If your data exists only on the hard drive inside your computer, then that data is at risk. Physical damage, malware or even the wrong software update can wipe out your entire system. Imagine losing your family photos, music library, financial documents and more in the blink of an eye!
This is why cloud storage, also known as online backup, is so vital for your personal security. With cloud storage, your data can never truly be destroyed. This is because your data is securely stored on multiple servers across the country or even around the world.
Finding the best online backup provider is obviously very important. But how should you go about finding a cloud storage provider suitable for your needs? One easy way is to directly compare two popular providers.
Today we’re going to take a look at SpiderOak and Dropbox:
First, let’s just get this out of the way: We have no idea why this company is named SpiderOak. But behind the somewhat unusual name is a small, professional team dedicated to private and secure online backup.
SpiderOak is a U.S.-based company headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with additional offices in San Francisco and Chicago. They were founded in 2007, which actually makes them a veteran of the cloud storage industry. The company currently employs about 40 people and was founded by the duo of Alan Fairless and Ethan Oberman. Most of the employees work virtually. This means the small team is able to provide service basically around-the-clock seven days a week.
Like many cloud storage companies, SpiderOak offers a free option. You get 2 GB of storage completely free for 60 days. As we’ll discuss later, this is great because some SpiderOak features are a little hard to use at first.
- File Sharing
- Custom Backup Options
- Fast Speeds
- Unlimited Computers
- Private Encryption
When many people think of cloud storage, they think of Dropbox. This is one of the original cloud storage providers. Today over 300 million people, in basically every type of industry, use Dropbox for file synchronization, online backup and more.
Dropbox first hit the market in 2007 and was fairly successful right away. They’ve always made ease-of-use and dependability two top priorities. Combined with their free plans and it’s easy to see why Dropbox is preferred by such a diverse group of organizations.
Dropbox has dual headquarters in both Austin and San Francisco. The company’s initial funds came from Amidza, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. With their recent release of Dropbox for Business, the company is entering a new stage of potential growth.
- Unlimited Storage
- Compliant with Major Regulations
- Private Encryption
- Incremental Backup
- Mobile App
Which Company is Easier to Use?
Online backup is only worthwhile is used frequently. The best way to ensure your backups are always up-to-date is to choose a provider which makes storage easy. You’ll want automated backup abilities, flexibility, an intuitive design and quick access to customer support when necessary.
SpiderOak offers a variety of pretty sophisticated storage options and backup features. This includes a high degree of backup customization (related to timing, file type, etc.) as well as many fairly intricate security features. Learning to use it all isn’t going to happen overnight. To get the most out of SpiderOak, you’ll need to spend some time exploring the software and reading the support documentation.
Dropbox is far simpler. During installation, a dedicated folder and icon is placed on your desktop. Whatever files you want to store are simply dropped into your dropbox. Aside from backup, Dropbox makes file syncing and sharing easy, too.
If you’re looking purely for ease of use, choose Dropbox. Their platform is straightforward and intuitive. Immediately after installation, you’ll be able to drag files into the Dropbox folder and start backup right away.
Which Company is Fastest?
Not all cloud storage moves at the same pace. Some providers allow instant file syncing while others offer a slower retrieval process for larger backups. Instant file syncing and file versioning will give you the most flexibility about which documents are capable for retrieval.
SpiderOak is a bit unique in one way. They only provide a desktop app. This is designed to enhance user security. But no mobile implementation also limits your ability to manage and backup your files on the go.
Dropbox offers unlimited file recover and unlimited file versioning. There’s a 30 day back limit, but this is offered even with their free plan. With file versioning, multiple people can work on the same document with ease.
SpiderOak is more secure but Dropbox is faster to use day to day. If you value speed above all, Dropbox provides instant file syncing and file versioning. The entire platform is designed to get your cloud storage up and running quickly.
Is One Company More Reliable than the Other?
You’re trusting your provider with important data. In the case of zero knowledge security, such as with SpiderOak, the provider has no idea what data you’re storing. Still, they need to provide reliable, secure access. This means servers which are always online and safe from both physical and virtual damage.
SpiderOak takes great pride in their commitment to user security. Any blow to their reputation would damage their entire business model. With zero knowledge security, they are incapable of knowing what data you’re storing. This is in addition to their sterling reputation for guarding user privacy.
Dropbox is synonymous with cloud storage. They’re not going out of business any time soon. Their network of servers is likely among the most secure in the world in terms of physical storage. They also offer an extensive support base with a variety of documentation and contact options.
Both Dropbox and SpiderOak are extremely reliable, but in different ways. SpiderOak can be counted on to protect your data. In fact, they don’t even have an option of knowing what you’re storing. You should rely on them if user privacy is your top priority. Dropbox is reliable in terms of their size and long-standing reputation. They have the longest track record of practically any cloud storage service.
What Kind of Features are Offered?
Do you want to customize, encrypt and otherwise manage your data? Or you do you want to hit install, select a few options and let the platform do the heavy lifting? More features aren’t always the best options. You want only features which you’ll use; more can just get in the way.
SpiderOak’s main focus is, of course, user security and privacy. But SpiderOak excels in other areas. They also offer file syncing from unlimited computers, data which is always controlled and a variety of options for customizing your backup schedule.
Generally speaking, Dropbox emphasizes ease-of-use over extensive customization. Practically the entire platform runs automatically from installation on. You can do some scheduling and sharing but don’t expect anything nearly as extensive as SpiderOak.
If you’re basing your selection entirely on features, choose SpiderOak. They offer the most options. However, if you’re looking for a more streamlined approach, Dropbox will store your data quicker and easier.
How Does Each Company Handle Security?
You want to make sure your files are kept private. This means local security, which is encryption for your files on your PC. You’ll also want a provider with server side encryption, which protects your files while in storage. Cloud security is a combination of the technology and provider company policy.
Dropbox is secure enough to protect your personal files, but most Dropbox services aren’t likely secure enough to store medical, financial or other sensitive data. They use 128-bit AES encryption with a SSL/ TLS secure tunnel for data transmission.
SpiderOak offers equally impressive technology alongside a very clear, thorough policy about customer privacy. Your data is protected over SSL in-transit and stored in their servers while still in an encrypted state. Unauthorized users, including the entire SpiderOak team, is unable to access your data. Your files are “simply containers of encrypted data.”
We feel the secure platform here is SpiderOak. Their security is impressive on a technical level. But what we really like is their stated and proven commitment to user privacy. This is a company which will protect your data no matter what.
What Are the Differences in Pricing?
SpiderOak offers a 60 day free trial with 2 GB of space. Of course, two months isn’t enough for long-term storage. They do offer paid plans starting at $7 for 30 GB and going up to $25 for 5 TB.
Dropbox has always offered a substantial free plan, which helps explain their widespread use. All users get 2 GB of free storage which you can use as long as you like. A terabyte of space is available for $9.99 a month.
While Dropbox does have a free plan, if you’re looking for a lot of features SpiderOak is a great deal. They offer a lot of storage space for a low price. However, ultimately if price is your main concern we have to recommend Dropbox. After all, free is free.
So, Which Do We Like Better?
Dropbox does a lot of things well. The platform is easy to use, provides multi-user access and supports unlimited file versioning and archiving. Plus, they offer a robust, powerful free plan which many individuals will find very useful.
But we’re actually going to recommend SpiderOak overall. They offer a variety of powerful security features including zero knowledge and a commitment to user privacy. Plus, they offer a lot for a little – 500 GB of storage for under 10 bucks a month.
SpiderOak does have a higher learning curve when compared to Dropbox. They also only offer a 60-day free trail. But their low prices, high security and powerful features are worth a closer look. If you’re interested in cloud storage which does more than the basics, look to SpiderOak.