click here for dropbox reviews
WHO IT’S FOR: Individuals, small businesses or collaborative teams in larger corporations who want to easily share files with others or access files from different locations or platforms. Dropbox works for individuals or teams who need an easy way to back up, access and share files via the web.
WHAT IT IS: A file synchronization service that also does online backup. File synchronization ensures that files across computers are automatically updated when any changes are made through any device so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Dropbox supports PCs (Windows, Mac and Linux) as well as iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and Android smartphones. Dropbox also easily allows files to be shared with others so teams can collaborate on files.
THE GOOD: Extremely easy to use, with an excellent set of features. Dropbox is also an extremely easy collaboration tool for teams. Pricing is also extremely reasonable.
THE BAD: No phone support ever and slow turn around via email support, making this entirely a self-service offering. Also, everything in the Dropbox folder automatically syncs across all devices, which can be a problem if you are using the Dropbox app on your smartphone and have limited storage capacity on that device.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If your main concern is file synchronization, sharing and collaboration, this is a strong contender. Since over 20 million people have adopted Dropbox, it is clearly winning on ease of use and price.
Dropbox has two key versions: Dropbox and Dropbox for Teams which is targeting business users. We will review both offerings.
Pricing: The standard version of Dropbox provides users with 2GB of free storage space, so you can get up and running immediately. There is nothing between the 2GB, 50GB and 100GB levels, although Dropbox forums show many users requesting 20G or 30G options. Users can earn extra space by referring others to Dropbox (free accounts earn 250MB per referral and paid accounts earn 500MB per referral, up to 16G of extra space).
||Price Per Month
|up to 2GB
|2GB to 50 GB
|50GB to 100GB
Support: Dropbox offers a lot of self-service support options, including a video tour of its features, forums to talk with Dropbox staff and other Dropbox users, a Dropbox Wiki, and an active blog, as well as email support. However, they do not offer any phone support.
Setup: After downloading and and installing the program, a Dropbox folder appears in your computer’s list of folders. All documents you want to be backed up must be dragged and dropped directly into the Dropbox folder. If you want your entire computer’s data to be backed up on Dropbox, you need to manually move all folders into the Dropbox folder. Fortunately, Dropbox allows an unlimited amount of subfolders to be created within it. Users have to install the application on all devices they want to use with Dropbox, including PCs and smartphones. There are different versions to download depending on the device, but all are available on the Dropbox website. After download, the application sits on the menu bar of your device. Once Dropbox is setup properly, all files dragged to the Dropbox folder will be synced with the remote servers that store the data, as well as with any machines or smartphones on your account.
How it works: Dropbox works flawlessly with Windows, Mac and Linux systems, and supports all major Internet browsers. The key to properly setting up Dropbox is that everything has to be manually dragged and dropped into the Dropbox folder on your list of folders to be backed up. In addition, everything in the Dropbox folder is automatically synced to all devices on your account. Dropbox works across platforms, meaning that it can back up and sync from both Macs and PCs.
Sharing and collaboration are very easy with Dropbox; users can set up public folders to link directly to files in the Dropbox, and can control who has access to these shared folders. To share, create a new folder for the items you wish to share, add items to the folder, and enter email addresses of people you want to have access to this folder. Dropbox then sends these individuals an invitation to link to your files. This can be done via PC or smartphone. Changes made by anyone in the group are seen immediately by anyone that has access to the shared folder. Inviting people to your shared folder is also a particularly helpful way to share large files.
On the backup side, Dropbox syncs changes made to documents while offline once the device is again online, and only changed data is backed up instead of the entire file. Users can undelete files and folders, and restore previous versions of files within 30 days of being deleted. If you pay extra, you can get expanded coverage, which keeps all file revisions indefinitely.
Users also can set Dropbox up to sync applications by setting up the capability on all applicable machines or smartphones. This is a little more complicated than setting Dropbox up to sync files, but it’s a useful feature.
Dropbox for Teams
For more robust business needs, consider Dropbox for Teams. The most basic package includes five user licenses and 350GB of shared storage for $795 per year. Each additional user is $125 per year, and extra storage is $200 per 100GB per year. No contract is required for Dropbox for Teams and scalability in terms of number of users and amount of storage is unlimited.
Dropbox for Teams is a great solution for small and mid-sized businesses. It is designed for businesses to securely manage its employee’s data with ease and depth of functionality. Some important features of Dropbox for Teams include:
- An admin interface that allows user access to be managed and monitored. The admin can remove users from shared folders and wipe the users’ local machine of any documents that were in the shared folder. The admin can also set individual user storage limits, manage passwords, monitor how much storage each user is using and how active they are with opening and creating documents.
- Dropbox Rewind allows companies to rewind to any point in the company’s history with Dropbox for Teams, as they have saved every version ever created of every document since the beginning of the company using Dropbox for Teams. This is an extremely important and valuable feature for any corporate environment.
- The storage quota applies to all documents owned by all members of the team, and shared folders are not double counted as data used by each individual (which is what happens when shared folders are used with the standard version of Dropbox).
Security and Privacy: Dropbox transmits data over an encrypted channel using industry-standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and all files are encrypted with 256 bit AES encryption. Public files can only be viewed by approved people and public folders aren’t browsable or searchable. Dropbox uses Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) to store all files.
Comparison to similar products: Dropbox stands alone in this group as primarily a file synchronization tool, with online backup being a secondary, although important, feature. The introduction of Dropbox for Teams has allowed the company to step up its game in catering to small and mid-sized businesses with an easy to use, well-priced online storage option.
Conclusions: Dropbox provides best-in-class file synchronization and collaboration features, with acceptable online backup features. Since over 20 million people have adopted Dropbox, it is clearly an easy to use winner.