Recently we had a case where a client phoned us in a panic, as all of their important documents had simply vanished. They had stored all their data within Dropbox, so that they could sync the documents between their home and work computers.
Lots of people take advantage of Dropbox for this reason, it’s a great way to keep your stuff on multiple computers. There are dangers though, and you should be aware of them;
The main danger is putting your own dropbox onto a computer you do not have complete control over, such as a computer where you work. If you don’t completely control that computer, with a password only YOU know, then someone else has the opportunity to delete files from your dropbox. If they do, dropbox will dutifully DELETE THEM FROM YOUR OTHER COMPUTERS, and they are gone.
The second issue, is that if you use the same dropbox account on all your computers, the computers you don’t have control of will include a copy of everything. So if you have a work folder, and a personal folder, for example, then your personal stuff will be on your work computer.
If you don’t want your boss to be able to find your application letters for a new job, for example, the solution is to setup more than one dropbox account. Just setup a dummy account for the work computer, and share your work dropbox folder with that account, but not the rest of them. That way, work is work, and they can’t mess with your personal stuff.
Make sure, whatever you do, that you have a real backup solution as well. Dropbox is NOT a backup, and should never be used as such. Because it will mirror deletions across all your machines, it doesn’t provide protection against accidental deletion. A good backup solution DOES do this, and a whole lot more.
Another mistake is to put files such as your MYOB file into your dropbox. This seems like great idea, but the problem is that each time you use MYOB, you are making small changes in the file, that Dropbox will then have to update. If you are a regular user of MYOB, this will generate a lot of traffic, and many people have very low bandwidth caps on their internet plan, and this could put you over.
We’d love to hear your comments about your experiences with Dropbox. Let us know in the comments!
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