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Tech Essentials: Box vs. Dropbox

Two cloud storage and collaboration tools sound similar but have different strengths

Cloud-storage and collaboration tools are readily available, but how do you choose the best fit for your needs? What makes each unique? This month I’ll compare two popular options, and, and next month, I’ll look at Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft SkyDrive.

First and foremost, Box and Dropbox differ in the audiences they target. While Dropbox now offers a Team option (, that option is little more than a larger shared space to store stuff as a team. Dropbox is used by more than 50 million people to make copies of documents, photos and videos available on all their devices through sync, and it’s a good fit for individuals and small businesses that want backups of important files.

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Box is also available to individuals, but its primary values are realized through enhanced collaboration, security and administration controls offered to organizations via paid plans ( Boasting more than 120,000 company clients, including many big hitters such as Dell and T-Mobile, Box not only provides cloud storage, it also offers content-editing tools, Google Apps and Salesforce integration, single sign-on (access rights to Box and other services via a single password), and Microsoft Active Directory support.

Both tools provide mobility options with integration into hundreds of apps. Generally, apps use Dropbox to provide file backups. You might, for example, use a screenwriting app to draft your next big movie idea, and the app syncs with Dropbox to make sure backups of your scripts are stored safely.

Box, above, offers 5GB of free storage but sync isn’t free. Dropbox, below, offers only 2GB of free storage but is known for free sync.

Box, on the other hand, seems to be a favorite among productivity apps trying to insert themselves into your Box workflow; while you’re in Box commenting, collaborating and sharing stuff, why not integrate your efforts with other apps and get more done?

Box offers 5GB free storage, but the tradeoff is that sync isn’t free – you have to pay if you want to drag and drop files from your computer into your Box account.

Dropbox only offers 2GB free storage (though you can earn more through referrals), but Dropbox is known for sync; free automatic backups of anything in your computer’s Dropbox folder to all other devices loaded with Dropbox mean less time worrying about lost files and more time writing the next big hit.

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Old to new | New to old
Oct 8, 2012 09:31 am
 Posted by  'da bears

I went to the site that Compgeek24 recommended and it is not free. I won't uninstall. I am in one of the endless loops of frustration. Beware of mypcbackup!

This has been flagged
Oct 8, 2012 10:08 am
 Posted by  JasonUbay

@ 'Da Bears - Thank you for alerting us. We've removed the website and user.

Jason Ubay
Managing Editor, Hawaii Business magazine

Oct 9, 2012 06:55 am
 Posted by  CXtheCloud

Hey, Shaley! Great series! Have you heard of CX yet? We offer users 10GB of free storage, along with collaborative features such as groups, chat and social network sharing. We'd love to be included in your next round-up, and please let us know if you have any questions!

This has been flagged
Oct 9, 2012 05:07 pm
 Posted by  Shaley

Thanks CX, we'll check that out!

This has been flagged
Oct 11, 2012 08:47 pm
 Posted by  SenadDizdar

Hi, Shaley!
Excellent write up.
And I would appreciate if you can check out - we can do sync between Dropbox and Box (in real-time and continuously). So you can use Box as a backup of all your Dropbox accounts in company. Here is a short video explaining what we do:

If you need more info about our service and how companies which uses both Box and Dropbox can utilize our service, I would be happy to explain you more about it.

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