Dropbox has been the darling of the geek community for years, with its seamless cloud storage and dead simple file syncing. It’s become the de facto file collaboration tool for techies that have put their trust in the cloud (a hard step for some IT crowds). And as the feature set of Dropbox has improved, including file versioning, file collision mitigation and more storage than you can shake a stick at, it seems that this stellar file syncing software may be evolving into an excellent enterprise server software. Enter: Dropbox for Teams. Priced at $795 a year for up to five users with 350 GB of cloud storage, there are many costly hardware and software investments that Dropbox for Teams can replace. Here are a few reasons why you should consider switching to Dropbox for Teams.
Save on Local File Server Costs
Cloud storage means that the burden of hosting files physically or leasing a server is taken off your hands. Immediately, you’re saving about $3,000 plus $800 in storage and annual hosting costs. That estimate is based off of typical data center power/cooling/rack costs. Dropbox for Teams cuts those costs big time, with its $795 base cost for 350 GB and $200 per additional 100 GB. That makes it scalable and affordable. But what about reliable? Dropbox for Teams uses Amazon’s S3 service—so, if it’s reliable and secure enough for the world’s largest online retailer, it’s probably solid enough for your business.
Most business prefer to use Windows-based server software, which will set you back about $800 for Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server. But with Dropbox for Teams, you won’t be needing a file server—instant savings. Of course, you could go with Ubuntu Server edition or one of the other free alternatives—but Dropbox for Teams is just easier.
Backup systems cost so much that their prices aren’t advertised on the web. Essentially, how much you should pay for a backup system—including software, hardware and services—depends on how valuable your work/time is. That could mean thousands of dollars a year.
Dropbox Rewind, which first became available for Dropbox premium accounts, doubles as a very handy backup system. Essentially, Dropbox Rewind allows you to rollback any file to any previous version. This is all done automatically and can be done through the end user interface. No need for saving multiple versions of a file or scheduling time consuming backup processes—it’s all automatic.
One of the biggest difficulties of working with shared files amongst locations, departments and branch offices is making sure that conflicting files don’t muck up your progress. To mitigate this, Windows File Sharing won’t let you open files if someone else has it open (instead you have to save a read-only version). For more complex systems, you can use Microsoft’s Distributed File System—but that often leads to changes being overwritten. Dropbox for Teams has a built-in solution to conflicting files that doesn’t hinder access to files, nor does it overwrite changes if two users are editing the same file at once. It saves conflicted copies alongside originals so, if any critical changes didn’t make it in, they can be reconciled later. Dropbox for Teams is also planning to add file check-in/check-out features and file locking down the road.
Third-party file locking programs can be implemented into Windows servers, but the costs are astronomical, reaching into the thousands per user. Dropbox for Teams’ file confliction management is a standard feature.
The biggest rub for anyone considering switching to a cloud-based storage is the notion of security. They worry that Dropbox employees may be able to access their proprietary files, or hackers may be able to intercept data in transit. This is in contrast to an intra-office network, where files never leave the office’s internal infrastructure. However, Dropbox assures its users that it uses the same security measures as the military, including encryption when data is transmitted and stored. Plus, they claim that employees cannot access their client’s data—they can only see the meta-data when responding to customer support requests.
Whether or not cloud storage is secure enough for enterprise is an ongoing debate—but if you’re convinced that it is, then Dropbox for Teams is as secure as cloud storage gets.
Dropbox for Teams is perhaps the most viable and affordable cloud storage solution for corporate networks. It is inherently different from most server software/hardware setups, thus many of its benefits are baked in to the superior technology. For offices struggling with IT costs, Dropbox for Teams may be the answer.