Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud for Business, and Google Drive are the most popular cloud sharing apps and platforms for the legal sector and for the wider business community in general.
There is however not a great deal of difference between the platforms each company offers for consumers and for companies leading many in the legal sector to consider packages like ShareFile.
In this article, Sprout IT provides a brief overview of the five platforms together with our contact number for advice and support on deciding which service or combination of services would offer your practice or chambers the best value for money and the required functionality.
In the minds of many, Dropbox is the company synonymous with the rise of cloud computing and storage. It is intentionally platform neutral and offers no more than the ability to remotely restore and retrieve files and folders. It’s very easy to use and it costs from $9.99 a month for one terabyte of storage.
Unlike the following three options, users cannot collaborate on any documents – this is storage and nothing more.
Designed as the online distribution and storage companion for Windows users. OneDrive is included as part of the overall package for users and companies with Office 365 subscriptions. Office365 offers both online and downloadable versions of the familiar Microsoft Office programmes in their newest incarnations and, for the first time, facilitates online collaboration on Office docs.
You pay by user and charges are $9.99 per month per head including Office365 subscription and 1TB of storage. There are compatible versions of OneDrive and the Office 365 software for Mac and iOS devices but user reviews online for them and their usability has been lukewarm at best.
As with most Apple services, the iCloud works best if it’s part of a wider Apple ecosystem your firm is operating. The iCloud gives you access to iWorks documents, notes, calendars, photos, and other data and files you choose to store in it. There are Windows and Android compatible versions of the iCloud but the general consensus from the trials we have run on it is that Apple works with Apple best. There is not a lot of take-up of the iWorks formats within legal practices and barristers chambers, let alone many commercial or domestic clients you’ll work with, so the value of that feature is limited.
At time of writing, users can purchase 2 terabytes worth of paid storage for $9.99 a month.
Unlike the low adoption we’ve seen with the iWorks format, there has been much wider adoption of the Google set of Microsoft Office-type online document formats like Docs (word processor), Sheets (spreadsheets), and Slides (PowerPoint competitor). All of these formats allow remote collaborative working by colleagues you invite to participate.
Your Google Drive will also store and retrieve any other documents or data subject to the limit of the storage you’ve paid for. At time of writing, 2 terabytes costs $9.99 a month and 10TB costs $99.99 per month. It’s a great system but we can’t see why it costs ten times as much to buy five times more storage space.
Many users on the internet report that the uploading process can be painfully slow.
ShareFile by Citrix offers synchronisation, file sharing, and content collaboration capabilities. Designed from the ground-up for businesses to aid with workflow and document-centred tasks, ShareFile offers a mixture of on-premises and cloud-based storage, client portals, and virtual data rooms.
Prices start from £16.00 per user per month and ShareFile can be deployed on Windows, Mac, Android, IOS, the cloud, and SaaS platforms.
As legal IT specialists, we recommend Sharefile as the most secure file sharing and storing option for legal firms and Barristers' Chambers.
Which solution is best for your practice or Chambers?
Whichever solution you choose for your practice or chambers, it has to marry functionality, storage space, ease of access, GDPR-compliance, and cybersecurity requirements. Sprout IT's Private Cloud Solution offers a range of tailored services, delivered in the most secure way possible. We support your entire business including strategy, compliance, connectivity and process.