Grundig IT Newsletter
Computing News That You Can Use – May 2021
Dropbox vs. OneDrive vs. Google Drive
And the Winner is . . . ?
Quote of the Month:
“The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” – Sun Tzu
These days, teams working remotely (and often within one or more physical offices) are using one of the popular cloud / sync solutions for file storage and file sharing. The most popular of such solutions are Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.
Which One is Best?
People are often asking us, “Which is the best one? Which one will work for our company?” And, if someone is already using one of these three solutions, “Which one is best? Easiest? And most secure? Are we using the right one?” Well, it really begins with how your company is working now and what may be in store for the future.
The good thing is that all of these solutions work as advertised, can increase productivity and may work for you and your company.
Dropbox is very popular and was adopted initially by consumers, many of them who then brought their Dropbox preference – or familiarity – with them to the workplace. Many companies are using Dropbox, and it works, but interoperability with a larger suite of applications is often desired, which is where OneDrive and Google Drive have some advantages.
OneDrive is part of the Office 365 / Microsoft 365 suite of online applications, while Google Drive is part of Google Workspace. Both Office 365 and Google Workspace include a variety of online applications, including calendar, email, document sharing, collaboration and team applications, etc., among others.
Lately, we have found that more businesses are opting for the Microsoft solutions, primarily because Microsoft Teams (part of Office 365 / Microsoft 365) is included and the video conferencing and option telephony functions work nicely and are all integrated within a single package.
Google Workspace has similar functionality but has not seen similar adoption recently. NOTE: Grundig IT uses Google Workspace internally and also uses Google Voice to receive and router phone calls. Google Voice is integrated with Google Workspace, but costs extra, as with the Microsoft telephony options for Office 365. It is nice to have everything in one place.
The three sync tools in question, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive, are all easy to use – maybe too easy! Be careful how you are structuring your files and folders and how you are sharing them. NOTE: For those of you who are considering working on your documents primarily within the browser, we have found that Google Docs and Google Sheets documents, stored in Google Drive are easiest to use, share and configure.
Since not all internal document folders and files needed to be shared with everyone on the team, it is possible to limit access and set permissions within Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive. Additionally, within each sync tool, it is possible to share documents or folders with external users (outside the company).
As with all sharing, try to assign minimal rights to those who need them and limit access entirely for those who should not have rights. NOTE, it is possible to assign READ rights only, whereby the recipient can read but not modify a document or folder.
By default, in our experience, the overall default level of security within Google Workspace, which includes Google Drive, is tighter and slightly more configurable than in Office. This is mainly with email. Gmail appears to be better at detecting and limiting some Phishing attempts.
Dropbox security is decent and configurable, though we have not worked with as many companies that use Dropbox as their primary storage mechanism. We are not able to come to a full conclusion regarding the relative security effectiveness of the Dropbox product, though it appears to us that it does not have many issues, if at all.
No sync tools backup prior versions of documents indefinitely or keep deleted files beyond the designated retention period for that product. As a result, it is a good idea to maintain backups of documents that are synced online, similar to how one backs up files on a workstation or server.
There are backup tools which focus specifically on backing up data for one or more of the tools in question. They are generally priced per user per month. Backupify is a common option for Office 365 and Google Workspace.
You will not necessarily realize the value of a backup until it is needed. This occurs similarly for deleted files, corruption or in case of ransomware. Time to restore files and folders is easier, less-clunky and time-consuming using a backup tool like Backupify than trying to restore files and folders within the sync tool that is being used.
Online storage and sync tools are useful, but backup and security should be taken into account, as with traditional server and workstation storage on a network.
What document sync tool are you using? We want to know!
If you have any other file sync questions, let us know and we will attempt to provide answers. Calling is best – 925-528-9081. We also respond to emails and text messages, of course.
Tom Grundig – firstname.lastname@example.org