File sharing with Dropbox
What can you save to Dropbox?
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. As you can imagine, most of the data we save is related to our client’s accounts. So we save copies of the company formation documents, VAT certificates, management accounts, invoices, fixed assets purchases, lease documents and rental agreements, annual accounts and tax returns. We keep our monthly workings folders on Drobox and any project folders that we share with clients. Clients save copies of all documents received from HMRC. The beauty of Dropbox is we can access these files anywhere we are, any time we want to and on any device. I was able to email a document one of my clients needed to send to his supplier while I was sitting on a beach in Devon last year!
How many people use Dropbox?
According to Dropbox, more than 300 million people across every continent now use Dropbox to always have their stuff at hand, share with family and friends, and work on team projects.
Is Dropbox secure?
We believe so but take a look at the privacy and security statement on the Dropbox website and see for yourself – Dropbox Security Policy. We are often asked how Dropbox meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act if it keeps your data on servers that are located in the Us. here is how we believe they do that.
Dropbox and the Data Protection Act
Sending personal data outside the European Economic Area (Principle 8) Principle 8 of the Data protection act says that
Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the EEA unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.
What that means is that the country or the territory has to maintain sufficient levels of security that the UK Information Commissioner believes is adequate. Most of the big cloud services provides including Dropbox are based in the US, but have millions of EU customers who want to ensure their data is secure. So how do they do that? The US-EU Safe Harbor Framework was created to resolve that problem. To put it simply, the framework is a set of standards that US companies can use to evaluate and join the Safe Harbor Program thereby meeting EU data protection requirements and allowing the personal data of EU citizens to be stored on US servers. Dropbox is certified and complies with the U.S.–EU Safe Harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal data from EU member states. More information on the Safe Harbor framework can be found at https://export.gov/safeharbor, including a searchable list with the current certification status of Dropbox. I think it is probably fair to say that a company the size of Dropbox, has more resources available than you or I might have to ensure the enterprise level security and protection of our data. So, assuming we are happy to move on – lets see what the pros and cons of using Dropbox might be.
What are the Pros of using Dropbox?
- Super simple file sharing
- Access any file anytime, anywhere, on any device
- Dropbox is free up to 2GB of data, you can upgrade to Pro for $9.99 a month if you need more space than that
- You always know where your files are
- No need to buy a separate file server
- Brilliant if you want to move to a paperless office
- Brilliant for disaster recovery – if your computer or phone crash – you data is safe in the Cloud
- The restore feature protects you against accidental file deletion – restoring files within 30 days is free, longer if you pay for the Packrat feature
What are the Cons of using Dropbox?
- Not everyone is comfortable keeping their data in the ‘Cloud’. If you have concerns please follow the link to the security statement above. You can opt for two-step verification where access requires a pin code sent to your phone along with your user name and password.
- File conflicts. As brilliant as Dropbox is, it does not know who is using the master copy of a file if two people access it at the same time. If those files are both saved, then a master copy and a second conflicted copy will be saved to the file directory. Dropbox have built this in as a security feature to preserve the changes made by each person. For further information see: Dropbox Conflicted Copies. There are other tools available that allow multiple users to edit files at the same time – we’ll cover those in a different article.
Switching to Dropbox? If you are new to Dropbox, you will need to set up an account to begin sharing files with us.