When it comes to Digital Storage in the workplace, there are a number of viable options. Some of you might be asking why digital storage is necessary when you can have a local copy of your documents on your device or you can save files to a centralized server. Those are both great to have, but what if your hard drive fails or worse, what if the server in your office dies and all of your stored data is lost? All of that precious client data and countless hours of work could be gone in the blink of an eye.
One of your options is to have the documents you regularly need and use stored in the cloud. Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring, in-depth, the cloud storage solutions currently available to you. We have tested and tried these services and found what we like best, but we will objectively give you the information you need to make the best decision for your needs.
History of Dropbox
Dropbox is a file hosting service headquartered in San Francisco, California, that offers not only cloud storage, but file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Dropbox bills itself as a home for “all your photos, docs, videos, and files.” One of the cool features about installing Dropbox on your laptop or desktop is that it allows you to create a special folder on your machine which Dropbox synchronizes so it appears to be the same same folder and same contents regardless of what computer is used to view it. When you place a file in this folder it then becomes accessible via the Dropbox website and it’s accompanying mobile app. Upon creating an account, Dropbox sets you up with a freemium account, meaning you are offered a free account with a set storage size and then offered the option of increasing your storage via paid subscriptions.
How We Use It
At Foojee we have a Dropbox Business account which means that everyone on our team is allotted 1TB of cloud storage. We use Dropbox to keep track of team passwords, client projects, marketing documents, operation documents, sales documents, our service infrastructure, and any presentation materials for workshops we host. Because we’re set up as a team, whenever a file is uploaded to the Foojee Dropbox account, everyone on the team then has instant access to that document. We can then open the documents directly on our devices, edit it (if necessary) and then save it back to Dropbox so everyone can access the updated file. It’s amazing to be able to share documents among 7 of us spread out around the metro Atlanta area, edit them in real time and then save the edited file right back to Dropbox so the next team member can pick up where the other left off.
With Dropbox, your files are always safe because they are not stored locally. That means even if your device dies, your data is still stored in the cloud. Dropbox will even allow you to undo mistakes and undelete files if you accidentally put them in the trash.
Dropbox stores your file data using 256-bit AES encryption and they use a secure tunnel to transfer files between them and you. You can then securely access files and folders any time via the paths we’ve mentioned above. Dropbox also claims to work very hard to protect your information from unauthorized access and they have designed policies and controls to safeguard your data. Dropbox also allows you to enable two-step verification which makes your account that much harder t o infiltrate. Once two-step verification is enabled you will be required to enter your password and a 6-digit security code sent via text message in order to access your account.
If you’d like to go a step further, Dropbox allows you to easily monitor linked devices, active web sessions and third-party apps that have access to your account. If something looks funny to you, you can cut off access with a swift click. You can opt to receive notifications whenever a new device or app is linked to your account as well as having the ability to monitor all account activity.
There are a few things to know about Dropbox pricing. As mentioned earlier, it is a freemium service. When you sign up for a ‘free’ account, you are automatically allocated 2 GB of storage that you can access from anywhere. You can then refer friends to start using Dropbox and if they sign up, Dropbox rewards you with more free storage (which is capped at 20 GB for free).
Also available to all users is Dropbox Pro which runs $9.99/month per user and allots 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space, additional sharing controls and the ability to remotely wipe your account.
Dropbox for Business is in a league of it’s own. When it comes to teams and digital storage, Dropbox has set up this pricing plan to be $15/user/month. With that pricing you are given “as much storage as you need”, unlimited file recovery, file sharing controls and priority support.
Dropbox is a powerful cloud storage solution not only for individuals, but for teams as well. Yes, you’re going to have to put up $15/month for each user in your company, but we believe that is worth having your data securely stored in the cloud just in case anything goes wrong with your local backups.
Your employees can sign up for a personal Dropbox account and manage both their personal and work accounts from the same interface. We would encourage this because giving them the option of storing personal data is great, but without the personal account they’ll be more likely to store those files on your company account and that’s not ideal for anyone.
If you need to store documents, files, photos, and client data, then Dropbox might just be the right fit for you. At the very least, we would recommend giving it a test run for a few people on your team, allowing some time to get a flow going, and then make a final decision.
Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as we dive into two alternative cloud storage solutions: Google Drive and iCloud!