Box and Dropbox are arguably two of the most popular cloud storage solutions on the market today. With Dropbox focusing their efforts more and more on B2B and the enterprise, it has become increasingly difficult to discern the difference between the two solutions. So we pitted the two heavyweights of SaaS storage against one another for a winner take all 5 point comparison with a focus on Security, IT Manageability, Mobile Device Considerations, Implementation and Long Term Management. Check out the recap below and for a deeper dive, download the Box vs Dropbox comparison guide.
Leveraging a new SaaS solution introduces another security challenge in the form of accessibility; will this service be able to integrate with your existing authentication solutions? Box and Dropbox both have cloud single sign-on (SSO) support via SAML 2.0 (Secure Assertion Markup Language), but Box supports a greater variety of vendors including Intel and Citrix. Box additionally offers support for two other protocols Dropbox doesn’t natively support at all (only through an SSO provider, that is): LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and ADFS 2 (Active Directory Federation Services).
User Permission Management and Content Sharing
Dropbox for Business takes the form of “teams”; users that belong to the team decide which information of theirs they want to share. Admins can further decide which folders can be shared outside the team. A particularly glaring issue with DropBox is that all team members have full read/write access to a shared folder within the team; read-only permissions are not available.
Box allows admins to define groups and apply permissions on a per-group basis. Admins can define which folders groups have access to in addition to the permissions they have to folders such as viewing, previewing and uploading. Admins can furthermore define what permissions users themselves can define on shared files and folders. Finally, Box allows admins to put password protection on files and folders with expiration dates.
Mobile Device Considerations
Dropbox supports remote wiping of any device with a shared folder; the device will immediately stop syncing and will attempt to delete the entire shared folder the next time the device is online. Box doesn’t natively support remote wipe but does through certain apps that support Box. Be careful about putting too much weight on remote wipe - it only affects areas of a connected device that the application has access to (the shared folder, in Dropbox’s case). There’s little you can do if the account user copied files outside those areas.
A SaaS vendor’s ability to support your company’s needs is a critical element of a successful implementation. Box has a professional services division offering services such as content migration, infrastructure integration and services to support customized deployments. Dropbox advertises no implementation or migration services of any kind.
Long Term Costs
Businesses typically move to a SaaS deployment to reduce or eliminate the cost of maintaining their existing infrastructure.
Dropbox treats all businesses the same whereas Box shows its enterprise focus by offering a separate enterprise tier. Box’s higher price buys numerous advantages for the enterprise as highlighted throughout this article. In addition Box offers other advantages over Dropbox such as custom branding and custom terms of service.
For IT Manageability. Box has compelling advantages over Dropbox including significantly more granular user permissions, the ability to create user groups and the password policy enforcement in the absence of SSO.
Implementation is a weak area for Dropbox since it lacks a professional services arm unlike Box which offers implementation services and more robust post sales support including around-the-clock phone service.
Box brings all those advantages at a significantly higher cost; $35/person/month versus Dropbox’s $15. Although Box offers personal-use accounts, it was designed from the ground up for enterprise usage. Dropbox is the opposite, going after business users after it tamed the consumer market and so it focuses more on content sharing and not enough on the management of that sharing to make enterprise IT comfortable. Because of all of this, the winner in our head-to-head enterprise SaaS storage comparison is Box.
For the complete comparison, download our Box vs. Dropbox for the Enterprise eBook below.