all your devices wherever you may be. By setting up Google Backup and Sync, files get backed up automatically from your computer or smartphones.
Also, if there is a concern that you are using Google Drive while others in the office are using Microsoft Office, Drive has office tools suite (Docs for word processor, Sheets for spreadsheets, and Slides for presentations) to make edits in real-time and use Office files without any hassles.
If you wish to keep documents and photos separate (without folders and wasting space), Google Photos can be used to store photos. Being integrated with Gmail, one of the valuable features which many may not know is you can save email attachments to Google Drive to access them later from a separate device.
It also offers users View and Edit controls before sending a shareable link. This means that with the same link, you can choose which person can view the files and which person can make changes to the files.
Microsoft OneDrive offers easy integration with Office 365 suite. It offers free 15GB storage and if you subscribe to Microsoft 365, then you get 1 TB of storage (i.e. 1024 GB); more space can be bought if organizations are frequently working on large media files.
Since businesses inadvertently upload and store sensitive information, people with the access link may be able to leak out information to the unauthorized person or share on social media. OneDrive for Business combats this issue through restrictive access. Like Google Drive, it has a View and Edit feature providing limited controls at your discretion.
Moreover, you can set passwords on files and set expiration dates to give others a limited time to view files. To maintain a single working version of a particular file, OneDrive offers coauthoring in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with a notification feature when colleagues have made changes to any files.
Another feature that is valuable in terms of security is Microsoft Advance Threat Protection (ATP). Available with a business/enterprise account, it helps Microsoft 365 administrators look for malicious content. To avoid cybersecurity threats, administrators lock the files to prevent users from copying, moving and sharing.
Depending on the plan, Tresorit users receive from 200GB to 1 TB of space. It uses automatic end-to-end encryption to secure confidential information in your account. Unlike Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, it uses a system known as zero-knowledge that figures out the authenticity of an item of information without sharing it with somebody.
Without compromising security, it ensures the same level on multiple platforms like Microsoft, Linux, Android, and iOS. In case your device is lost or stolen, the cloud storage offers a remote wipe to remove all synced files the next time you sign in.
Advanced Link Tracking helps businesses to check their content lifecycle and see insights by checking how to link visitors engage with it. In a situation where the file link is sent to the wrong recipient, the link revoking feature saves the day by making the download page unavailable to the public.
Egnyte Office and Enterprise plan give 5TB and 10TB of space by default, respectively. It conveniently integrates with third-party apps with a neatly laid out interface covering aspects like tracking file sharing, types of permissions available to employees/teams, storage level, recent file activity, and more.
Another nifty feature, which is uncommon across alternative platforms, is the granular sub-folder file-level permissions. This puts administrators in a situation to selectively grant access by blocking inheritance. Turning off inheritance means changes to the parent folder permissions do not affect subfolders.
You will notice in Dropbox that as you reach the storage limit, even if your business is small-scaled, new devices (computers or phones added to the network) will have to wait several hours (even days) to successfully synchronize, leading to data loss or corruption. This hampers bandwidth access and because RAM is used while synching takes place, entire computer performance slows down as well.
The Personal Local Cloud is an optional feature that helps users to be productive by providing offline access to content, while working with large files or in areas with low connectivity. While Egnyte Connect is a service for cloud storage and file management, Egnyte Protect focuses on enforcing regulatory compliance.
It gives numerous pre-built classification patterns for GDPR, HIPPA, other industry and global privacy regulations for businesses that are looking for enterprise-level cloud-based solutions.
The Personal Plan starts with 10GB storage for free, while the paid versions provide unlimited storage, capable of storing extensive graphic-intensive libraries such as video evidence and higher resolution images.
The Enterprise version has HIPAA/FedRAMP compliance, with Box Zones to cater to country-specific data residency requirements and customer-data privacy concerns so that any business across the globe can overcome the barrier to cloud adoption. The Box offers effortless offline syncing, better workflow automation, and smooth content interaction using Box View.
To be in control of content management, granular level file permissions and sharing options, the Admin Console gives configuration to access policies without losing employee productivity.
If a person mistakenly removes, edits files, or sends an incorrect link, Box saves earlier versions with content-stay and transit encryption keys to ensure protection of sensitive information. With Shield’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and custom classification based on your business policies, you can receive and evaluate alerts on malicious threats and unauthorized access.
Also, the automatic content disposition ensures that the burden and costs associated with Subject Access Requests (SAR) are minimized.
Mega’s free account gives users 15 GB of storage, while payment options give from 400 GB to unlimited storage. Keep in mind that when uploading large files, you can only do 1 GB at max every 6 hours.
Contents stored within Mega cloud storage are also based on zero knowledge encryption, ensuring that a strong password will protect customers from being hacked. In addition, there is a two-layer authentication security with TOTP time-based sharing method to prevent unauthorized/fraudulent access.
At any time, users can delete the link to remove access to certain files and folders. What sets MEGA apart is teams can communicate with one another using Megachat to do chat, voice, or video calls.
In keeping communication secure, features like QR Code support, SMS verification, history retention control, and contact’s cryptographic fingerprinting are present. It even allows file sharing with those who do not have a Mega account.