Dropbox Business Advanced review: First-rate filesharing

Dave Mitchell

22 Jan, 2019

A great all-round business service with unlimited storage, smart collaboration tools and tight security

£15 exc VAT

It’s almost inevitable that most people will have encountered Dropbox at some stage, as it’s one of the most popular file sharing cloud platforms. For good reason too; Dropbox offers a great set of features with its Business plans adding essential collaboration tools and enhanced security.

We’re reviewing the Business Advanced plan which augments the Standard version with unlimited cloud storage, tiered admin roles and file event tracking. You can sign up for a 5-user, 30-day trial and Dropbox only wants your card details if you decide to keep it.

Adding new members to your team is a breeze as invitations are emailed directly from the admin console. After clicking on the link, users enter their name, choose a password and download the Dropbox app.

The whole process takes 5-6 minutes and each user is provided with a personal Dropbox folder and direct access to all shared folders they have permission to see. If permitted, they can also decide whether to save on hard disk space and have files only available online.

Their local Dropbox folder shows all files stored in the cloud which can then be downloaded for editing. The local option still stores the files in the cloud but also downloads them to their Dropbox folder for instant access.

File sharing features are excellent with the contents of any team folder initially available to all members. You can fine-tune this by deciding who is allowed to access and edit top level team folders and set sharing permissions right down to individual folders and files.

Link settings protect shared folders and files so you can decide who can see them, what editing privileges they have and whether they can post comments. They can be password protected and an expiry date set so the link then becomes unavailable.

Admin tasks can be delegated by adding privileges to selected members. User admins can add and remove team members and groups while support admins handle account password management and deleted file recovery requests.

File requests are a handy feature as you can ask anyone, including those without a Dropbox account, to send you a file. Just create an email request and the recipient chooses a local file and sends it to the Dropbox folder you specified in the request.

Dropbox Paper delivers great online document editing tools. It allows team members to create documents that can be viewed, shared and edited directly from the Dropbox web portal and exported in Word, PDF and Markdown formats.

Dropbox Badge supports Microsoft Office files, allows you to see who else is viewing and editing shared files on their desktop and lets you update your version with any changes they’ve made. It requires the Windows or Mac Dropbox agent loaded and adds an icon at the side of the document window which shows who else is accessing the document.

General access security is tight – admins can enable global password controls and choose the ‘moderate’ or ‘very strong’ setting. Dropbox compares their passwords with a pattern database and will stop weak or easily guessed passwords being used.

You can enable this feature at any time, while regular password changes can be enforced from the admin console with one click. There’s more: the plan also includes two-factor authentication (2FA) which uses unique six-digit security codes, while single sign-on (SSO) allows you to redirect user logins to identity providers that support SAML 2.0.

Businesses that want plenty of cloud collaboration tools and no limits on storage will love Dropbox Business Advanced. File sharing features are beyond reproach, it’s easy to manage and account security doesn’t get much tougher either.