Document management software helps your business centralize and manage its documents and files, as well as content creation and workflows. We looked at the most popular options and rising stars and chose to review Google Drive for Work, Dropbox Business, and Zoho Docs. These services covered the range of options for small businesses in terms of ease of use, available features, and price.
Best Document Management Software for Small Businesses: Google Drive
We recommend Google Drive as the best document management software for small businesses because it’s competitively priced, offers unlimited storage if your account has five or more users, is easy to use, and includes 24/7 support. In fact, we believe in it so strongly, we use it at Fit Small Business ourselves.
Google Drive vs. Dropbox vs. Zoho Docs Summary Table
|Best For||Best overall document management software for small businesses||Cloud storage of documents and files||Task and workflow management|
|Price as Reviewed||$10/month per user, |
no user minimum
|$15/month per user, |
five user minimum
|$8/month per user,
no user minimum
|Ease of Setup/Use|
|Real-Time Shared File Editing|
|Data Security and Privacy Compliance|
|Video and Voice Conferencing|
|Google Suite Integration|
|Office 365 Integration|
|Zoho Office Suite Integration|
|Customer Support||Online knowledge base and phone and email support available 24/7||Online knowledge base and email and live chat support||Online knowledge base and email support|
Best Overall Document Management Software for Small Businesses: Google Drive
We recommend Google Drive as the best document management software for small businesses because it’s easy to use, offers unlimited storage space, and is competitively priced between Dropbox and Zoho Docs.
Google offers a full range of business applications in their Google Suite, including Docs (a word processor), Sheets (a spreadsheet), Gmail (email), and Drive. Many businesses and individuals are already using the Google Suite, especially if you use a Chromebook computer, which will minimize an already small learning curve for using Drive.
While this may be a benefit for some, it can be a downside for others. Because of the seamless integration of the other applications in the Google Suite, Drive works on the assumption that these will be your primary tools for each purpose. However, if your business relies on another suite of applications, such as Office 365, then a more platform agnostic cloud storage solution like Dropbox may be a better fit. That said, we’re big fans of the Google Suite and use it ourselves at Fit Small Business, so our bias is towards an integrated solution.
The one significant downside to Google Drive is that it requires you to own your own domain since it also assigns email addresses to you and your employees. This may not be an issue if you’re already in need of an email host and domain provider, but it adds a layer of potential complication if you don’t. The benefit of this is that it makes it easier to share files among your employees and centralizes everything on one platform, but it mean that setup will likely take longer than with Dropbox or Zoho Docs.
If your business has fewer than five users, then Google Drive offers as much storage as Zoho Docs but only half as much as Dropbox. However, if your business has more than five users, then Google Drive gives you unlimited storage — much more than Zoho Docs’ 1 TB and Dropbox’s 2 TB limits.
Best Document Management Software for Cloud Storage: Dropbox
We recommend Dropbox as the best document management software for businesses that need a simple cloud storage solution rather than a more collaborative one like Google Drive and Zoho Docs. Its lack of a built-in file editor is both its best strength and biggest weakness.
Dropbox users are able to manage and share documents in a few ways:
- Files can be accessed by any other user on the same account
- Files can be shared with users outside of your account through a unique URL that can be set as public or with restricted access
- You can set access and editing permissions within your account
Dropbox doesn’t have a native file editor, such as those that are included with the Google Suite and Zoho Docs, but it does integrate with Microsoft Office 365. When you open a file within Dropbox, you’re redirected to Office 365 online where you can edit the file within your Office 365 account or create a new one to do so. This limits any collaborative features within Dropbox, but has the benefit of streamlining the service as an efficient file storage and management tool.
Dropbox also offers twice as much storage per user as Zoho Docs as well as twice as much as Google Drive if your business has fewer than five users. However, if your business has more than five users, then Google Drive’s unlimited storage greatly surpasses Dropbox’s 2TB. To receive unlimited storage with Dropbox, your business will have to subscribe to their Advanced plan at $25/month per user — 250% more expensive than Google Drive.
At $15/month per user with a five user minimum, Dropbox is also significantly more expensive than both Google Drive and Zoho Docs.
Best Document Management Software for Task and Workflow Management: Zoho Docs
We recommend Zoho Docs as the best document management software for task and workflow management.
Zoho offers a wide range of business applications, such as CRM, accounting, cloud database, and task and project management that integrate seamlessly with each other — and we particularly like the latter. Because of these integrations, Zoho Docs also lets you edit files collaboratively much like Google Drive compared to Dropbox’s more complicated process, which relies on external Office 365 accounts.
Zoho Docs is the least expensive option of the software we reviewed. At $8/month per user, it’s almost half the price of Dropbox and $2/month less than Google Drive. However, this only gives each user 1TB of storage — half that of Dropbox and the same as Google Drive, but Google Drive gives you unlimited storage if your account has five or more users.
In-Depth Review: Google Drive vs. Dropbox vs. Zoho Docs
Ease of Use
Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zoho Docs are all very easy to use services that function very similarly. Users can access their documents and files through either a web-based interface or a direct link on their computer’s file browser — thereby integrating their remotely saved documents and files with those that they’ve saved locally.
Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zoho Docs offer a similar set of features. All three services allow you to store, share, and edit documents and files; however, how they do so differs slightly between them. Here’s how each service compares.
All Document Management Software Options 2018
|Google Drive||Best overall for small business, especially those using the Google Suite of business productivity applications|
|Dropbox||Streamlined cloud storage solution|
|Zoho Docs||Good for task and workflow management thanks to integrations with other Zoho applications|
|M-Files||Great for detecting and avoiding duplicate files and versioning issues|
|Microsoft SharePoint||Good option if also building company intranet, but excessive otherwise|
|Microsoft OneDrive||Integrated with Office 365 suite, but limited collaboration options|
|Box||Wide range of security compliances|
|iCloud||Best for users with Apple devices|
|OneDrive for Business||Best for users who need seamless integration with Microsoft Office|
|WeTransfer||Best for users who need to send large files|
|ShareFile||Best for users who need to track who downloads their shared files|
|Egnyte||Best for companies that need advanced security for the files they share|
|Tresorit||Best for companies that need their files to be encrypted|
|M-Files||Great for businesses that need to unify information from several different document management systems|
|Samepage||Suitable for businesses who need additional features like task management, calendar sharing, and team communications|
|WeTransfer||Best for users who want to see an overview of their transfer history, password-protect the files they send, and send up to 20 GB of files in one go|
The Bottom Line
There are many excellent document and file management software options available, which range from simple cloud storage to components of a larger suite of business productivity applications. If your business is looking for a streamlined solution with good security compliance and doesn’t require the ability to edit files collaboratively within the software, then we recommend Dropbox.
However, Google Drive and Zoho Docs are both lower in price and both offer a wide range of other applications that will be of use to your business. Zoho Docs’ integration with their project management software make it a good option if your business also needs a task and workflow management tool. Otherwise, we recommend Google Drive for all other small businesses because of its ease of use, integration with the Google Suite, competitive price, and unlimited storage for teams of five or more users.