The battle to displace Dropbox rages on

cloud-service-chess

Sometimes it seems like there are more vendors trying to upend Dropbox than there are customers willing to try them. Some apply additional security, encryption, or what-have-you to make your cloud storage (usually Dropbox) more palatable to IT. Others just want to cut to the chase and replace Dropbox altogether. Given people’s love of that product, that’s going to be a tough row to hoe.

Let’s recap who’s doing what. On Tuesday, Boxcryptor, which encrypts user files for storage elsewhere, said it plans to add support for Windows Phone, Windows RT and Blackberry 10 — it already supports Windows, Mac OSX, Android, iOS and Google Chrome clients.

In theory that means users with those devices can securely send data to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (aka SkyDrive)  and other repositories. BoxCryptor competitors include nCrypted Cloud and others.

Cloud computing / in the cloud / cloud storage

Also on Tuesday, AeroFS which falls into another camp in this same battle — companies that offer Dropbox-like services without actually using Dropbox — announced new features. First, it unveiled auditing that will let companies track all usage within the AeroFS Private Cloud for regulatory purposes. Second, it launched an API that will let third-parties build collaborative services that hook into that cloud.

AeroFS pitches its product users who want to avoid those backend clouds altogether and instead use a network of their own servers to store important data.

Accellion, another player in the IT-friendly file-sync space which differentiated itself from others by actually charging for its services, last month announced Kiteworks. The new product aims to lets users share file securely via mobile devices with corporate repositories like SharePoint Online and EMC Documentum. No Dropbox in sight.

And, OxygenDrive is pitching a do-it-yourself cloud option using its Odrive with Microsoft Windows Azure or file servers, or “even an old laptop.” Another contender, Egnyte, pushes its hybrid cloud solution as a business-friendly alternative to Dropbox, just expanded its global operations.

You’re going to need a scorecard

Clearly there’s a lot of action here. Upstarts are rushing to combine Dropbox-like ease of use in a package that’s palatable to IT departments and regulators. Box is the giant here, with its $2 billion valuation and IPO plans. But Dropbox, with its reported $10 billion valuation, remains the target — and it’s not standing still. It’s adding more enterprise friendly features like Active Directory integration and other perks to Dropbox for Business which as of November claimed 4 million users (out of a total of 200 million Dropbox users overall.)

Some say it has a long way to go, however. Security vendor Skyhigh Networks is working with the Cloud Security Alliance to certify cloud services as to their enterprise worthiness — a sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And Dropbox, said Skyhigh CEO Rajiv Gupta, does not make the cut.

Note: this story was updated at 11:39 a.m. PST to add the OxygenCloud option

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