5 Alternatives To Dropbox

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Even a person with the most passing interest in cloud storage likely has a Dropbox account. When cloud syncing and storage was in its relative infancy, Dropbox was a miracle worker: a little piece of software that ensured you could stash and grab your files from anywhere without hassle.

These days, there are numerous Dropbox alternatives (Wikipedia lists a dizzying array of upwards of 25 right now) for you to choose from. So why would you move away from the comfortable confines of Dropbox?

Perhaps you’re worried because Dropbox was affected by Heartbleed, but then again almost everything was. Maybe you’re worried about file security, even though Dropbox is generally as safe and secure as most law-related computer storage methods. (Sadly, digging a bunker under the earth and burying your physical client files there is an unattainable choice for most of us.) You could be mad that Dropbox tapped Condoleezza Rice for its board. No matter what your reason, you can now jump ship and take your data with you. Here are five that you may consider.

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  • Craig Hensel

    Why does Egnyte always get ignored on these lists? It has the best granular permissions control of any of them (I know that several of the ones that made the list aren’t capable of easily Chinese Walling off a conflicted associate from a single matter) and, unlike some of the others, is just as easy as Dropbox to use.

    • Unfortunately, Egnyte’s 5-user minimum ($40/month) makes it unsuitable for around half the lawyers in the country (and most of the readers of Lawyerist).

      • Craig Hensel

        That’s reasonable. I was annoyed when they implemented that. That said, it becomes worthwhile compared to the competition when you hit ~3 users. I would agree at 1 or 2, you’re better off elsewhere.

  • Paul Spitz

    Really good overview, Lisa! I must confess, I probably slid into Dropbox by default (kind of the same way most of us ended up in law school…history majors, anyone?), but I have no current gripes with it.

    I do wonder, however, how easy is the process for migrating files from one service to another? Do they offer some kind of tool that reaches into your existing cloud storage, extracts the files, and automatically loads them into your new service?

    • qning

      Do it on your desktop. Drag the contents of your Dropbox (for example) folder into the sync directory of your “replacement” app.

      (I suggest a right-click drag and select Copy, not move.)

  • Paul McGuire

    First of all, multiple page display for something like this? Really?

    Second, no mention of Sugarsync? Sure it is a little disappointing they don’t have a free option beyond a free trial anymore but at $75 a year for 60gb the price is good. I really like the ability to select any folder you want to sync and then select where you want it to be stored in your second computer. For those who want more control over where everything is stored rather than just dropping everything into the shared folder, this is something few other companies support. The mobile app generally works well too.

    • I’ll admit to an anti-Sugarsync bias from using it ages ago when someone else had set it up for shared users – I found it weirdly aggressive in terms of what it kept trying to sync and didn’t give me as much control as I wanted. Sounds like that has changed and $75 for 60GB is definitely a good price.

      • Paul McGuire

        I did have some issues in the past once I had set up photo syncing when I tried to stop syncing photos and switch to Google Plus auto backup but since then they have given the interface a general overhaul. They did give me a huge discount on a year when they switched to paid only because I didn’t think I needed more than 5gb at the time but by the time it comes to updating next year I’ll probably renew if the price stays similar.

      • Jay Brinker

        I am with Paul. I like Sugarsync because I like how it plays nicely with my file structure. I can access all of my files without having to add them to my Dropbox folder. I think I pay $50/yr for $30 gb. The more I become familiar with it, the more I like it.

    • Agreed that this should not be a multi page display and that Sugarsync is great.

  • qning

    Is anyone using Mega routinely and successfully? First it sucks. Second, no way a lawyer in the US should be using it for a business purpose. MAYBE for free storage of like your third redundant fully encrypted backup of last decade’s taxes.

    And I’m with Paul, this is a one page article. I understand there is something special about making users click click click on the page but I stopped at Mega.

  • Here is a really stupid question. How do you measure how much storage you need? Do you look at how much of your hard drive is being used or do you just look at all your various client files? What is a quick and easy way to figure this out?

    • If you know what files you want to put into Dropbox, just see how big they are.

      • OK, I looked and saw about 400 MB for files, which seems pretty small. What about Outlook where I have about 2.5 GB? Can this be put into Dropbox. Sam I am a complete dolt about this having never used this type of storage, so please respond accordingly.

        • You can’t put your Outlook file in Dropbox, as far as I know.

          If you are paperless and have only 400MB of files, it sounds like you have probably misplaced a lot of files.

          • Sam, hmm. Upon looking back into my hard drive it looks my files are more like 7.5 GB, so you are correct on this. So if that is the case, something like Dropbox or Google Drive would suit my needs and would even be free, for at least awhile? Google Drive has 15GB free and that is double what I now have. So for a one man firm which would you recommend?

            • I recommend the one that works best with the software and systems you want to use.

              Dropbox is often the best option, but if you really want to be able to edit MS Office files on an iPad, OneDrive may be a better option. Or Drive, if you use Google Docs for your documents.

              • Sam, thanks for your time and your insights. Really appreciated. I think I need to look into this in more detail based on your comments. Thanks again.

                • Since they all have free options, it’s just a matter of trying them and seeing if they work for you. Get to it!

                  • Yes, sounds like fun(?)! Now that tax season is over I have the time to do some of the things I have put off for months. I think I might start with Google Drive as I already have 7.5 GB. Anything wrong with going that way to start, Sam?

  • JanetR

    You forgot to mention Copy.

    I was looking through another thread and someone mentioned “Copy” there, which is basically a dropbox alternative. I checked it out and I’m digging it. They give you 15gb
    free right away and I signed up through a referral from the guy’s post and got an extra 5gb for myself. So 20gb immediately. Also for every person you sign up they give you 5gb! That’s waaay better than 500mb w/ DB. Between the 6 email accounts my wife and I have we got our storage up to 50GB without even bugging anyone we know. And that’s FOREVER not for 2 years!

    Another thing I like is that they split the file size between the number of people using a shared folder. With DB each person has the full size of the shared folder. So basically with Copy if you have 2 people sharing a 20gb folder it’s only 10gb each. Or if it’s 4
    people then that’s 5gb each. Since we had setup 6 accounts already, and each of those accounts have 20gb, I setup a shared folder between all 6 accounts. So even though my wife and I will really only be using 2 of those accounts, the load will be split 6 ways. So we could theoretically store 150GB right now in that shared folder (50+20+20+20+20+20). Hopefully that made sense.

  • Chuck

    Any reason Box is not on the list?

    • Box and Dropbox are effectively the same product from different companies. If you want Dropbox from a different company, try Box. If you want more security or more for your money, try the alternatives on this list.

  • Walker

    Transporters from ConnectedData.com. One at work, one at home. One payment and done.

  • J. C.

    No Onedrive?
    15gb + another 15gb if you enable auto upload from the mobile app. Apss across each platform. Integration with office online, office 2013 and office 365 products. 100gb for $1.99/month; 200gb for $3.99/month. Office 365 + 1tb for $9.99/month. A possible 5gb from referrals. Plus Microsoft is always doing deals- I currently have 100gb bonus (valid for 2yrs) just for using Bing. I’d think it tops the list for lawyers and readers of this site.

    • Sure, it’s an alternative. Not a very good one, in my opinion. I hate the way it handles shared folders, and I really hate the SharePoint-backed business version.

      But sure, if you’re into the whole Microsoft thing, go for it.

      • J. C.

        ahhh the anti-Microsoft mindset was the reason behind its absence. noted.

        • (a) I’m not anti-Microsoft, but the consumer version of OneDrive is just okay. The business version is just plain terrible unless you are an enterprise-size organization. (b) I didn’t write this article, and it wasn’t my decision to exclude OneDrive.

    • My first glance at OneDrive was positive as well. As a new Office 365 subscriber I thought we could stop paying Dropbox. But then I saw that OneDrive for Business doesn’t work on OS X. Ridiculous.