Business owners and their employees exchange huge amounts of information every day. From updated performance figures to drafts of graphic designs to final proposals, we need to share and access countless files for work — if anything that’s happening more, not less, as technology marches on.
Many new services have launched to make that process of file sharing simpler and easier, especially as more and more companies have remote workers or need to conduct business on mobile devices. One of the most popular choices is Dropbox.
Here are some of the helpful features of Dropbox that can make your company’s operations and communications much easier.
In an increasingly mobile world, Dropbox makes your files available on any platform. You can access the service on the web or through apps on any mobile operating system. If you have a company that operates multiple offices, if your culture encourages working from home, or if you simply have employees who are often on the road, then ease of access is essential.
Sharing is the backbone of using Dropbox. When you upload files, you can select the people you want to allow into each specific set of documents. People you share with can upload or delete files. This means you have a central hub for your projects and collaborations, with a place that any relevant parties can stay up to date with progress.
In addition, you can email a link to your files to an outside party, which means that your company or agency can share information easily with clients or customers without the need to grant them special view access.
Dropbox also makes access easier by making important files available for offline reading. Inside the Dropbox app, you can favorite a file so it will be at your fingertips even if you aren’t connected to a wireless network or cellular service.
Most businesses share files by email. This may be the norm, but maintaining a sorted, easily searchable inbox requires an investment of time — and let’s face it, stuff falls through the cracks all the time. Dropbox offers a better choice for how to categorize and find your brand’s documents.
Folders offer the top layer of organization. You can group files together in whatever configuration makes the most sense for your work. Any files within them will automatically sync to the devices of anybody with access to the shared folder. Also, once you’re signed in to Dropbox, it is easy to search for a file or folder name, so the information you need is always easy to find.
Finally, the Events tab lets you keep track of any changes made to the folders connected with your account. This is a clearer presentation of the updates that have been made to projects than a sprawling email thread.
While most casual users are familiar with Dropbox for its free service, the company also has two products specifically designed for the needs of corporate users. First is Dropbox Pro. This is option is not free, but it’s actually the best fit for a very small team. You can opt for either 100 GB, 200 GB, or 500 GB of storage. It has the option to add Packrat, which saves your entire file history and lets you recover old versions of files.
The other choice is Dropbox Teams. This new option has a basic setup starting with 1,000 GB (or one terabyte) of space for sharing documents and files. Rather than allocate separate amounts of storage, all of your team members will share the large pool of space. Shared folders only count once toward your total, so Teams is a good match for a brand with lots of people using the tool, or for teams working with large media files. Since it’s cheaper per head than the Pro service, adding more people to a Teams plan is usually more cost effective, too. It comes with Packrat included, so even as your team grows, you’ll have file recovery built in.
Dropbox has strong security measures in place to protect your files and your data. For people who want extra power, there is an option for two-step verification of an account. Security is a key watchword for any online service (especially one that’s hosting all your sensitive files) and there are several entries explaining the company’s policies in the Help Center.
However, you will still need to include some security training for anybody at your company who will be using Dropbox. The same features that make the tool so popular — easy access and sharing — can pose a risk to your business if your employees don’t have ground rules about how to use Dropbox properly.
Make sure that your team knows the privacy level for all the files attached to your Dropbox account. Allowing the wrong eyes to see a document could be embarrassing at the best, or a possible lawsuit at the worst.
Also, launch regular checks of your company’s material to make sure that files have been assigned the appropriate level of protection. Anything uploaded to Dropbox is private by default, but you’ll want to monitor all of your shared material to ensure that the only the correct people have access.