OneDrive vs. Dropbox: Which One Is Right for My Business?

By BDO Digital | August 14, 2018

Many of our clients find themselves looking to move away from on-premises storage. Some of these clients are interested in saving money, as cloud storage is cheaper, and others want a more reliable backup and file sharing solution with greater continuity. As millennials now represent the largest population in the workplace today, business leaders must also consider the expectations of a modern workforce – one that demands quick, reliable ways to share large files and collaborate on any device.

No matter your reasoning for switching over to cloud storage, there are nearly endless options from which to choose. Sure, there are free options available that work on an individual level. But these solutions won’t cut it for today’s business needs. You’ll want to invest in an enterprise solution that accommodates your storage needs while offering you the control and protection needed to scale your business while keeping “shadow IT” at bay.

The right file sharing system is a matter of preference, but most of our clients are in the midst of comparing two of the most prominent cloud file sharing solutions on the market today: OneDrive and Dropbox.

While these two competing cloud storage picks might seem alike at first glance, there are many factors that should be considered before investing in one over the other.

Let’s take a closer look at these two cloud-based file sharing solutions:

1) Price

While price isn’t the only factor you need to consider, it’s certainly an important one and a good place to start. OneDrive and Dropbox offer varying levels of pricing depending on your storage needs.

OneDrive offers a range of options. You can purchase the solution as a standalone plan or as part of your Office 365 subscription. The standalone plan ranges from $5 to $12.50 per month/user. If you purchase Office 365, OneDrive is included in that subscription, as well as a host of other powerful apps from Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.). Those plans range anywhere from $8 to $35 per month/user.

Drobox offers two primary types of enterprise offerings. A standard subscription starts at $12.50 per month/user. Advanced plans come with more storage and security and will cost you $20 per month/user. Customized solutions may also be granted upon request.

2) Storage

Both OneDrive and Dropbox offer unlimited storage options, with OneDrive offering a wider variety of plans depending on whether you purchase OneDrive through Office 365.

One Drive offers a wide range of storage options. The standalone solution starts at 1 TB ($5/month/user). $10 gets you unlimited storage, with additional security and compliance capabilities. If you choose to purchase OneDrive through your Office 365 subscription, then you’ll find several other storage options based on the level of your agreement. The most basic level, Office 365 ProPlus, gets you 1 TB of storage. Ask for the Enterprise E3 subscription plan ($20/month/user) if you’re looking for unlimited storage.

Drobox offers two types of storage options. You can start with 3 TB ($12.50/month/user), and anything more than that automatically bumps you to unlimited storage through the Advanced package ($20/user/month).

3) File Sharing

File storage may be the key feature of OneDrive and Dropbox, but the ability to share and collaborate on files across teams and devices is equally important. Both platforms make it easy to share and co-author documents. This capability can help to significantly reduce the need for emailing back and forth and saving multiple drafts and copies on various systems.

However, each platform offers a unique approach to file sharing – so you’ll want to be sure you select a platform that works with your business work styles and preferences.

OneDrive makes it easy to share files with just one click. If you’re sharing internally, simply right-click and select “share” to email a link to a colleague. You may also save a link to share the document on your own. Both options provide the recipient access to edit the original document. By default, “allow editing” is turned on, but OneDrive comes with a number of admin settings to allow you to control who has access to view and edit each of your individual files.

DropBox also offers you the ability to save documents directly from Word or Excel, however, the workflow is slightly different. When you hover over the document, you’ll receive the option to share it with a recipient by entering their name. This provides the recipient a direct link to that document. The important distinction is when you want to copy the link and share it via your own means. With Dropbox, the link only provides the recipient with a COPY of the original document. Meaning, any changes they make will only affect their copy, but not your original file. While this may sound like a limitation, it’s not if you understand how the system is intended to be used and provide proper training to end-users. Access to view and edit documents is also available with Dropbox, however, it is controlled at the folder-level rather than the individual document level.

Which is better: OneDrive or Dropbox?

As you can see, OneDrive and Dropbox offer powerful opportunities for cloud-based file sharing at the business level. The choice ultimately comes down to what platform is best suited for your business environment. If most of your users are already accustomed to using Dropbox at an individual level, then Dropbox is a great choice because that it is what it was built to do. Then again, Microsoft has made great strides in the past few years to improve OneDrive while providing greater built-in collaboration and security options. If you’re already using Office 365 or intend leverage Office 365 in the future, then OneDrive would be the ideal choice.


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