The Benefits and Limitations of Dropbox for Your Business

Some may be pleased to know that the days of saving to floppy disk to save work are long gone – remember those? Then along came USBs, offering a simple and secure way of keeping your files safe and portable when your computer has a bit of a meltdown and can’t be relied on to save your documents. Introducing the realm of online and cloud storage. Introducing Dropbox.
Remember the good old floppy disk?








There are many different types of cloud or online storage programmes out there and Dropbox was one of the first to kick start it in the world, now reaching out to more than 5 million people worldwide and thousands of businesses.
Dropbox has proven to be a great tool for storing your files, including documents, images and presentations, online virtually to free up space on your computer and don’t want to keep investing in so many of those USBs. More than this, it has enabled an easy way of file sharing, transforming the way that staff in international, or widespread businesses, work together.
But like any product, while there are always upsides of a product, there are also limitations which can be improved on. Here some of  the benefits and limitations have been explored for you to keep in mind:


Accessible Files Wherever You Are
Documents or spreadsheets that need to be updated on a daily basis can be accessed by members of staff at any office location, with most recent changes made to documents viewed by a team in moments. Whether you are halfway around the world or in your back garden, you are able to see a file in its live form, as your colleagues are working on it.
Useful for PAs who need to schedule diaries, make travel bookings or appointments on behalf of their managers. From administration to project management, freelancers and remote office workers, Dropbox has opened up file sharing across locations.
Free Registration
A generous 5GB of memory is available free to Dropbox users when you register, which may not sound like a lot, but for small businesses or self-employed people, it can go quite far. Dropbox also offers a free, 30 day trial to businesses and individuals for any of its more advanced services.
To get a larger memory usage, the subscription is easy to use and costs start from as little as £10 a month to get the use of 2TB of space shared amongst a team.
Ease of Use
In the days of file sharing, staff working in different departments or office locations work by sending files across to colleagues and when they were updated, the files then need to be sent back if colleagues can’t access the same document files.
That’s a lot of extra time spent downloading and uploading documents.
Dropbox takes away this extra work and means that, even on days when the file drives aren’t functioning on your computer properly, they can be stored in one place for all staff members to work on. Once complete, a manager can then be sure that all those updated files can be viewed in one place.
In Control of File Sharing
As the file creator, you become the owner and you get to decide who has access to that file as well. This puts you in control of who is viewing your files. With a memory stick, it could easily be stolen, meaning that, without a password saved on it, others may be able to access your data.


Syncing Files
As you update a file your computer is working away in the background, updating the changes to the document. You need enough memory on your computer to do this and to ensure that the necessary changes can be completed or, in other words, to sync the changes. However, when there are other staff working on a document, your computer will also need to contain enough memory to sync the changes they’re making as well. If there isn’t, a red light will appear on your Dropbox icon, telling you that the changes made by your colleagues cannot be updated on your document.
What Will Help: Reducing some of the memory usage on your PC or laptop may ease this issue, or opting for Dropbox’s larger storage subscription will help with this.
Saving Changes When Others are Using it
If someone else is working on a file at the same time as you, there can be times when Dropbox automatically creates a new version of the document with your changes on it.  This means that any changes you make will not appear on the original and will appear in your documents list as a ‘conflicting’ copy; This sounds worse than it really is, but it simply means that your changes are now in a new version of the document.
Nothing more annoying when you have to go through the original again to add your changes!
What Will Help: There is a setting on Dropbox that enables the administrator to get Dropbox to notify other staff when somebody is updating a file. Communicating with your colleagues about who is using the document will help. Then, when a colleague has finished adding their changes, this means that you can open that document.
Alternatively, you could go through and highlight the changes you make in your conflicting copy, so that it is easier to later add your changes to the original.
Security of Sensitive Data
There have been some issues highlighted around the security of others accessing sensitive files used in some industries, such as with particularly confidential data, whether figures or customer information. This has been questioned previously in the light of a hacking incident some years ago, whereby it was questioned as to how secure Dropbox was for some businesses. However, Dropbox does have a range of controls used to prevent hackers and to keep files safe and confidential.
What Will Help: As a business it can help to be vigilant about changing your password regularly and make sure you go through Dropbox’s controls used to ensure an enhanced safety of your account and your files.

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