Drop Box, Zoom, Slack – Alternatives
Many of our clients have been using a combination of services to meet their needs. The most common data need we hear about is sharing documents with field crew leaders, Project Managers working remotely, and pulling up documents when on the job site. To meet these needs, companies have subscribed to Zoom for remote meetings, to Dropbox for shared data, Slack to have on-demand chat features, and email to send copies so others can see, make changes, and send new versions back with edits.
Usually they start out with the ‘free’ version of these products. In some cases, these are personal accounts just to move things along and meet the need of the moment. Before long, others in the company are using these accounts, sharing logon credentials, often with no security or backups. Then the accounts become a necessary part of doing business (not just to meet an immediate need) and you have to upgrade to the paid versions; completely understandable.
By this point in time, there are a couple of things that are out of control and need attention. Let’s start with the personal accounts. If your data is under someone’s personal account (or several people are using their personal accounts), and it’s your company data, you do not have any control. In fact, you’re at risk if their work relationship with you changes. You’re also at risk if that data is compromised in any way (accidentally deleted, corrupted, or even encrypted by hackers).
Many of the shared accounts such as Dropbox have some security setup issues. If someone is using a personal Dropbox account with your company data, you don’t have control and it may or may not be password protected. It probably isn’t backed up, either.
Let’s stay with Dropbox for a few minutes. Is there one logon and password that everyone shares? Then you have NO security; everyone can see everything; anyone can change the password; you will have conflicts if multiple people need to be on at the same time.
If you have a business account with Dropbox, that’s a good step in the right direction; we have a few questions for you. When was the last time you updated the Administrator password? If you have a password, is it a strong one and has it ever been shared with others? When was the last time you reviewed the access policies on the file folders? When documents are shared with others outside your organization, what safeguards do you have in place?
Now let’s talk about money. If you pay for Zoom, Dropbox, and maybe Slack, what are some options to save some money? Let’s start with email.
If you have M365 email, your subscription dollars already include some tools that are awesome and can replace some things we’ve listed above. For instance, instead of paying for Zoom, even the M365 Basic license has Teams. Through Teams, you have the ability to have meetings with one or more people in your organization, and even invite outsiders as guests; no more Zoom. Also with Teams, you can Chat with anyone in your organization at any time. You can even design various Teams so your Chat sessions are with a small group, a whole team, or just one-on-one; no more Slack.
One more savings—M365, even the Basic license level, includes OneDrive and SharePoint; no more Dropbox! OneDrive is similar to the local ‘My Documents’ you have on your computer (or a user drive on a network). The documents in OneDrive are ‘mine’ and I can choose to share if I wish. If you’ve added our third party backup to your Microsoft license (and you need to do this), those OneDrive files are included in the backup, too! What about sharing documents? Implement SharePoint along with various security features. This takes some planning with one of our Techs. The time will be well worth the investment. You can create the structure for the Shared documents, set up security rights and restrictions, then move or add documents to SharePoint. Your team can collaborate together at the same time (no more saving versions, re-sending, and keeping track!). These documents can be shared with people outside the organization. You can even put restrictions on certain files to limit or completely restrict sharing.
Maybe you’re not using M365 for email. You can always migrate over, but maybe you just love G-Suite and don’t want to put your team through a change. OK, we understand. You might still consider an M365 Basic license. Even without email, you’ll get Teams (no more Zoom or Slack) and OneDrive/SharePoint (no more Dropbox). Add the backup service (you need it) and you may reduce the load and data on your server and server backups AND save money! – CMW