Are you juggling between Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive and can’t decide which one is the best cloud storage service? We just got you covered.
It is important to analyze each of the major cloud storage services on a range of parameters such as:
- File Syncing
- Security and Encryption
- File Sharing
The above parameters are considered because it is necessary to ensure that your chosen cloud storage provider not only meets your needs and requirements but also secures your data efficiently whilst being pocket-friendly.
Let’s discuss each of these cloud storage services in detail.
4 Points to Consider when Making Your Choice between Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive
The first criterion for comparison of the three cloud storage platforms is the pricing structure. You have to look for how much money is being fished out for the system and what is the corresponding value for money. Of course, offers like free storage, subscription plans, and discounts also play a role here. Let’s see what each of the three cloud storage services has to offer.
First, let us talk about the free storage facilities in Dropbox. When you sign up on this platform on the free Basic plan, you basically get 2 GB of free storage. In addition to this, referrals will fetch you a maximum of 15 GB. Now, this might not be sufficient for your work purposes. This brings us to the paid subscription plans.
Paid Subscription Plans
The next best plan is Dropbox Premium. This will cost you a little less than $100 per year and comes packed with 1 TB of storage. You will also get special information sharing tools. Dropbox Standard is priced at $150 a year and brings 2 TB of storage. Finally, if you are aiming for unlimited storage space, Dropbox Advanced will help you in the same area with a price of $240 a year.
Google Drive comes with 15 GB of free data storage space that is divided across different Google apps like Google Photos, email, and the likes.
Paid Subscription Plans
Google Drive does not provide unlimited storage, apart from the business plans. But the plans are placed at rather comfortable figures. For a 10 TB space, you would be paying around $1199 per year. Similarly, there are other offers in the space of 100 GB and 1 TB.
With the help of its G Suite service, you can pay a maximum of $10 for unlimited storage along with special admin controls.
Finally, we come to the storage costs of OneDrive, which gives you a big boost of 5 GB space with the free version of the platform. However, if the plan is not sufficient for you, it only gets bigger and better from here.
Paid Subscription Plans
The 50 GB subscription plan is priced at only $29 per year. The highest plan, which is 5 TB in size, will cost you around $100 per year. The advantage here is that these paid plans come with Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home. So you will be able to download Microsoft Office for your desktop at no additional costs. Additionally, the storage space can be shared by different people. For instance, if you have bought space for 5TB data, it can be split amongst five people and used accordingly.
So, each of the three cloud storage service providers gives their share of free and paid space. Considering the total space, Google Drive beats the others as it gives 15GB of free space and the paid plans go as high as 30 TB, which is quite a lot. However, OneDrive is the more economical and logical option here. Why? Microsoft’s 1 TB space comes at a cheaper price than Google’s 1 TB space. Besides, you can also divide this space amongst different people and make the price worth it!
2) File Syncing
These three cloud storage platforms are suited for different applications, users, and setups. For instance, Google Drive and OneDrive are more suitable for their own environments and ecosystems. However, when you consider a platform like Dropbox, it gives you an advantage of being more accessible and user-friendly. Syncing is an important part of all cloud storage service providers. What does it actually mean? It refers to how well a file or document is able to reflect across various devices. When we make changes on a file online, these changes are portrayed on all the devices associated with it. How fast and efficiently can the changes made in one device be visible to another user on another system? This would also result in faster file transfers. On this note, let us find out how each of the three platforms works in this department.
Platforms supported: Windows, iOS, Android, Linux.
One of the biggest advantages of Dropbox is its accessibility across various devices and platforms, be it your Mac laptop, Android phone or Windows desktop, Dropbox will remain omnipresent. Strangely enough, unlike most other cloud storage applications, Dropbox supports the Linux platform as well.
This platform is known for quick and swift file syncing facilities. It works on a block-level file transfer algorithm. A file is synced to the cloud the moment it is uploaded to Dropbox. So after this, whenever you make some changes to the file, only the changes are synced online while the rest of the data remains as it is. This improves durations for sync and eases work.
However, when you are uploading larger files, the time it takes depends on your internet speed. But with the help of Dropbox’s LAN syncing, the upload speed increases dramatically when you are on the local network. This proves to be especially useful when you are working with large files like movies and long videos.
Platforms supported: Windows, iOS, and Android
The file syncing process in Google Drive is fairly simple. You will need a desktop application to access the drive. It creates a Google drive-linked folder where you can upload individual files, documents, and the likes. Thereafter, you can drag and drop files from your system onto the drive folder. It is that simple and easy to use.
If you are using Gmail, you will also be able to send attachments and large files through Google Drive. Besides, you can send invitation links to people from your Gmail address to collaborate and work on spreadsheets and documents online. Another advantage with Google Drive is that you have the option to upload multiple photos on the drive and Google will take up the responsibility of sorting them based on the location, the people, and the likes.
Does it support operating systems like Linux? No. Google Drive has not ventured into platforms outside of the usual Android, iOS and Windows systems. It also does not allow block-level file copying.
Platforms supported: iOS, Android, and Windows
Being a Microsoft product, it is but natural that it will serve the Microsoft operating systems. But it also extends its boundaries to iOS, Mac, and Android systems. But, once again, it does not work with Linux. This service can be accessed through a web application, a desktop application, and a mobile application. For a Windows-based operating system, you do not require a separate application to use OneDrive. It appears as a background app and an automatic choice for saving and storing files. In fact, OneDrive makes it even easier by allowing the users to access the files and data – even from your Xbox console.
File syncing is easy in this case. As soon as you upload the files onto the storage platform, it sorts them according to different categories. The same is done for photos uploaded onto OneDrive, much like Google Drive. Also, since it is connected with Microsoft Office, sharing documents on the cloud becomes a much easier process. You can also throttle sync speeds based on your requirements.
As far as the syncing speeds of the three cloud sharing platforms are concerned, it takes Dropbox the maximum amount of time while Google Drive is the quickest. When it comes to downloads, OneDrive beats the other two by quite a margin. But these results are not complete. In order to continue with the experiment, a change is made on the uploaded file. Now, Google Drive and OneDrive will take the same time once again to upload the corrected document. But what happens in the case of Dropbox? It takes this cloud storage platform only a few seconds to complete the change. How is this possible? Dropbox only copies the change in the data while Google and Microsoft’s cloud platforms upload the whole file once again.
3) Security and Encryption
The whole idea and concept of online storage are rendered useless if it is not secured and well encrypted! Let us find out how each of them works towards protecting your data and privacy.
First and foremost, Dropbox encrypts your data both in transit and at rest. The former includes TLS tunnels with 128-bit AES encryption. What happens is when you upload a file, it gets encrypted. Then, once it reaches the Dropbox center, it gets decrypted. Finally, at this stage, the data is encrypted once again to maintain security. However, in the course of this encryption and decryption, the metadata remains open and readable.
If you are worried about hackers accessing your online cloud storage account, you can turn on a two-factor authentication facility for logging in. This will prevent anyone from accessing your data every time an unfamiliar device is used. With file recovery facilities, Dropbox has great secured data storage.
Google encrypts your file in-transit following the TLS cryptographic protocol. With the 128-bit AES encryption, it will be difficult to crack this coding. However, Google’s encryption and security measures are relatively new. It was only in 2013 that Google Drive started using encryption for storing the data of the users.
Much like Dropbox, Google Drive also features a two-step verification system. Talking about the data centers, Google Drive uses laser grids and biometric scanners to ensure complete security. So, your data will be kept pretty secure and safe with Google Drive.
Once again, similar to the other two cloud sharing platforms, OneDrive encrypts your data when it is being transferred from your system to the cloud. This is conducted with the help of TLS and 256-bit AES. However, there is one aspect where OneDrive loses out on the others and this is when it provides encryption only for business and corporate customers. When it comes to personal and individual accounts there is no security. This leaves your personal data at risk to be exposed.
The cloud storage platform does provide some security against potential hackers in the form of the two-step verification process. What is more, in the case of ransomware your files are at risk when OneDrive has them stored.
When it comes to security and encryption, Dropbox stands out on the list. Google Drive does fairly well, but it does have some areas of improvement. On the other hand, OneDrive loses out owing to the lack of at-rest encryption and security for personal accounts.
4) File Sharing
Online cloud storage service is incomplete if you cannot share it with other users. So, how well you can share files on a particular platform is an important criterion when deciding which cloud sharing service is the best. There are a lot of online services that focus mainly on storage and not on sharing. Being able to collaborate with others on a file, on an online platform, is important, especially in a business environment.
Using Dropbox, you will find it rather easy to collaborate with other users. All you have to do is log in to your desktop application, mobile app or your browser; highlight the file you want to share and then click on ‘Share’. Now, there are two ways in which you can share this data. Firstly, you can email the concerned person granting him or her access to the shared drive. On the other hand, you can also generate a link to the file and then send it to others. The issue with the second method is that the link becomes accessible to everyone and thus puts your data at risk. However, in order to limit that, you can set your permissions specific to the viewers. They can either view or edit the file depending upon your choices.
Google Drive serves better than Dropbox in terms of file sharing considering that you can share entire folders as well. Again, your security and privacy concerns are well handled here. If you want to restrict access to another user, you can choose the option where he or she can only read the file without being able to edit the file. This keeps your data safe and protected. What’s more, there is another option that allows the users to add a comment to the file or folder. However, there can be no expiry dates set and links cannot be protected with passwords.
Similar to the other two cloud storage options, OneDrive can allow data sharing for both files and folders. Once again, you can permit the user to either only view the file or also be able to edit it. Here, you cannot protect your links with passwords. This might leave your information at risk. But, OneDrive does provide you with an advantage here as it gives you the option to audit what activity is going on in the shared folder or file. So, if there is some data that has been shared or misused, you will be able to track it via the ‘Share’ page option.
It is true that Dropbox triumphs over Google Drive when it gives you the option of using password protected links, but with OneDrive, you can have access to an entire shared page history. This helps you to keep track of what is happening on the shared content. Besides, you can also set expiry dates for those links to keep everyone updated and the data secured.
While these cloud storage services tend to work well with businesses, one of the key issues noted in the information technology management of any organization is shadow IT. This is the process of using IT systems and applications within the company and for the business requirements of the company that has not been formally approved by the organization. How does this affect the affairs of the company?
Since you are using software and platforms that are not a part of the company’s system, it causes a number of issues with regards to data daring and collaboration. For instance, if your organization is using OneDrive for all the requirements from the different departments and a particular team of people uses Google Drive, it only creates confusion and irregularity in work.
It is often more productive to choose one particular cloud storage platform and use it for all the purposes of the company business. This ensures that everyone within the team is on the same page and is able to communicate online by means of these cloud storage services.