When Is It Time To Seek A Dropbox Alternative?

Posted by Ankur Panchbudhe on June 2 2015

When Is It Time To Seek A Dropbox Alternative?Dropbox may be suitable for small companies with 100 or fewer employees, especially those with moderate to no concern about having total control over enterprise files.

But while Dropbox is the answer for some, it is certainly not an answer for every enterprise file sharing scenario, especially for organizations that value control over their data.

Enterprise file sharing is a matter of security. Yes, Dropbox offers AES-256 bit encryption and two-step verification security features. These features go a long way toward keeping your files safe, but not far enough for everyone.

When files get uploaded to the Dropbox server, they are protected with Dropbox’s military-grade encryption techniques. But this encryption does not occur until your files move into Dropbox.

The Problem With Consumer-Grade File Sharing Services

Herein lies the problem; data is only encrypted at the destination. For truly secure file sharing, your data needs to be protected at the source, in transit and at the destination.

This is where Dropbox as an enterprise file sync & share (EFSS) system fails. It does not allow users to create encrypted files from their endpoint devices and send files as encrypted packets that arrive fully encrypted at the destination.

Dropbox and other consumer-grade file sharing services aren’t suitable for any kind of data-regulated business environment.

For companies that want to maintain complete control, especially those in highly regulated markets and industries where data security is critical, you need a Dropbox alternative that offers cradle-to-grave data protection. 

Consider these highly regulated, compliance-oriented markets where lackluster enterprise file security could result in big penalties:

  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Government
  • Insurance

What To Look For In A Dropbox Alternative

The fact is that every system is at risk of a data breach. Whether it’s an inside job, a hack from outside your network or even an unwitting mistake by an end user, no system is completely safe from every new and emerging threat. Dropbox itself is regularly defending against attacks on its servers, often because log-in credentials get stolen from third-party sites.

IT managers have much at stake when it comes to control, which explains why so many companies are reluctant to use any type of cloud-based file storage system. There’s comfort in knowing that your files are stored within on-premises servers and private cloud networks. 

From a secure file sharing perspective, that makes sense; why place your sensitive data in the hands of a third party, even if they have a strong reputation for security? There’s something reassuring about the physicality of an on-premises system; you feel safer having software, licenses, hardware and data all within an environment you control.

For example, if a user wants to share a PDF file containing sensitive information, IT chiefs and the C-suite alike have a vested interest in ensuring the file doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. An EFSS platform with robust DRM tools can control whether that PDF is printed, copied or shared.

Seven in 10 employees admit to regularly and knowingly breaking IT policies, according to a 2011 Cisco report.

Remember that Dropbox is nearly ubiquitous. It’s a household name that hundreds of millions of people use to sync and share files. If you value control and/or operate in a highly regulated environment, you need a system in place that ensures end users cannot bypass your own secure file sharing protocols and use Dropbox instead. 

You could invest in an expensive content management system, but if it’s not equipped with granular access controls, what’s stopping your end users from uploading sensitive files to Dropbox? It’s tough to break users’ file-sharing habits, especially if you’re operating in a BYOD environment where a user’s personal files are commingled with business data.

Learn more about secure enterprise file sharing by reading our free report, 5 Warnings You Should Heed When Searching For Dropbox Alternatives.

Take Your Free Assessment

Subscribe To The Blog