Dropbox for Business review
We put Dropbox for Business through its paces to see if it really is worth paying for
Cloud storage is getting cheaper all the time and our internet connections are now speeding up to the point where cloud storage makes a lot of sense.
Dropbox for Business has been out for a while and aims to build on the simplicity of its consumer service with handy tools for admins to keep control of the data flowing in and out of the enterprise.
Design, interface and accessibility
The interface is virtually the same as the consumer offering. The service separates your business account (and folders) from your personal ones though, which means that users can partition their private data from work stuff.
As with the personal version, Dropbox for Business offers accessin a number of ways; web, mobile apps and applications for Mac, Linux and Windows.
Installing a client on an operating system creates a folder on that computer where data can be stored and synced to other devices. Of course, not only do these files and folders sync to a user's other devices, the also sync to colleagues' devices if those files and folders are shared.
A mobile app can be installed on iOS (both iPhone and iPad) as well as Android devices, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Kindle Fire. The Windows app was updated (to version 1.1) in February 2015 to include enhanced functionality such as the ability to share and unsure folders with other users more effectively.
There is uniformity to how Dropbox works on desktop clients. A user's Dropbox for Business folder is separate from their personal Dropbox folder (which makes life much simpler). The folders work in much the same way as any other folder works on the desktop; Once a file is saved to the Dropbox folder, the service goes to work to sync it to the cloud and other devices that have access to that folder.
The mobile client also shows separate folders for business and personal.
With the mobile client, users can view files with the app and edit them using third-party tools, the most notable of these are Microsoft Office apps. For example, on an iOS device, you can open up a file within Dropbox and from there, tap on the edit icon at the bottom. This then asks which editing app you wish to use (in this case Microsoft Word). Once editing is over and the file saved, this flips back to Dropbox.
Moving files between personal folders and business ones (for example, you have a photo in the Camera Uploads folder of your personal account and you want to copy it to your business one) can be a bit of a faff, but ultimately possible if you invest a bit of time in switching on Dropbox as a storage provider. We tried to copy files across from other storage providers such as Box and OneDrive, but either through being denied access (as in Box) or causing the app to crash (as in OneDrive) this proved fruitless.
The service provides business with 5TB of storage for starters (although more can be bought if needed).
Synching and sharing files
Dropbox is famous for its syncing and sharing features. With the business version there are more features to ease sharing securely. Settings can be changed to allow team members to share folders with people outside of the team as well as letting team members join shared folders of other organisations. Links can also be set to allow sharing with people outside of the team.