9 Dropbox Alternatives for Evidence Management in Law Enforcement by@vidizmo

9 Dropbox Alternatives for Evidence Management in Law Enforcement

Osama is a technology content strategist looking to revolutionize law enforcement in the domain of digital evidence. Osama is also a tech content strategist and a law enforcement expert. He is looking to change the way law enforcement deals with digital evidence in the digital world. Osama says he's looking to use digital evidence to make law enforcement more effective in the world of crime. He's also looking to make digital evidence easier for law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to deal with the public in digital evidence cases.
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Osama Zahid

Osama is a technology content strategist looking to revolutionize law enforcement in the domain of digital evidence.

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For modern organizations, there is a need for reliable options for storing and managing their digital media assets, such as videos, audio, images, and documents, and cloud storage options such as Dropbox have become increasingly popular with most of them, including public safety & law enforcement agencies.


Having a reliable cloud data storage and backup platform is a requirement for most organizations in the contemporary world. Employees working in small and medium organizations rely on cloud storage services such as Dropbox to store and share their files. Dropbox is even being used in some law enforcement agencies and policing. However, you might need more than just Dropbox-like storage for managing digital evidence.


Why Dropbox May Not Be the Best Option for Law Enforcement Agencies?


Dropbox has a few features that help securely store digital evidence, such as 256-bit encryption and password protection. Syncing is faster, since the process is done in blocks and the waiting period to access files on another device is minimal, and the solution is easy-to-use which is why it is preferred by over 500 million individuals, including 11.9 million paying users.


But when it comes to managing evidence, that is as far as the advantages of Dropbox go.


The system isn’t designed for digital evidence management, and there are several gaps and challenges for securely storing and managing evidence using Dropbox. Its privacy policies are somewhat controversial; the application can access your personal information and share it with third-party organizations such as Google and Amazon Web Services. Dropbox lacks metadata search functionality so a file cannot be searched according to the file information and the date it was created.


Now, there are a lot of better alternatives that are designed specifically to manage digital evidence and cater to law enforcement.


9 Dropbox competitors for storing digital evidence:


1. VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS)


VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is custom designed specifically to ingest, store, manage, and share evidence files. Apart from its storage options, multiple features of DEMS such as access management, security and chain of custody make it the ideal option for law-enforcement and governmental agencies.


The platform does not store your personal information and protects your sensitive data such as evidence files from third-parties, malicious attacks and otherwise unauthorized access. You can use an array of features such as role-based access control, end-to-end encryption and user groups for controlling access to data and evidence. You can share evidence for only a limited time or number of use.


The platform also provides a powerful search using AI by automatically indexing meta data for a quick search using keywords. DEMS offers public cloud storage services (e.g.: Azure, AWS etc.), as well as on-premises and hybrid deployments for specific client requirements.


The platform also offers a wide range of features and options for meeting compliances necessary for law enforcement and criminal justice systems, such as CJIS, FedRAMP and more.


Unlike DEMS, if you use Dropbox for storing and sharing evidence, files need to be deleted if one wishes to restrict the access of a particular person. In addition to that, DEMS provides an exclusive feature which allows you to search for frames in the video. Instead of having to view the entire video or audio evidence, one can quickly search and jump to the relevant part in the evidence.


VIDIZMO understands that evidence may be recorded using different sources such as dash cams, aerial footage such as drone cams, smartphones, body cams and CCTVs. Users can rest assured that in addition to password protection and secured cloud, compatibility is also an essential feature of VIDIZMO DEMS.

2. Google Drive


Google Drive is a file storage service which allows organizations to have all files in one place, share the video evidence files online and access them from anywhere.


Google Drive has the largest market share when it comes to providing cloud storage services.


Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage space which is huge in comparison to the 2 GB provided by Dropbox. Google Drive is also the leader when it comes to paid storage. Google charges $99.99 per year, whereas Dropbox charges $119.88 per year for a 2 TB of storage space with Drive.


Google Drive’s syncing also supports multiple devices which is also possible via the Backup and Sync application. In addition to the two-factor authentication, Google Drive’s Cloud Identity Feature provides endpoint management services.


Unlike Dropbox, Google Drive clearly states the number of certifications it follows which includes standards such as ISO 27017, FedRAMP, FISC Compliance and PCI DSS. However, Google Drive has file size limitations such as a restriction of 1,024,000 characters, upper limit of 100MB for slideshow presentations and 2 MB for embedded images.

3. Amazon Drive


The tech giant Amazon has a fair share of the market when it comes to providing cloud-based services and storage of video, audio and image files.


Similar to Dropbox and Google Drive, Amazon uses block-level file copying so faster syncing speed is one of its traits. Amazon Drive’s free plan includes 5GB of storage space. In addition to providing web-based access, Amazon’s Drive’s desktop app allows access to all the files.


Amazon Drive’s ease of syncing with Android, macOS, Windows and iOS is another commendable feature. A drawback is that Amazon Drive only has 2 plans which the restricts the options available for users.

4. Office 365

Office 365 is an ideal platform for collaboration as it provides the facility of sharing content, storing files and collaborating on documents with external users and colleagues through its three main products: OneDrive, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. Small industries with 50-200 employees and revenue in between 10-50 million dollars comprise the major chunk of the users of


5. Microsoft One Drive.

OneDrive is a platform which allows easy file sharing, integration with Windows File Explorer and accessing files from mobile devices. There are three different types of OneDrive sharing links: Shareable (which allows anyone with the link to share), Internal (allows only people within the firm to share) and Direct (only specific personnel can share).


Although OneDrive works seamlessly with Microsoft Office apps, there are limited options available for third-party integrations. Furthermore, OneDrive’s right to scan saved files raises security concerns amongst the users.

6. pCloud


pCloud is an encrypted cloud storage platform that offers up to 10GB of free storage space. It supports a large number of platforms, including Windows, Mac, SaaS, Android, iPhone, and iPad. The target audience of pCloud is digital-savvy consumers who work with large files.


pCloud offers a subscription-based payment plan with its two main tiers being Premium and Premium Plus. The majority of the 10 million customers of pCloud belong to the following industries: retail, legal, insurance, education, accounting, real estate, photographers, and PR/advertising agencies.pCloud offers faster sync and share as compared to Dropbox.


The Rewind feature allows users to restore the previous version of the file. pCloud’s great flexibility in terms of its pricing, a wide array of features, and a strict privacy policy comprise of its unique selling points. However, pCloud uses cloud storage for saving without utilizing space from local systems because of which it gets tricky to get the whole backup when needed.

7. WeTransfer

WeTransfer is a file transfer service that allows users to share files without having to create an account because of which it is used by officers for quick file transfer. WeTransfer allows sending files up to 2GB for free (which is huge compared to 100MB per file transfer on Dropbox).


There are two ways of sending files via WeTransfer: sending a download link via email or creating a download link that allows anyone with the link to download the files.


Additionally, WeTransfer Pro allows the transfer limit to be increased to 20GB with 1TB of cloud storage space and custom expiration dates. WeTransfer scans the uploaded files only if it feels the users are breaking the laws or rules. Although WeTransfer allows ease of file transfer without having the premium version, files get deleted after a week.


8. Sync

Sync.com is a Canadian company providing the option to store, share and access files from anywhere in the world and is preferred by organizations for whom security is the highest priority. The best feature that Sync.com offers is having zero-knowledge encryption – a security feature that ensures that only the user can read their data, thus always having a secure file. Files are synced using a “vault” which operates as a secure file archive.


Sync.com is affordable as it offers a Personal Pro 2TB annual plan which charges around $8 a month. It also offers a flexible 500 GB personal plan for users. It also has a multi-user team sharing built-in feature which is compatible with both iOS and Android. Some disadvantages of Sync are slow syncing and lack of support especially for Linux.

9. Zoho Docs

Zoho Corporation provides an efficient file management system for various firms. Zoho Docs is an online document management system that allows storing, uploading, creating, editing, collaborating and sharing over 160 file types such as spreadsheets, images, audio, videos, and presentations. Unlike many other cloud service providers, Zoho Docs offers a free trial in addition to a free version. It also provides extensive training options such as through webinars, live online, and thorough documentation.


Zoho also allows syncing offline files using the drag and drop feature. Moreover, the files can be attached directly to Zoho Mail which is beneficial for organizations that require customized domain in their email addresses. The ioS application for Zoho needs improvement and downloads are limited to 10GB per day for users not opting for the paid version.

Conclusion

It can be said that law enforcement agencies and government organizations that are on the hunt for alternatives to Dropbox have a variety of options at their disposal.


Evidence management systems appear to be the optimal platform for law enforcement agencies who specifically want a platform for their evidence video files to be stored, accessed, reviewed and analyzed.


Simple cloud storage solutions are suitable for storing and accessing video evidence files, but unlike digital evidence management, they do not offer features such as chain of custody, transcription services, redaction, and sufficient security. Furthermore, most of them do not offer the necessary compliances such as HIPAA and FedRAMP required for law enforcement. In conclusion, it can be said that the choice of cloud storage platform depends largely on the nature of the business and organizations need to decide carefully which platform will yield the best results for them.

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