What is the Best File Storage Solution for Your Small BusinessRamon Ray
- Dropbox – Upgrade to Dropbox Pro for $9.99/month or $99.99 per year to get 1TB of storage OR upgrade to Dropbox Business for $15/month/user to get 1TB or more of storage.
- Google Drive – The ability to purchase extra storage on a monthly storage plan – $1.99 for 100GB, $9.99 for 1TB, with larger storage monthly rates available as well.
- OneDrive – The ability to purchase extra storage on a monthly plan – $1.99 for 100GB, $3.99 for 200GB and $6.99 for 1TB (also comes with Office 365 free).
From these prices we see that if you need a smaller amount of extra space, Google Drive or OneDrive are good options, allowing for a small monthly fee of $1.99 for an extra 100GB, with OneDrive also offering a 200GB plan. Dropbox only has paid plans for 1TB of storage. When we compare the cloud storage prices across the 1TB plan, OneDrive offers the lowest prices ($6.99/month or $83.88/year), and while Google Drive and Dropbox are tied at $9.99, you can get a discount at Dropbox by purchasing a monthly plan. Dropbox also offers the unique feature of a business plan.
Full Text Search
- Dropbox recently announced full text search; however the feature is only available for the Dropbox for Business ($15/month/user) plan
- Google Drive – As the “king” of all search engines, the Google Drive is equipped with full text search as well as a number of advanced search options
- OneDrive does not have full text search. At the present time you can only search by file name. The suggestion to add full text search has been added in the OneDrive forums, and a Microsoft administrator says they’re currently “working on it.”
It probably comes as little surprise that Google has the best search options available from the three cloud storage platforms we’re exploring. Dropbox’s offering of full text search for business plans was quite recent, and perhaps indicates that all cloud storage solutions are moving in that direction. Whether full text search remains as a feature for paid plans only, or moves on to include free plans, remains to be seen.
- Dropbox – If you’re using the desktop app, Dropbox will constantly be checking for file changes and automatically syncing when changes are detected. The mobile app syncs on demand only, in order to conserve bandwidth and space
- Google Drive – The Google Drive app will automatically sync to the “My Drive” section of Google Drive on the web. There are also options to turn off sync, to sync individual files and to sync items that are not currently in your My Drive folder.
- OneDrive – The OneDrive will automatically sync across devices and computers. There are also ways to redirect folders to your OneDrive folder and select files that you do not want to sync. When you have the OneDrive desktop app you can also access all files on your PC remotely.
All three cloud storage options allow for automatic syncing, so your folder is up to date across all devices. Microsoft’s ‘Fetch’ feature, which allows you to access your PC, is a helpful addition because it gives you access to files you may have forgot to place in your OneDrive folder.
- Dropbox allows you to share files with others in order to collaborate on projects; however only Dropbox Pro and Dropbox for Business paid plans allow you to decide if someone can edit or just view the file. Dropbox also allows you to share files with people who do not have Dropbox by getting a link to the file or folder.
- Google Drive – When you share files using Google Drive you can choose the type of access granted, including ‘can edit,’ ‘can comment,’ and ‘can view.’ You can also share files with non-Google Drive users by sending a link or an email attachment.
- OneDrive also allows you to share files with other OneDrive users or links with non-users. The ‘Invite People’ option gives you the opportunity to change permission level (view or edit), and for added security there is an option that requires the recipient to sign in to their Microsoft account every time they access the file, to prevent unauthorized people from accessing the document.
The option to designate permission levels, such as ‘view’ and ‘edit’ give Google Drive and OneDrive a lead over Dropbox, which only gives this option to paid Pro or Business users. It should also be noted that all three cloud storage platforms allow you to revoke file sharing permission if desired.
Summary by Cloud Storage Service
- Dropbox – Dropbox can be a good option for free users who (a) can work with the 2GB storage space or (b) don’t mind doing extra tasks and referrals to get additional space (up to 16GB extra). The free service falls short after that because features such as full text search and the ability to assign permissions when sharing files are only available for paid subscribers. If you’re looking to become a paid subscriber, Dropbox may be a great option for you. The yearly subscription is less expensive than Google Drive, and they have a unique subscription plan for businesses that is not found on the other platforms.
- Google Drive – Google Drive comes with quite a bit of free space – 15GB – but this is perhaps deceivingly large, since that storage space also includes your Gmail and Google+ Photo space. With no options to increase your free space, you may end up needing a monthly subscription, and 1TB of data costs more than the other two cloud storage options featured here. That said, Google Drive has the best file searching capabilities and great file sharing settings including ‘view,’ ‘edit,’ and even a unique ‘comment’ option.
- Microsoft OneDrive – OneDrive is a good option for both free and paid users. Although available by download, it comes automatically with Windows 8 versions, making it ready and accessible for many PC owners. The amount of free space, with or without additional referrals, is the most generous of all three cloud storage options we looked at, and the paid plans are also priced the lowest. One drawback is the lack of a full text search option, but it also comes with added benefits, such as the ability to ‘fetch’ other documents from your desktop remotely.