Cloud Storage Comparison: SkyDrive vs Dropbox vs Google Drive 

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Cloud storage has become mainstream in the past several years. Dropbox was one of the first popular options and now Google and Microsoft are jumping onto the scene. With so many options in cloud storage, which product offers your business the best features and performance for price? Read on to find out.


Features of Each:

Dropbox: Dropbox is a startup company that has been focused on offering cloud storage since its' inception. They aren’t backed by any major company, and yet still offer a very competitive and feature rich service. Features include:

  • Easy syncing of files and folders across multiple devices
  • Unified storage space between users

  • Allows work to be done on the desktop, using whatever application you choose
  • Business and team plans offering a large of amount of storage, with full tech support

  • Full encryption of all data
  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux

SkyDrive: SkyDrive is Microsoft’s offering in the cloud storage space. It is a relatively new competitor but offers strong integration with Windows 8 and Microsoft Office. Features include:

  • Easy syncing of files and folders between multiple devices
  • Allows work to be done on the desktop using whatever application you choose
  • Browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote to allow multiple users to edit a document simultaneously

  • Full encryption of all data
  • Works with Mac and Windows
Google Drive: Google Drive is Google’s offering to the cloud field, and it offers strong integration with Gmail and Android. It is focused on making the cloud experience something that is for the web browser, not the desktop. Features include:
  • Easy syncing of files and folders between multiple devices
  • Focus on the use of web apps such as Google Docs in order to create and share work

  • Google Docs allows multiple users to edit a document simultaneously  
  • Full encryption of all data
  • Works with Mac and Windows

 

Cost of Each Service:

Let us assume your business requires a team of five people to collaborate together on a project:


Cost for 5 Member Team

Storage Amount

Google Drive

$250 per year (add $50 for additional members)

5 GB per user

Dropbox

$795 per year (add $125 for additional members)

1000 GB combined storage, +200GB for each additional user.

SkyDrive

$300 per year (add $60 for each additional member)

25 GB per user



As you can see, Dropbox is by far the most expensive option, but it also offers significantly more space than the other services. SkyDrive and Google Drive offer similar price points, both with a relatively small amount of storage. Google offers the smallest amount of storage with only 5 GB’s but hopes that their web app offerings of Google Docs, Gmail, and Calendar will make up for the difference. SkyDrive also offers web apps in the form of browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote.



Recommendation

My recommendation differs depending on the nature of the data your business works with. If the data is primarily text documents and spreadsheets, then I would recommend going with either Google Drive if your business uses Google apps such as Gmail, or SkyDrive if your business is using Microsoft’s services such as Outlook.com or Microsoft Office.

If your business is dealing with files that are larger in size, such as photos, audio, and video, then Dropbox is the way to go. The small drive sizes offered by Google and Microsoft will fill up very quickly with anything other than word documents and spreadsheets being put into them.

It is also important to notice the difference in philosophies between the cloud storage providers. Google and Microsoft offer a system where individual users are given a private inbox, and must “share” documents with coworkers in order for others to have access. Dropbox’s philosophy is that it is a team environment, so everyone stores everything in a unified dropbox, so that all sharing is done automatically.

Further Reading and Investigation:

To learn more about each of the cloud services mentioned here, check out their websites:

Also, you can look into some smaller players in the cloud storage market:

 

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