Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dropbox Alternatives and Competitors: Dropbox vs Other Online File Sharing and Storage Tools

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Dropbox Alternatives and Competitors: Dropbox vs Other Online File Sharing and Storage Tools

Dropbox is a big name in the online file sharing and storage market. But there are a lot of alternatives and competitors of dropbox present in the online file sharing and storage market. 

As there are some security and safety concerns with dropbox, people are searching for alternatives to dropbox to store their data online. A lot of competitors of dropbox are there in software market. We will have a detailed discussion on various alternatives to dropbox and competitors of dropbox. We will mainly focus on the features of Microsoft Live Mesh, Spider Oak, SugarSync, Wuala, Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Syncplicity, Cubby, Huddle,  Egnyte, ShareFile, TeamDrive, Cloudme, CX etc. These are giving very tough competition to dropbox in syncing data with various devices or networks, online storage space, security and safety settings, encrypted data backup and recovery, media streaming etc.

Here goes the list of Alternatives to Dropbox: Dropbox Competitors

1. Microsoft Live Mesh: Microsoft's file syncing tool works really well in the background. You can use Live Mesh just for local syncing and/or 5GB of SkyDrive's online storage space (out of SkyDrive's 25GB max). As you might expect, Live Mesh has some unique benefits for Windows users: you can remote control your Live Sync connected Windows computer (similar to Remote Desktop Connection) and sync Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer program settings. SkyDrive is also where Office Web Apps online documents are stored, so you get that integration as well.

Storage: Up to 25 GB Free, per SkyDrive Account
Desktop Support: Windows Vista SP2 or later, Mac OSX 10.5 or later
Browser Support: IE 7 or later preferred
Mobile Clients: None

2. SpiderOak: Besides its really strong "zero knowledge" security features, SpiderOak is very versatile: it can sync not only your desktop or mobile device but your external drive or network volume as well—so you can use it to keep your desktop, laptop, and USB thumb drive in sync, for example. SpiderOak offers a lot of information about your backups, uploads, and syncs, so you always feel in control of your data. Refer a friend and you get an additional 1GB more free space (up to 50GB max for the free referral space).

Storage: 2 GB Free, with Personal and Enterprise Plans Available
Desktop Support: PCs with Windows XP or greater, Mac 10.5 or later, and the more popular Linux distributions
Browser Support: Most modern Web browsers
Mobile Clients: iPhone and iPad with iOS 4, Android 2 or later, Blackberry 4 or later

3. SugarSync: SugarSync does what Dropbox does, but lacks the LAN sync and strong API support. It makes up for that in more features for media streaming, mobile syncing (including auto syncing photos and folders from Android devices), and folders selection and permissions/passwords settings. SugarSync's web interface has a bit more functionality than Dropbox, with its separation of photos from files and also a very useful direct editing feature where you can edit files from within the webapp. You get a generous 5GB free to start with and can earn 500MB more space for each referral.

Storage: 5 GB Free, with Personal and Enterprise Plans Available
Desktop Support: PCs with Windows XP or later and Mac Desktops 10.4 or later
Browser Support: IE, Firefox 3 or later, Safari 4 or later, Chrome
Mobile Clients: iOS 4, Android 2 or later, Blackberry OS 4 or later, Windows Phone 7, and Symbian

4. Wuala: From Swiss storage manufacturer LaCie, Wuala, like SpiderOak, offers locally encrypted data backup and syncing. Although the 1GB of free storage space is on the low end to start with, Wuala has a unique way to earn additional storage: you can buy more space or exchange unused storage on your computer (e.g., empty space on an external drive) for more storage on Wuala.

5. Amazon Cloud Drive: Amazon's drive offering is particularly attractive if you're looking for a way to store your music library. They recently added Safari support, so if you're on an iPhone or iPad you can now use the service. If you're already set up with a Cloud Drive account, and have some music in it, just point Safari to the Cloud Player sign in page and you'll see the desktop interface on your iOS device. Sign into your account and you'll see the desktop interface on your iOS device.

On the downside, there's no sync service or automated way to add your non-music files. It's all manual upload and download. This is a fair place to hold your music library, but not useful for much else, given the options available today. Also, being forced to manually upload files via a Web browser gives the product a rushed and unfinished feel. However, it's hard to complain about a free place to store your music. If you're looking for a good place to store and stream your music library and can use some rudimentary non-music file storage as well, then Amazon Cloud Drive may work for you.

Storage: 5 GB Free, or 20 GB free with purchase of an album from the Amazon MP3 store
Desktop Support: Any OS that supports Flash
Browser Support: Any browser with Flash 9 or 10, newest browser versions preferred but not required
Mobile Clients: Android 2 or later, and browser support for Apple devices with iOS 4

6. Box: Box.net offers 5 GB of free cloud storage with a 25-MB file size limit. Storage is accessible by only one user, and access to your data via mobile app also is free. Box.net provides paid options for 25 GB and 50 GB at $10 and $20 per month, respectively, with 1-GB file size limits each.

Box.net offers up to 500 GB of shared storage, the most among the products within this roundup, with a collaborative toolset and workspace for up to three users for $15 per user, per month. Enterprise customers with needs beyond three users are encouraged to call Box.net for pricing. The features and functionality offered here are best suited to enterprise customers. Box.net's complete set of collaborative tools, larger shared storage allotments, and associated costs are geared toward businesses with distributed work teams.

Storage: 5 GB Free
Desktop Support: Windows Vista SP2 or later, Mac OSX 10.5 or later
Browser Support: Mobile browser--Web Kit compatible
Mobile Clients: iOS 4.0 or later, Android 2.0 or later

7. Syncplicity: Syncplicity offers the same sync and share features of Dropbox with a decided enterprise slant. For example, admins can control which devices can access cloud storage inside or outside the company. Data retention policies can help admins find and remove documents that violate company data protection policies.

In a nod to the existing data protection measures in a large enterprise that allows an admin to wipe the data on connected laptop, Syncplicity also provides a way to wipe a user account for computers and mobile devices. The service uses audited security encryption technologies such as SOC 1 and standards such as the Department of Defense's DoD 5220.22. Finally, the admin console is more robust than some; accounts can be pre-configured for access to specific files and folders for employee groups.

8. Cubby: The name might not make you think of an industrial strength cloud service, but Cubby-from the same company that makes the LogMeIn remote access tool-is a sure step above Dropbox. All user files are protected using SSL encryption; each user gets a separate encryption key. (In a few weeks, Cubby will release a beta for an optional high-security mode that will store encryption keys off-line so that only the user has access to the key.) During a data transfer between users, encryption keys form a tight bond between the two endpoints.

One interesting differentiator for Cubby is that information is stored in a data center owned and operated by LogMeIn, not Amazon or another third party. Like LogMeIn itself, Cubby works on the desktop and through a mobile app in addition to working through any browser.

9. Huddle: Huddle is more than just a place to keep files. The new service, designed for the enterprise, is more like a collaborative environment. This is also one of the strengths of the service in terms of security; repositories are organized according to workgroups and for those inside and outside the company.

Because the service is not designed to be a cloud storage service, the system tracks all documents and transfers. Admins can look up the rights to any document, check who has ownership and see how the document has been distributed in the organization. They can even see a history of comments on documents. Like LogMeIn, Huddle uses a company-owned data center that is ISO 27001 certified. The company conducts regular penetration testing and use enterprise-class firewalls.

10. Egnyte: Like most of the cloud storage systems listed here, Egnyte includes the usual admin console and file encryption options, but several unique feature make this cloud storage portal worth considering. Admins can assign permissions on a more granular level-down to sub-folders within sub-folders.

While other storage tools provide desktop and mobile apps, Egnyte also provides a way to create a mapped network drive or access from FTP. There's also a way to generate an audit report showing permission and encryption levels. An enterprise version provides up to 3TB of storage and an unlimited number of users, while a unique "server sync" feature creates a sync between a server and the cloud.

11. ShareFile: Another smart alternative to Dropbox, ShareFile (now owned by Citrix) is a stark departure from consumer-level features. IT admins can use a unique "poison pill" option that sets an expiration point for any file. They can also perform a remote data wipe for any computer or mobile device.

12. TeamDrive: TeamDrive is a more secure version of online file sharing services and it uses AES-256 algorithm for encryption plus the public key feature makes it totally reliable and one of the best Dropbox alternative. It is ideal for Private users, small companies, corporations and supports all the platforms like  iOS, Linux and Windows. You also get a a free storage advantage over Dropbox with it’s 10 GB free online storage space. In addition you can also choose between hosted services, your own server or pre-installed TeamDrive cloud.

13. Cloudme: The feature that distinguishes this DropBox alternative from other listed so far is the creative Web Desktop, that allows you to have your own Desktop in the Cloud. You can then customize and increase productivity of your own Web OS by installing apps and create a working environment. This also enables you to to directly listen to your own music, look at images and edit photos. The Cloudme.com supports all the platforms including iOS and Android which means you can also directly Back-up and share information from you smartphones and mobile devices. The email support, MSN, ICQ, Google Talk, Yahoo and AIM integration makes this best Dropbox alternatives which is further accentuated with its free 3GB stirage space.

14. CX: A more social and interactive way to share files using cloud service, the Cx.com provides a free 10GB storage and a neat interface. You can Sync your files to just about every platform including  iOS,Mac, Windows, Kindle and Android but that’s not what differentiates it from the rest of DropBox alternatives. The ability to comment on shared files, add friends, create groups, and then share your files publicly or privately is what makes this one of the best DropBox Alternatives.

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