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Top 3 File Sharing Software: Comparison of Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box

Category: B2B News
What is the best file sharing software solution on the market?

The best file sharing software solution is Dropbox Business due to its capability to help streamline business operations, aside from providing a centralized location to better store, access, and share documents and other important files. It is designed to help you gain total control over your critical company files and user activity.

With the demand for cloud-based technology expected to reach $390 billion by 2020, you can expect that plenty of your transactions and operational processes will be happening online in the near future. That said, you will need a reliable platform through which you can securely transfer, store, and archive your confidential company files. This is where file sharing tools come in. These software solutions serve as hubs where you can keep documents easily accessible for better team collaboration and transparency while keeping them safe from unauthorized individuals or online threats.

If you’re looking for the best file sharing software solution to help your company exchange files in a simplified and secure manner, we’ve got you covered. Our team of B2B professionals prepared a detailed comparison of popular file-sharing products and market leaders and analyzed their performance in various scenarios. Hopefully, with this guide, you can find the best service for your company needs.

file sharing software

Gone are the days when piles of paper cluttered office desks, hampering employee productivity and disrupting your office organization. With the increasing number of file sharing software solutions, you can simply take your pick of software and instantly transfer and store your documents on the cloud. By doing so, you can make your files easily accessible yet secure from prying eyes. Moreover, you can reduce paper waste in your workplace and even save a buck or two on ink and paper. It will also allow you to leverage the cloud for more efficiency.

According to the Secure File Transfer Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023, the file sharing technology market will grow to a whopping $1.6 billion by 2023. In addition, it is also evolving as a form of communication preference among professionals. As you can see on the table provided, while the majority are still using email (72%), phone (60%), instant messaging (35%), and video conferencing (19%), a good 16% have turned to file sharing services for disseminating information. This only goes to show that there are plenty of ways through which you can use these systems for your operations.

Source: 2018 Adobe Consumer Email Survey

With these benefits, why wouldn’t you invest in these solutions? To help you get started, we will be comparing the top 3 file sharing platforms on the market: Dropbox Business, Google Drive, and Box. However, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of dissecting their similarities and differences, let us first give you an overview of these products. This way, you’ll get a better idea of their infrastructures, features, and the kind of services you can get from the vendor. In case you want more options than our top platforms, you can also check out our list of 20 best file sharing solutions for 2019.

1. Dropbox Business

Dropbox Business is one of the perennial leaders in the file-sharing software market that has recently pushed its way to gain the top of our list. Overall, the Dropbox suite offers off-server storage and files sharing capabilities and can be managed from multiple devices, as our detailed Dropbox Business explain. Dropbox Business certainly deserves to be considered as a prime choice among file transfer platforms in the market today, mainly because millions of businesses throughout the world use it to help them stay organized and keep their business data protected.

Dropbox Business is an affordable and smart solution, offering automated updates, backup, device syncing, and secure sharing. While its free version continues to be a popular choice among individual and light users, this premium version is the file-sharing platform of choice of some of the top global organizations, including National Geographic, MacMillan, Yahoo!, and Hyatt, including SMBs and startups. Its developers thought of a plethora of business-tailored and innovative features to deliver a professional package that over 300,000 teams use in their work. Among its other features, you can also find offline access, large file sharing, and enjoy a respectable degree of settings customization.

2. Google Drive

Google Drive is often neglected as a business solution, in particular when it comes to large enterprises which are not aware of the platform’s unlimited sharing capabilities. Our B2B experts’ team took the matter in their hands and emphasized the product’s business suitability in their Google Drive.

Google Drive is powerful, to say the least. Unlike the individual package covering 15GB of storage space, the business plans vary from $1.99 to $299, depending on how many files you intend to share. There are many file transfer aspects where it can confidently claim a leadership position, most of all its heavy connection to similar Google services, automated long-term monitoring, updates, and data protection. Just as the leaders in this category, Google Drive is a cloud-based application, meaning that you can access it and manage data from literally every device. For a developing business, this would mean unlimited internal and external collaboration, and access to a powerful Google Hangouts integration to allow notes and file discussions. In fact, we’re quite convinced it is integration you must consider first when deciding whether to purchase your enterprise Google Drive package.

3. Box

Completing this list of top 3 cloud storage solutions is Box, another leading platform that is more popular among information technology firms and IT departments as it is designed to help build a digital-ready business to better compete in today’s high-technology market. With top-tier features, security, and usability, this platform enables work teams to achieve effective collaboration as members can readily access, alter, share, and give feedback on important business files over the cloud using any device.

Created to address the demands of the huge technology market, Box provides innovative tools and seamless integration with popular apps to ensure that all shared content—videos, images, documents, etc.—drive productivity of users and efficiently support the needs of today’s digital workplace. This wide array of functionalities are protected with Box’s enterprise-grade security to give you that peace of mind and allow you to focus more on things that matter most to you and your staff. Some of its big-name clients include AstraZeneca, GE, and FICO.

1. File Sharing Features

File sharing is the primary function of these products which dictates the channels, speed, and security of the delivery, and that’s why buyers need to be really specific as to what they’re looking for and compare all products closely. In this section, our experts once again agreed in selecting Dropbox Business, long-considered de facto online storage platform as it provides the most advanced functionalities and much, much more compared to Google Drive and Box.

Sharing files in Dropbox Business is simple, yet robust and secure.

True to its clean and simple interface, Dropbox Business simplifies the file transfer process by allowing users to upload up to 5GB of content and organize it in folders using a practical drag-and-drop widget. With this platform, you will automatically have access to your local documents, but will also be able to upload web-based content. Its robust Admin user console allows fast and automated selection of files/folders, memorizes actions, and syncs automatically the files from the local device. Dropbox Business offers best-in-class sync technology, simple and secure sharing, anywhere/anytime access, and top-tier SSL/TLS encryption and 256-bit AES.

Google Drive, as fast and secure as it is, can also be configured to sync files automatically and is completely dependent on its email integration to allow you to upload your documents. Box also fares positively in this regard as it offers easy yet secured document sharing, permissions-setting to enable secured sharing of important files, and Box View’s seamless contect interaction.

2. Storage Capacity

When it comes to storage, the comparison goes deeper than simply examining how many files can be attached in each database. Our experts evaluated the storage locations, methods, and longevity, and paid specific attention to the availability of a functional search filter.

Once again, it was a matter of nuances to determine that one app is better than the other as all of these three file sharing solutions offer unlimited storage in their most premium plans but with variations in pricing and other related features. Even here, we decided on Dropbox, and there are a few specific reasons for that. Dropbox Business’ storage power starts from an already massive 3TB of space in its standard plan (at $12.50 per user a month), while its Advanced plan (at $20 per user a month) offers as much storage space as required by your team. As for the search filters, all three apps have fully searchable databases, but a slight advantage leans again in the Dropbox Business direction, as the app allows you to organize and tag content with dynamic watermarking in order to find it easily.

Dropbox Business offers an unlimited storage capacity to accommodate all of your documents.

As mentioned, Box also offers unlimited storage but with higher pricing schemes compared to Dropbox Business. You can store all types of files online and readily access them from any device 24/7, anywhere. Its Starter plan offers 100GB storage capacity at $5.80 per user a month, while its Business Plus plan with unlimited storage is at $28.70 per user a month.

Google Drive (via its recently rebranded Google One) offers 100GB of additional storage for its basic plan at $1.99/user/month, 200GB at $2.99/user/month, while its premium plan of 2TB storage is at $9.99/user/month.

3. Backup and Reliability

In terms of backup and recovery, the three apps seem to have covered the problem appropriately, so it won’t be a mistake to choose any of them. Dropbox Business, for instance, is fully backup-enabled; as it syncs your files automatically, and makes sure you’ll always work with updated information. What is more, Dropbox Business stores data in multiple locations, meaning that you will never have to worry about recovery. You can also use its selective sync to save more space, while its photo organizer tool called Carousel helps you to automatically backup all your image files.

Dropbox Business comes with a comprehensive dashboard as well as automated file backups.

Box also offers a wide array of backup functions, such its Box Sync tool that keeps all your files ready for transfer from the cloud to your desktop or any gadget, even when you’re offline. Google Drive also allows automatic back-up of photos and videos to your Google Drive from and to any connected device such as your smartphone. This feature is very convenient as mobile gadgets typically have limited storage space.

4. Customization Level

Customization is another area where Dropbox Business leads the way. Don’t be misguided by the sheer simplicity of its interface and easy-to-use features and tools. Actually, behind these are advanced tools that enable you to practically transform Dropbox Business into a platform that suits your brand and way of doing things. Foremost of these customization features involves security and how your important company files are accessed, managed, and shared. For instance, you can manage user provisioning, share file permissions, set up authentication, control browser sessions, wipe files remotely, etc. You can also add branding or custom logo to your account, personalize showcase layout, and even customize your Dropbox notifications.

Dropbox Business offers a user management tool that lets you have full control over the accessibility of your documents.

Google Drive also supports a number of customizations to suit user preferences such as changing settings to allow the offline use of files, customize your Docs background, color-code events, calendars, folders, and labels, select different themes in your Gmail, to name a few. Box also allows several customization features like custom branding to suit your business image, which does not only personalize the admin’s dashboard appearance but also extends to shared links and other users.

5. Integrations

Integrations are vital for file sharing applications and will, most of the time, be the deciding factor for businesses when purchasing their software. Ideally, they will be looking for an app that can fit seamlessly within their software infrastructure, import, and export information in no time, and function impeccably with their CRMs, marketing apps, and accounting and management programs.

All of the products we’re discussing in this article are well-integrated, but differences do exist that set these platforms apart in terms of the quality and quantity of integrations. In this regard, Dropbox Business, known for the vendor’s culture of collaboration within the company, with its partners, and even its millions of customers, has more than 150 integrations to date, including with Salesforce, Microsoft, Slack, Adobe, Zoom, Symantec, to name a few. To ensure that such collaborative initiatives are sustained, Dropbox Business focuses on a number of key integration areas, namely, custom workflows, identity management, data migration and on-premises backup, digital rights management, eDiscovery and legal hold, data loss prevention, and security information and event management.

The number is similar even in the case of Google Drive, which is more popular with its integration with Google products, social networks, and social media monitoring services. Box also has many integrations with other cloud platforms and provides a set of APIs for enterprise app integration, permits bulk changes (like when creating a new account) via CSV files, and supports SAML for single sign-on.

Dropbox Business offers seamless integrations with a variety of third-party business systems.

The number is similar even in the case of Google Drive, which is more popular with its integration with Google products, social networks, and social media monitoring services. Box also has many integrations with other cloud platforms and provides a set of APIs for enterprise app integration, permits bulk changes (like when creating a new account) via CSV files, and supports SAML for single sign-on.

File Sharing Best Practices

Finding a suitable file sharing tool is only one piece of the puzzle of reaping its full potential. The real challenge is to make your new investment work for you. To do this, it is pertinent that you apply a few tips and tricks to maximize its functionalities. This may range from learning the ins-and-outs of your file sharing platform and carefully orienting your employees about how to use it to performing routine upgrades and maintaining data hygiene.

Other than those, there are plenty of other things you can do to optimize your file sharing efforts. Here are some best practices that you can start with:

  1. Come Up With Naming Conventions. While most file sharing applications are built for searchability, you might still find it difficult to get the information you need if your documents are not labeled properly. To address this, be sure to come up with naming conventions for you and your team to follow. Make them short and sweet and most of all, consistent. This will make it easy to pull files for sharing later on. Moreover, this will simplify the archiving process.
  2. Plan a Filing Structure. Making file transfers fast and secure is one of the main uses of these software solutions. However, if you store all of your files in one folder and give stakeholders, consultants, and team members access to it, then, you might end up compromising your documents. This is where having a filing structure comes in handy. For one, you can keep files with similar retention rules in one folder. It is also good to have separate folders for specific departments or job ranking. This way, mapping out user permissions is much more streamlined.
  3. Create Clear-Cut Authorization Privileges. Speaking of user permissions, it is also crucial for you to have clear-cut authorization privileges. Specify which users can view, edit, or upload files and be strict with your rules. This will allow you to further control the changes within your database as well as keep track of everyone who has uploaded or downloaded files from your system.

To sum it up, while we think that the three products we’ve featured here offer quality tools, we recommend Dropbox Business if you are looking for an all-in-one solution that can take care of all your file sharing requirements. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from checking out the other platforms we mentioned as they are equally good options in terms of usability and flexibility.

Our Final Verdict

Comparing the file transfer capacity of the three apps in question, we concluded Dropbox Business and Google Drive have a significantly better list of features to offer to their users, although Box is not that far behind.

We examined some key key aspects of the file sharing process and concluded that Dropbox Business is an undisputable leader due to its highest number of available integrations aside from providing the highest level of security (it has the highest SSL/TLS encryption standards in place, and guarantees 256-bit AES encryption for all types of files),  What further sets it apart from the competition is its that its free version already offers more than the basic features of most file sharing platforms as you can also download free apps to access Dropbox from any device, while earning more space as you use the free service.

Google Drive, as you saw, manages to stay in the game despite being seriously flawed in some aspects. For instance, it doesn’t offer unlimited storage even in the most expensive plans, it works with lower security and authentication standards than the other two apps, and keeps changes valid for no more than 30 days. Still, Google Drive is a perfectly-integrated, easy, and affordable tool that can be enough for less demanding and small businesses.

Finally, Box, being among the pioneers in file sharing solutions, continues to further improve its market position using its current model of targetting tech firms and IT units of companies across industries. Simply put, while Dropbox Business and Google Drive continue to lead the overall file sharing market, Box is slowly but surely expanding its market share using its strengths in cloud storage solutions in helping transform businesses to become true digital enterprises for today’s tech-heavy marketplace.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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