Review: Box beats Dropbox -- and all the rest -- for business

Box trumps Dropbox, Egnyte, Citrix ShareFile, EMC Syncplicity, and OwnCloud with rich mix of file sync, file sharing, user management, deep reporting, and enterprise integration

In the beginning, there was Dropbox, and enterprises far and wide were appalled. How dare corporate and business users make use of a file sync and sharing service that's meant for consumers? But the convenience and flexibility of Dropbox were hard to ignore, and soon file repository services for businesses of all sizes began to spring up.

As the number of file storage services for businesses and enterprises has mushroomed, so have the options they provide and the third-party services they can leverage. (It's an app world, after all.) Today, the problem is more of too many choices than too few.

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In this article we'll look at five enterprise-level file sync and sharing services (Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Citrix's ShareFile, and EMC's Syncplicity), as well as one system you deploy on your own hardware (OwnCloud). What we found is heartening. There really is a storage service for just about every need.

Business-level sync and storage services focus on delivering features that will be valuable to a connected enterprise. Single sign-on capabilities let you use your organization's existing credentialing system (typically Active Directory) to log in. Activity logging and reporting let you see at a glance who's doing what, while granular permissions help you make sure people aren't doing things they shouldn't. However, not all these solutions deliver the same features in the same ways. Reporting, for instance, varies enormously across the products.

It may come as no surprise that Box is the leading contender in this space. Its feature set and third-party integrations rise above the rest, and it offers some of the most granular reporting, permissions, and user management features of any competing service. Syncplicity and Egnyte aren't far behind, with Syncplicity leveraging its close integration with EMC storage solutions, while Egnyte provides generous storage allotments and a well-wrought UI.

ShareFile's biggest drawback is its astonishingly small storage allotments, compared to the other products here, although its management capabilities and app selection are excellent. Dropbox for Business isn't a bad product -- it may well be the easiest solution for those looking to convert a batch of existing users into a working team -- but it's severely hampered by poor reporting. And though OwnCloud is a novel solution, it not only lags the others in features but also requires you to do some heavy lifting. Consider it if you're planning on hosting or building something around it.

Whether it's ease, flexibility, transparency, granular control, integrations with existing systems, or rich mobile support, all of these solutions have something to recommend them. Read on for the full reviews. 

InfoWorld Scorecard
Security and management (20.0%)
Setup (10.0%)
Third-party integrations (20.0%)
Auditing and reporting (20.0%)
Value (10.0%)
Ease of use (20.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
Box 9.0 8.0 8.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.7
Citrix ShareFile 8.0 7.0 9.0 8.0 7.0 8.0 8.0
Dropbox for Business 7.0 9.0 8.0 5.0 7.0 9.0 7.4
Egnyte 8.0 8.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 9.0 8.1
EMC Syncplicity 8.0 8.0 9.0 8.0 8.0 9.0 8.4
OwnCloud 7.0 6.0 7.0 7.0 8.0 7.0 7.0
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