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January 13, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:11pm

5 Dropbox alternatives for the small business

With the recent Dropbox outage, CBR looks at what other cloud storage solutions are out there.

By Ben Sullivan

This weekend, the Dropbox website suffered an outage that was originally claimed to be a result of a hacker DDOS attack.

Dropbox has refuted that claim, saying that the real cause was an OS upgrade to some servers.

"Unfortunately, a bug installed this upgrade on several active servers, which brought down the entire service," said Aditya Agarwal, VP of engineering, in a post on the Dropbox blog.

"Your files were always safe, and despite some reports, no hacking or DDoS attack was involved."

Even if the claims from hacker groups were hoaxes, the fact that Dropbox did suffer a website outage still highlights problems that customers just shouldn’t be having with such a service.

The cloud storage firm has a history of slip ups that could have potentially cost customers much more than money. Password breaches were followed by some businesses issuing mandates to employees to stop using the service. Before that, Dropbox’s password authentication service went down for a few hours, letting anybody log in to any accounts with any password!

This is the kind of security issue you just can’t allow to happen if you’re any kind of business, so CBR gives you five top Dropbox alternatives if you feel the need to migrate your cloud storage solution.

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Google Drive

Google’s very own cloud storage solution, Google Drive is a slick looking platform with built in services like Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Although the initial 15GB storage actually counts for Gmail and photos you’ve stored in Google+ as well, the pricing still isn’t that bad. There is a 16TB storage option but that could cost you $10,000 a year.

Google Drive also has a downloable client, making it easy to drag and drop files when not on a web browser, and also supports a whole host of third party add-ons.

One downside is that by using Google Drive, you may be susceptible to NSA snooping. Google openly denies this:"I’m not sure I can say this more clearly: We’re not in cahoots with the NSA," says David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer.

But for small businesses, there’s no black marks in Drive’s security history, and you can also encrypt and password-protect your personal files.


A simple platform from Microsoft, Windows SkyDrive gives you 25GB of free storage and integrates with Windows Live Mail and other Live services like the online version of Office. It then goes up to 27GB £6 per year per user, 57GB £16 per year per user, 100GB £32 per year per user.

The platgform is now upgraded for optimized use with Windows 8, and works well on this platform across PCs, tablets and smartphones. There is the corresponding PC and phone apps, and it’s now heavily tied to Office 2013 which is a major plus for companies using that.

Office files stored on SkyDrive can be viewed and edited from within the browser, and you can save files straight to SkyDrive, unlike the fiddling you have to do with files with Google Drive.

SkyDrive uses SSL to encrypt files during transport, but files are unencrypted once sitting in Microsoft’s servers.


With a Box business plan you can start off with 1TB of storage space that can be shared up over 500 users, with a maximum individual file limit of 2GB.

This also includes a comprehensive admin panel where you can add or remove users, monitor uploads and assign rights to certain folders.

Box makes it fairly easy to assign tasks to certain files for colleagues, and Box is fastly becoming more of a cloud workflow solution rather than just storage.

Other features include versioning (with a full version history), the ability to lock files against further versions or editing, and mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry, allowing you to view and comment on files while on the move.

Box supports SSL encypted transfers and files are actually encrypted whilst at rest.

The business plan is a bit more expensive that rivals, coming in at £11.99 per user per month, but is well worth a look because of its admin options.





SpiderOak brings a fairly secure storage solution, perfect for dealing with sensitive business information. Whilst other storage providers encrypt your data while you’re uploading it and stores it encrypted on their servers as well, SpiderOak lets you create your password on your own computer and keep it there, so company staff can’t use it to decrypt your data.

You only get 2GB free storage but with the ‘Hosted Storage’ solution, SpiderOak charges for the space consumed. Its pricing structure works in 1 TB increments which are priced at $600 per TB per month.

You may allocate up to 100 individual accounts per TB of data stored; in other words, the minimum allocated storage for each end-user account must be 10 GB.

BitTorrent Sync

This one’s a little unusual, but BitTorrent Sync is not like Dropbox at all.

There’s no central cloud server, and files are synced peer-to-peer, meaning you get some options that wouldn’t normally come with a standard storage provider.

File transfers are encrypted with keys that are stored with the user, plus any folder on your computer can be synced. Each folder gets its own encryption key and each folder can be shared with full privileges or read-only privileges.

Whilst fast and incredibly secure, you really need at least two computers to get this one running, and at least on of those machines needs to be always on and connected to the web.









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