There is more to storage than Dropbox. Check out the alternatives!
Most such advice articles start with a witty paragraph displaying the benefits of X, therefore convincing that users need to do Y. Lucky for the author, it is late 2018 and I decided to write about electronic document storage solutions. If you, dear Reader, have no idea why you would even use one, you are a very lucky person. Obvious sarcasm aside – there is a lot more to DMS (document management systems) than just the open gigabytes per dollar. And in this extremely competitive market the customer may be truly dumbfounded when confronted with multiple alternatives.
Most internet users have at least encountered Google Drive and Dropbox (which was a precursor of the sync-folder model that has proven to be immensely successful), but your small company or your department needs may require a more well suited solution. Also, the big kids on the block have faults of their own – both Dropbox and Google Drive do not score well on the privacy spectrum according to cybersecurity experts (do not confuse privacy and security – they are both secure solutions). Therefore let me walk you through most popular alternatives that bring just as much bang for your buck as the market mainstays.
Zoho suite of apps is a dominant market player in a couple of different software categories. Zoho Docs is the vendor’s foray into real time documentation management and collaboration. There are a couple main features that make Zoho Docs stand out from the crowd. First, and this comes as no surprise, any user that uses Docs in combination with other modules can truly grasp what no silos means for your data. Second, Zoho Docs has an almost unrivaled security policies system, which makes controlling access policies among different users a breeze – and a multi-layered one to that. Third, Zoho is also a basic document creator, so user can perform most actions straight from the app and its clean dashboards. In this respect Zoho Docs is replicating Dropbox excellent Dropbox Paper notetaking app with Office edition capability. All good has its price though – less expensive options will not give advanced users the desired capacity.
With no free options available, and dare I say, quite expensive basic packages, SpiderOak is not for Sunday users. It is a very secure storage space, and is an excellent backup solution for your digital content. What separates it from others is its ability to sync with unlimited number of devices and strong encryption. How strong the encryption? Well, certain well know individual, Edward Snowden, personally recommended SpiderOak. Watch out for two things – one, mobile support is lacking, so it is probably not perfectly suited for mobile, distributed teams. Two, users who frequently work on rapidly changing documents requiring almost real time sync between devices will be disappointed, as Spider can be tiny bit slow. For 15$ you get a fully unlimited storage capacity, which seems reasonable for power users.
pCloud is very clever, as it somehow makes your local disk space less relevant. Before using it, and I have been on pCloud for more than a year, there was always a difference in feel between using local and cloud stored files. By that I mean that I always at least knew where the file is, thought about moving it from X to Y, as this information would be at all relevant. Half a year later, my entire work related data is somewhere in the pCloud, and I have not looked back. pCloud is very useful for Mac users with their small-ish SSDs, and using it as a virtual drive is as easy as using your old faithful C:\ disk. Caveat – it is expensive, so probably better to ask your firm for it than paying out of pocket!
Microsoft would not allow storage to be dominated by rivals, and OneDrive is a good complementary solution to Office super users who value interconnectivity and want a clearest path possible. And that pretty much does it for its unique features, as besides being made by Microsoft there is not much to talk about – decent sync (including selected folders only), terrible privacy (Microsoft looks into files for objectionable content) and super easy interface make OneDrive a good choice only if you want to silo in Microsoft soft embrace – and that is not necessarily a wrong move.