Cloud storage Box could become a threat for Dropbox and Microsoft SkyDrive

August 23, 2013 |

To become more attractive for private users and small businesses, the cloud storage provider Box has expanded its pricing model. Immediately in addition to the existing plans for private, business and enterprise customers a Starter plan can be selected as well, which is interesting for both small businesses and freelancers as well as private customers.

Private customers get more free storage, small businesses a new plan

The offer for private users has been increased from formerly free 5GB to 10GB. In addition, the portfolio was extended with a new Starter plan, which should be target at smaller companies. This offers 100GB disk space for 1 to max. 10 users per company account for $ 5 per user per month.

Box, that addressed large companies in the first place, thus hoped that smaller enterprise customers and consumers increased to store their data in the cloud, rather than save it to error-prone local media. According to CEO Aaron Levie, Box is particularly driven by the issues of information and collaboration. Whether it is a global corporation, a small business or a freelancer, in the end it is important that you are able to share content and access it securely and reliably from anywhere, so Levie.

The new Starter plan is just a hook

To be honest, the new Starter plan is very interesting as it meets the needs of a specific target group. However, these are not small companies, but definitely private users and freelancers. The features that are offered around the storage are definitely on enterprise level. In addition to various safety features (no end-to-end encryption) at different levels, integration options over apps on the basis of an ecosystem of third party developers are available. However, 100GB are far too little for small businesses, especially since this account is designed for 1 to 10 users. 10 GB per user is very scarce very quickly. In addition, many other interesting and important features for businesses are offered just with the next plan “Business” for $15 per user per month. Where at least three users are need to set up. This will include 1000GB storage and other security functions on folder and file level per user, integration into an Active Directory, Google Apps and Salesforce, an advanced user management, etc. So, at the end of the day, the Starter plan just serves as a hook to drum up business customer.

On the other hand, this plan is a very interesting deal for private users and freelancers who need more features at a cheaper price and a similar performance like Dropbox. Since, although the free plan was extended to 10GB, but the free limit of 50GB has been dropped. Who now needs more than 10GB must buy 100GB for $10 per month. It therefore makes a lot more sense for private users to opt for a Starter plan and only pay $5 per month or $60 per year.

The Starter plan may well ensure that Dropbox and Microsoft SkyDrive losing market share if this renewal gets around. Particular SkyDrive should dress up warmly. Although Microsoft’s cloud storage is well integrated with the Windows operating systems and continues to be the cheapest on the market. However, SkyDrive is very slow and the user experience is below average. Just to highlight a tiny but crucial detail that makes Box simply better. Transparency, what is happening in the background. By way of comparison: Box has a small app for Windows in which the status is displayed. Here you can see: the progress in percent; the approximate time until the upload is completed; the file that is being processed; how many files need to be processed; how many files are processed in total. Microsoft SkyDrive shows nothing of this. The user is completely left in the dark.

Dropbox is known as performance king. Also the ease of use is good. Nevertheless, the Box Starter plan, due to its extended functional possibilities at a cheaper price and a similar performance, has certainly the potential to compete Dropbox.

Note: Due to the current security situation, it is pointed out that Box is a U.S. based provider and the data is stored in the United States. Although, the data is stored server side encrypted. However, Box doesn’t offer an end-to-end encryption (only SSL during transmission). The key for on Box’ infrastructure encrypted data are owned by Box and not by the user. For this reason, Box has the opportunity to decode the data independent to allow third parties access it anytime.

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Category: Analysis

About the Author ()

Rene Buest is Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, covering cloud computing and IT infrastructures. He is member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network, top cloud computing blogger in Germany and one of the worldwide top 50 bloggers in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter. For more than 16 years he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies. Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional cloud computing and technology articles, speaker and participant of experts rounds. On CloudUser.de he writes about topics from the fields of cloud computing, it-infrastructures, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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