5 Reasons Why Dropbox Is Better Than Traditional File Servers for Small Businesses
With hybrid-work arrangements becoming a norm in most countries, many businesses have relooked and revamped their work processes and equipment. One large area that many business owners are concerned about is digital storage.
If you are still using the traditional file servers (e.g. a common shared folder that only grants access through VPN and the like), and you are thinking of having a file replacement, here are 5 main reasons why Dropbox might be a better solution for your business needs.
Before exploring the pros of using Dropbox, we explain the main differences between Dropbox and NAS Servers below.
What is Dropbox?
Cloud-based storage is probably something you are quite familiar with. Whether it is for work projects, you might have experienced working with Google Drive, iCloud or Microsoft One Drive.
Just like these servers, Dropbox provides digital storage, access, and collaborative functions. Since 2007, Dropbox has been a popular choice for both individuals and professionals, especially because of its seamless integrations and easy access anywhere, anytime.
What is a Traditional File Server (also known as NAS Server)?
In direct competition with cloud-based storage is the Network Attached Storage (NAS) Server. Just like the services mentioned above, NAS Servers provide digital storage and access to groups – but requires you to have a hard-disk drive, either installed in the work computer or access via a digital tool known as the Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Main Differences Between Dropbox and NAS Servers
|Area of Comparison||Dropbox||NAS Server|
|Installation||Download the Dropbox application||Requires professional installation|
|Power and Physical Space Requirements||Internet||Requires electricity and physical space|
|Storage||Cloud-based (accessible via the Internet)||Hard Disk (needs a specific device)|
|Maintenance||All handled by Dropbox||Requires frequent maintenance on both hardware and software|
|Accessibility||As long as you have Internet||Requires VPN|
|Storage Capacity||Unlimited||Tagged to the storage capacity you paid for|
|Automatic and immediate. Good for collaboration||Requires an additional feature to program the NAS server to automatically copy files. |
Collaboration is possible.
|Data Security||Encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encrypted Standard (AES). Has an option to also include Single Sign-On integration, 2FA||Requires VPN access|
|Data Back-Up||Dropbox Back-Up||Separate backup and protection (For added safety, requires another hard disk to mirror the data)|
|Running applications||Not able to run applications and software||Can run applications and software|
5 Reasons Why Dropbox Is Better For Your Needs
If you are currently using a NAS Server, here are 5 reasons why we think Dropbox might meet your needs better.
1. Work Anywhere, Anytime (with Just A Laptop)
With remote work becoming the norm, Dropbox ticks all the checkboxes when it comes to providing a productive and optimal collaboration and data storage between teams.
Dropbox’s state-of-the-art security and integration make it a winner in terms of hassle-free access to secured work files. You no longer have to worry about having all the right devices with you – whether it is your work laptop, VPN, security token, docking stations, etc. All you need is just your laptop and Internet access to get things going.
In comparison, with the NAS Server, you (and/or your employees) will need to have a host of NAS Server attachments with you. This may make remote working a problem, as you will need sufficient space, and have all the right equipment with you.
2. Stay in Sync Always (Never Lose Data Again)
Have you ever lost data because you forgot to manually save it, or worse still, had colleagues working on the same document at the same time, and then losing the most updated version?
These are some of the common frustrations among users of NAS Servers. Most of the time, such incidents mean that workers have to spend extra time to work on the same document again (or for savvy workers, simply re-uploading them on the shared network from their personal laptops).
However, in some unfortunate circumstances, it can mean losing critical data that will require days, weeks, or even a month to retrieve.
Dropbox makes such a frustrating feature a thing of the past. As everything is based on the cloud, it is able to sync any changes or new files automatically and immediately.
There will be no need to rename documents to different versions, nor worry about whether all changes are saved. The best thing is that the automatic syncing feature is available to all you share the account with – whether it is your client, external partners and teams.
3. Work Seamlessly (Integrations with All Apps)
Another feature we like about Dropbox, is its ability to integrate seamlessly with all applications. Many of us are used to working on Google documents, and even some organizational apps like Trello, ClickUp, etc. One of the best things about Dropbox is that you do not have to discard all these applications from your work. In fact, you can access all of them through Dropbox.
With NAS Servers, you may find that you have to toggle between many applications frequently. You have to download a Google document and upload it as a Word document onto your shared network.
You might have to even use Google Drive with your teams for real-time synchronous work. And your team might still need to get onto other applications for other important matters. If this is something that prevents you and your team from working productively, Dropbox will be the solution to your frustrations.
4. Protect Data With Your Chosen Security Policy
One of the most common fears that people have with Cloud-based storage is data protection. As many businesses deal with critical data, whether it is private information from your clients, confidential documents and the like, this is the biggest barrier for switching to cloud-based storage for most people.
With Dropbox, you can be assured that your data is securely protected. Dropbox also has many layers of security, most notably the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). It is also regularly tested and checked for security vulnerabilities. The best thing about it is that you get to choose your security policy, whether it is through the Single Sign-On (SSO) integration, or even using a 2FA.
With NAS Servers, data is largely protected via the device and its attachments. Unwanted access to the data is still possible if someone gets hold of the device and the VPN password. This actually makes it less safe than we believe it to be. If you decide on using a 2FA policy with Dropbox, unwanted access to your company’s confidential data is less likely to happen.
5. Save Costs
A common misconception between business owners is that cloud-based storage is more expensive than using NAS Servers. If we look only at the purchase price, Dropbox may seem more expensive as it requires a recurring payment, compared to a one-time purchase of a NAS hardware.
However, these are some other financial commitments that using a NAS Server requires: hardware maintenance, software maintenance, power/cooling costs, and labour costs. If your company has a large employee base, you may also have to pay additional costs for increasing the bandwidth.
Secondly, NAS Servers are known to last only 3-5 years. This means that you have to factor this into your company budget to replace the servers every 3 years (for safety).
How much does it cost in total to use a NAS Server, even if we are looking at the lower complexity spectrum? We look at the estimated costs below.
|Purchase of NAS Server|
(Reputable NAS Servers cost between $400-2100.)
|Purchase of an identical NAS Server for backup purposes||$600|
|Outsourced IT support||$400/month|
|Power and cooling costs (approximately 30kW for operating, 12 hours of operation per day)||30 kW x 30 days, $0.20 (/kWh) = $180/month|
We worked out the total costs of running a NAS Server of both high and low complexity below. In summary, a 1-year NAS server estimated cost is $7360 for one of low complexity. In comparison, purchasing a Dropbox Advance plan is $326.40 per user, per year (requires a minimum of 3 users). This is a money-saving option for small to medium business enterprises (those with less than 200 employees), especially those without an in-house IT support staff. Read more about how Web Imp helped one company, Reveres, to make the switch to Dropbox and substantially reduced the IT costs.
Wondering if Dropbox is a good fit?
If you are still wondering if dropbox is a good fit for your needs, Web Imp is able to provide a free demo for you and your company. The free demo session will teach you how to use Dropbox Business for Cloud Storage and Backup, File Sharing, Team Collaboration, and digital transformation. You can also use the PSG grant to purchase Dropbox Business. Drop us an email to find out more!