Which Box is Your Box?
Many small businesses and freelance workers struggle when it comes to sharing files and collaborating on projects from different locations or devices. There’s nothing more tiresome than constantly emailing files to yourself or colleagues, while trying on stay on top of version control. FTP access can also involve tedious downloads and problems with software compatibility. It’s our opinion that online cloud-based storage services (Saas solutions) provide a welcome alternative, enabling users to access and share files from any computer or device.
Our current favorites are Dropbox and Box.net — both of which offer free versions, so you can give them a spin at no expense. Dropbox.com is focused on simplicity, with an orientation toward user-friendliness and ease-of-use. Save your documents to the Dropbox folder on your desktop, and they’re saved to any number of assigned computers, mobile devices, and the Dropbox website. Updates and file sharing can take place via a desktop icon or the Dropbox website, but the interface is geared toward a local experience.
In general, Dropbox is marketed toward consumers and freelance workers, and as was documented in a recent piece in Fast Company, they do a great job at conveying the simplicity of their service. Dropbox is compatible with the full range of mobile devices and there’s an app for the iPad.
For all these reasons, we think of Dropbox as a great solution for entrepreneurs, micro-businesses, and users who have no need for additional functions and utilities beyond storage and sharing.
Box.net is directed more toward small businesses, with project management utilities and project-related discussions. The interface is web-based, so you must log on through box.net. The free subscription is designed for consumers only, but the upgraded versions include extra storage and additional permission control, branding, and more. Like Dropbox, Box.net works with mobile devices and the iPad. Generally, we recommend Box.net for small businesses with more than three users and/or multiple locations and projects.
Dropbox offers three levels of subscription:
- Basic, up to 2GB of storage: free
- Pro 50, up to 50GB of storage: $9.99 per month
- Pro 100, up to 100GB of storage: $19.99 per month
Box.net also offers three subscriptions:
- Personal, 5 to 50GB of storage: Free
- Business, up to 500GB w. 3+ users: $15/month
- Enterprise, unlimited storage: call for pricing
Note: we get no kickbacks or referral rewards for reviewing these products.