Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Box vs. SkyDrive vs. SkyDrive Pro

Jul 3, 2013 Cloud Mark Gordon

**UPDATED on 8/28/13** - Microsoft announced an increase in storage for SkyDrive Pro on 8/26/13. See below for more information.

Over the last decade, internet connections have gotten significantly faster, an order of magnitude faster in many cases. This has made remote storage and retrieval of even relatively large files and directories possible. In the last few years, use of remote file storage solutions has taken off. You are more than likely using one yourself. There is money to be made in cloud storage, and today there are a host of cloud storage solutions available that allow you to back up and share files with others, as well as between your own machines. Most of these services offer some level of storage for free and allow you to add more storage for a price.

But just a few are capturing the majority of the marketplace, among them Dropbox, Google Drive, box, and SkyDrive. Below is a survey of what they have to offer and what you may not know about them.

Dropbox

 Offering:

  • Cloud-based file storage with the ability to share
  • Soon will allow integrated authentication with Active Directory

Best Qualities:

  • 2 GB free personal storage
  • Simplicity of interface
  • Ease of sign-up and installation
  • The name Dropbox has become nearly synonymous with cloud file storage and sharing

 Limitations:

  • Designed as a consumer/personal solution
  • Not a collaboration solution
  • No corporate control of document sharing or retention in personal accounts
  • No auditing, legal discovery in personal accounts
  • No ability to host sensitive files on premise--US Government can blind subpoena your data at any time
  • No full text search

Cautions:

  • Dropbox has gone viral giving users extra storage for signing up their friends. With so many people using Dropbox with their friends today, your corporate files are most likely up here without any controls unless you have implemented another solution for your users.

Google Drive

Offering:

  • Cloud-based file storage built into the Google universe
  • Integrated with Google Apps

Best Qualities:

  • Free 5 GB personal storage
  • Online readers for rendering many types of files in your browser
  • Online Editors for Office documents
  • Integration with other Google offerings like Gmail

Limitations:

  • Designed as a consumer/personal solution
  • Online editing is not full fidelity and documents may not look the way you expect on the desktop after editing
  • No corporate control of document sharing or retention in personal accounts
  • No auditing, legal discovery in personal accounts
  • No ability to host sensitive files on premise--US Government can blind subpoena your data at any time

Cautions:

  • Google's user agreement states that they have the right to scan all your content and sell information about you to anyone. They also reserve the right to create derivative works based on files or documents you put in Google Drive

Box

Offering:

  • Cloud-based collaboration suite

Best Qualities:

  • Designed for business
  • Good set of collaboration tools
  • Similar in many ways to SharePoint

Limitations:

  • Expensive
  • Separate set of collaboration tools to learn and manage if your people are used to Office and SharePoint
  • No ability to host sensitive files on premise--US Government can blind subpoena your data at any time

Cautions:

  • Box is an all-or-nothing solution. If you have sensitive data, you cannot host it on premise and integrate it into your corporate Box environment
  • When implementing any corporate collaboration solution, you should plan before you deploy

SkyDrive

Offering:

  • Cloud-based file storage built into the Microsoft universe
  • Integrated with Outlook.com

Best Qualities:

  • Free 7 GB personal storage
  • Online readers for rendering many types of files in your browser
  • Full fidelity of online editors for Office documents
  • Integration with other Microsoft offerings
  • Microsoft user privacy agreement gives you full ownership of your files and documents; Microsoft does not scan them or sell data about you

Limitations:

  • Designed as a consumer/personal solution
  • No corporate control of document sharing or retention in personal accounts
  • No auditing, legal discovery in personal accounts
  • No ability to host sensitive files on premise--US Government can blind subpoena your data at any time
  • No full text search

Cautions:

  • Even though Microsoft is not reading your documents, the US Government legally can

SkyDrive Pro

Offering:

  • Corporate file management solution
  • Integrated with SharePoint 2013

Best Qualities:

  • Low cost, SkyDrive Pro comes as part of the complete SharePoint Online subscription which is $3.00 user/month
  • 25 GB per person as part of SharePoint Online, up to 100 GB each available (as of 8/26/13)
  • Ability to host Online, On-Premises or Hybrid with seamless user experience
  • Online readers for rendering many types of files in your browser
  • Full text search of your content with refinements
  • Online editors for Office documents
  • Full integration with Office and Windows
  • Granular control and monitoring of documents
      • No sharing, corporate sharing or external sharing
      • Full auditing of read, edit, search, etc.
      • Legal hold and discovery
      • Retention policies
  • No ability for US Government to blind subpoena your sensitive documents from on premise or hybrid environments

Limitations:

  • No free option

Cautions:

  • When implementing any corporate collaboration solution, you should plan before you deploy

The table below gives you an idea of the range of the services available:

cloud storage options


 

 

Posted in: Cloud

Topics: Cloud SkyDrive

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