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Dropbox is the world’s most popular cloud storage provider. Their cloud-based servers allow millions of businesses and individuals to store their files or documents in virtual memory, making them accessible anywhere in the world.
However, Dropbox isn’t the only cloud storage game in town. Microsoft’s OneDrive and Google Drive are well-known alternatives, while many smaller cloud storage apps have emerged in recent years.
This blog will discuss whether Dropbox is secure, while suggesting 10 leading options if you need a Dropbox alternative. That way, you should be able to find a cloud storage option which keeps your vital documents safe and accessible to whoever needs them.
Why would you need to use an alternative to Dropbox?
Security is the major motivation which drives people to find a Dropbox alternative.
But we’re not talking about vulnerability to IP address “sniffing” here. Dropbox has implemented 256-bit AES encryption for all data stored on their servers. They also use TLS/SSL and 128-bit AES encryption for data transmissions to and from their servers. That’s a decent level of security.
The problems are more concerned with the access Dropbox has to your data.
In 2013, researchers found that the storage service had opened numerous .doc files after they were uploaded.
The company has also instituted policies which actively prevent the sharing of copyrighted material – so to achieve this they must have invasive systems in place to scan files.
Moreover, the whistleblower Edward Snowden flagged the storage company as insecure in 2014, advising users to “get rid of Dropbox”. For him, the possibility of collaboration with government agencies was a pressing reason to find a secure Dropbox alternative.
Top 10 best Dropbox alternatives in 2021
Having run through some of the criteria to consider when finding an alternative to Dropbox, what are the best providers in 2021? Here’s our selection of the top 10 cloud storage options:
pCloud is probably the best Dropbox alternative around. Based in privacy-mad Switzerland, they let you “rewind” to recover lost documents, allow syncing, and are optimized for collaboration. If you pay a little extra for the pCloud Crypto service, you’ll also get industry-leading security. However, free accounts do not include 256-bit AES encryption, leaving data unprotected.
SugarSync’s file versioning and excellent syncing systems make it ideal for complex business projects. Sign-ups receive 5GB of free storage during a 90-day free trial, while the service operates a “zero knowledge” policy, ensuring that staff won’t peek into documents. The drawbacks? There’s no document editor, and the price might be a little steep for some.
Boosted by Edward Snowden’s endorsement, SpiderOak are among the elite cloud storage options. You can easily sync backups from specific hard drives and folders, while end-to-end encryption guarantees a strong degree of security. It’s also zero knowledge – so it’s a great Dropbox alternative for anyone concerned about privacy.
Founded in 2005, Box has long been a genuine alternative to Dropbox, catering for over half of Fortune 500 companies. Thanks to recent “Box Skills” updates, it’s now very well adapted for managing multiple file types. Security is another selling point, with full at-rest encryption and key wrapping – adding another layer of security for data in transit.
5. Team Drive
Team Drive may be the best Dropbox alternative for people on a budget. Sign-ups receive 2GB of free storage but can upgrade to 10GB by recommending friends to the service, and this can be expanded to 1TB relatively cheaply. There are no editing tools, but if you need a stripped-down cloud storage service, it works really well.
Mainly used as a backup for business files, CloudMe fulfils that function well. Based in privacy-conscious Sweden, their free plan features 3GB of storage – but there’s no encryption, so you’ll have to encrypt files yourself before storing them.
7. Amazon CloudDrive
Amazon’s Dropbox alternative is a good place to store multimedia files, and the recent introduction of syncing makes it much better for students and business users. You’ll start with 5GB of free storage (and unlimited storage for photos), and the UI is extremely easy to use. But there’s no at rest encryption, so it may not be the most secure Dropbox alternative available.
Much more basic than Dropbox, MediaFire don’t allow syncing with local desktops, and its security policies are fairly opaque. But with 10GB of free storage up front, and low prices to add extra space, it’s a popular budget cloud storage option.
9. Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive offers excellent Microsoft Office integration (as you’d expect), and it’s excellent for storing all file types – including movies, photos and documents. There’s even a Kodi add-on which makes playing movies from OneDrive easy. But beware: Microsoft scan for copyright material. Worse, they offer zero encryption for ordinary subscribers. So security is a major failing.
10. Google Drive
With its combination of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation making tools, Google’s cloud storage system is full of handy business features. There’s 15GB of free storage space, and the live chat feature is great for real-time collaboration. AES-256 encryption is standard, and two factor authentication can be applied as well. However, Google decrypt and scan documents before they are stored, which may raise some security alarm bells. And they also have total access to the content of stored documents.
How to find the best Dropbox alternative
These problems aren’t unique to Dropbox, and finding a Dropbox alternative that is more private and dependable isn’t simple. When searching for a secure Dropbox alternative, there are some things you need to look for.
Firstly, encryption is essential. As we’ve seen, Dropbox themselves score pretty highly here, and any alternative to Dropbox should at least match their 256-bit encryption and use of TSL/SSL.
Two factor authentication procedures are also essential, to ensure that attackers cannot access Cloud accounts. And it’s reassuring to see cloud storage companies who are open about the code they use. The more information, the better is a good maxim to remember.
Another shorthand reference point is ISO 27001. Any secure Dropbox alternative will have achieved this certification, which provides assurance that their risk management practices are up to scratch.
Naturally, security isn’t everything. You’ll also want a full range of features which compares with what Dropbox has to offer. So look for editing suites, one-click file sharing, easy syncing with hard drives, rollback features to return to earlier document versions, and the ability to hook up multiple devices.
If you’re worried about the security or pricing features of Dropbox, find an alternative cloud storage provider and put your mind at rest. As we’ve seen, there are similar options from big names like Box, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. However, our picks for the best Dropbox alternative are smaller, more security-focused providers. Go for pCloud, SugarSync or SpiderOak, and your files should be totally secure.
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Mikaela is an investigative journalist that likes to cover the ever-changing world of technology. She tries to keep her finger on the pulse of digital trends and share her insights on the most relevant topics, including big tech, security, privacy, and data breaches.