File-Sharing Best Practices: Google Drive and Dropbox

It’s no surprise to most entrepreneurs that Google Drive and Dropbox are the two giants of the file-sharing scene, but what may come as a surprise is how frequently the services are used together. About 32% of the Stacklist community uses both Google Drive and Dropbox for file sharing, and that number is even higher for midsized startups. About 50% of all Series A companies and 42% of Series B companies use both Dropbox and Drive for different purposes, much like Kickstarter. “We use Google Drive for collaboration and sharing live content,” says Bridget Best, Kickstarter’s Director of Finance, “while Dropbox is for record-keeping and sharing our archives.”  

Why do companies use both Google Drive and Dropbox?
Many startups we’ve spoken to use Drive for real-time collaboration, paired with Dropbox for sharing and more permanent storage. “Google Drive is just brilliant,” exclaims Geert DeBecker, Founder and CEO of EventBrowse.com. “You can share everything with anyone, anywhere and there's no synchronizing to be done. It syncs as it happens. I use Dropbox as well, but just for personal files because with Google Drive, sharing and processing is all happening at the same time.  Dropbox is just for sharing.”  

It’s not all sunshine and roses, however; a number of founders take issue with the organization of both platforms, though most people find it difficult to escape the Google Drive/Dropbox net. Voxy Co-founder and VP of Operations Gregg Carey, a user of Drive, notes that “Google Drive is a little messy because it's so easy to create new docs. It works, but it doesn’t have a long shelf life. At some point, the clutter will catch up to us and we'll have to look into other options.” Another unatisfied user, James Rohrbach of Fluent City states, “I’m not satisfied with Google Drive. Document management on Google Drive is not great compared to the integration on Dropbox, but the switching costs to get everyone off of Drive is preventing us from changing things. And there’s no escaping it--the Google ecosystem just keeps you more and more enclosed. As a result, my files have never been more disorganized than they are right now.”

The next most common reason that a company will use both Dropbox and Google Drive is for the sake of its clients. “Our customers upload stuff to us all of the time, so we have accounts for Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box so that our customers can use whichever one they already have,” says Benji Markoff, CEO of Founder Shield. Founders tell us that clients in certain industries, including finance, insurance and healthcare, who require strict industry compliance, are unable to use install Dropbox for a number of reasons, making Google Drive the more flexible option.

There are a number of reasons why a company would opt to use both Dropbox and Google Drive, both for their clients and for their own business and personal use. Before making your decision, consider your own needs as a company--in terms of collaborating and archiving--and the way in which your clients prefer to exchange files.