Self Hosted Dropbox Alternative

White Paper
Self Host a Dropbox alternative on-premises for data security, permission control and data ownership

The Dropbox Problem

Many businesses are now faced with the Dropbox problem. Employees use it to backup work folders from work and simplify access from home, airports and other remote locations. But this scatters data across multiple devices and 3rd party locations, increasing the risk of data leakage or non-compliance

Challenges of Using Dropbox at Work

When business use Dropbox, they quickly discover that it's not ideal for business collaboration and file sharing for several reasons:

  • There's a gap between traditional file server collaboration and Dropbox because of the differences between the two file repositories.
  • Replicating every file to everyone's devices is expensive and it consumes too much bandwidth.
  • Quite often, collaboration can't start until full synchronization is finished and user's PC hard drive capacity is too small to finish.
  • No permissions are defined to replace or leverage NTFS and control file level access. So every file gets exposed to everyone.
  • There is no file locking for collaboration between employees.
  • Third party interaction is required t o troubleshoot since the data ownership is not local.

Many of them are turning to you now for an answer. An since you already manage their IT infrastructure, you can answer these questions by self-hosting and managing a dropbox alternative on-premises while addressing these pain points:

Expensive Devices

File servers often have more data than a remote laptop with a small SSD can store.

Data Privacy

Synchronizing every file to every device exposes every file regardless of permissions.

Data Ownership

You don't know where your data is after it's moved to Dropbox because it could be at a 3rd party site or on a device where the user has logged into Dropbox and initiated a sync.

Data Scattering

Some files are in the original file server but some revisions are in Dropbox. Over time, you don't know which copy is the latest one.

Data Security

There are no NTFS permissions or permission controls for Dropbox.

Central Control

Dropbox distributes files to every device, making it hard to manage from a business perspective.

CentreStack Deployment Highlights

You can easily deploy Gladinet CentreStack on-premises to overcome the business challenges of using Dropbox at work.

The self-hosted Dropbox alternative provides a file sharing and mobile access solution that can be hosted behind your corporate firewall, on Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. At the same time, it leverages Active Directory permissions and gives end users a drive letter with on-demand access and file locking.

Businesses retain data privacy and ownership and maintain existing access controls, while providing remote sharing and mobile access. It is the best of both worlds!

Simple Install

Install the solution on a Windows Server in 20 minutes.


CentreStack is multi-tenant by default. Single-tenancy is a simpler special case.

White Labeled

Customize the solution with your own branding.


Each CentreStack server supports thousands of users or can be clustered to create massive scale.

Storage Agnostic

Use Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage or file server shares to create a private, self-hosted Dropbox alternative.

Data Center Ready

Install it behind a company firewall or in Amazon or Azure data centers.

On-Premise Deployment Diagram

Install CentreStack on Windows 2012 R2 servers or Windows 2016 or Windows 2019 servers as shown below. Connect Active Directory (AD) and your local file server to the CentreStack instance.

The CentreStack server sits behind the corporate firewall and accepts incoming agent requests from port 443 (HTTPS), authenticates against the AD domain controller, and uses the resulting security token to control file access requests to internal file servers.


CentreStack allows enterprises and service providers to create a dropbox alternative on-premises or inside their data center with the following properties:

  • Integration with existing files and folders
  • Active Directory Identity Integration
  • Integration with existing NTFS Permissions

Self-Hosted Data Privacy, Security and Control

Self-hosting the access infrastructure and data storage makes it much easier to define security policies that meet privacy and security related regulations.

Native Active Directory & Home Directory Support

There is no additional setup to add active directory users to the solution. Active Directory users can simply log in to the on-premise file sync and share web portal and start using the solution. Active Directory is the central place for user identity management. Optionally, user's home directory can be directly used for web browser based and mobile device access.

Team Collaboration with On-Demand Synchronization

Integrate with file server, SAN or NAS storage and directly import network share permission controls for team collaboration. Leverage on-demand synchronization for large collaboration folders and VDI environments where a solution based on full-synchronization would never work well.

Single or Multi-Tenant Deployments

CentreStack offers single tenant deployments for enterprises and multi-tenant deployments for server providers.