Small businesses will soon have another choice for their cloud storage needs. Microsoft recently announced that its cloud storage service OneDrive will be offered as a stand-alone product for business users. But how does it stack up against popular file-hosting service Dropbox?
Formerly called SkyDrive Pro, OneDrive for Business is currently only available as part of the cloud-based productivity suite Office 365 and Web-based collaboration software SharePoint. But starting April 1, small businesses will be able to take advantage of everything OneDrive for Business has to offer, without being locked in to an Office 365 or SharePoint service plan. As a stand-alone product, OneDrive for Business will go head-to-head with Dropbox's business file-hosting service, called Dropbox for Business. To help you decide which option is right for your business, here's a rundown of how the two cloud storage services compare.
Storage and accessibility
If you're looking for tons of storage, Dropbox for Business is the way to go. The service offers a generous initial 1TB of storage, and additional space is available for free. All your files are accessible over the Web, using the Dropbox desktop client or mobile app on the following devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Kindle Fire. [10 Cloud Storage Solutions for Small Business]
In comparison, OneDrive for Business comes with 25 GB of storage per employee, but additional storage will cost you (pricing to be announced). OneDrive is also accessible using a web browser or desktop client, , but mobile access is limited to iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Sharing and collaboration
If you need robust sharing capabilities, you'll like that Dropbox offers several ways to send files of all types and sizes. Users can share documents, large files and entire folders from the Dropbox website, or straight from their desktops and mobile devices. Sharing is done via unique links or by sending invitations that lets others view or download files. Users also have full control over permissions, which allows them to regulate who is allowed to view which files and folders, as well as restrict third-party sharing.
Collaboration, though, is where OneDrive shines. It is fully integrated with Microsoft Office and Office Online (Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Calendar and People), making it easy to share files and collaborate in real time from any location. OneDrive also features automatic version control and file syncing across devices to make sure users always have the latest copies of files and documents.
Cloud-based services are making it easier than ever to manage users and accounts. Dropbox enables team management via the admin console, where administrators can add and remove members, create activity reports, set permissions and access other tools to manage individual users, user groups or the entire organization.
OneDrive, however, is not quite as straightforward. IT administration will depend on whether the service is purchased as part of Office 365, SharePoint or the upcoming stand-alone plan.
If you use different types of business apps, Dropbox is the clear winner. It integrates with more than 100,000 business apps, so you can work better using your preferred tools, wherever you are. Compatible third-party apps include communication gateways Mailbox, Yahoo Mail and Cisco WebEx; document management services CloudOn, Notability and HelloSign; productivity tools Smartsheet, IFTTT, Wufoo and Nimble; and project management apps like Asana, Producteev and Trello.
OneDrive currently does not integrate with third-party business apps. Nonetheless, businesses that primarily rely on Microsoft Office will find that OneDrive's Office-centric functionality is all they need in a cloud storage solution.
Security should be a top priority for any cloud storage provider, and that's the case for both Dropbox and OneDrive. Industry certifications, compliance, at-rest and in-transit encryption, SSL, remote wipe (if a device gets lost or stolen) and company information privacy are all standard on Dropbox. Dropbox also takes authentication seriously — the service offers two-step verification (password and phone) as well as integration with a business's trusted identity provider, such as Ping Identity, OneLogin, Okta and Centrify.
OneDrive has the edge, though, for going one step further. In addition to secure storage, sharing and collaboration, it features audit reporting capabilities, e-discovery and data preservation, and compliance with high-level industry standards like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Buy American Act (BAA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and EU Model clauses.
Dropbox for Business starts at $15 a month per user for a minimum of five users. It includes priority email support and phone support. A 14-day free trial is also available, which includes full access to all of Dropbox for Business' features.
OneDrive for Business is priced at $1.50 per user per month for Office 365 and SharePoint customers. The stand-alone version will be available starting April 1, 2014, for the promotional price of $2.50 per user per month.
Originally published on Business News Daily.