Ease Into “The Cloud” With Dropbox

by | Apr 28, 2011 | Practical Tips, Product Review

NOTE: Since this post was originally created, Dropbox experienced a serious security issue for a small amount (less than 1%) of users.  The issue has been addressed and corrected.
Full details can be found here.

With one of the questions on our yearly Customer Satisfaction Survey we asked our customers for suggestions for blog topics that they’d like to read about.  Several customers indicated they’d like to know more about “The Cloud” and specifically applications such as Dropbox.  You asked for it and here it is!

(While this may sound like a commercial for Dropbox, I assure you that Acroment is not getting compensated in any way for this post.  In addition, I only review products that I’ve used.)

Dropbox is an application that allows you to access your files from multiple computers, devices (such as your smart phone) and websites.  You no longer have to email files to yourself, carry a jump drive or portable hard drive or have multiple copies of a file.  Sounds pretty good right?  Wait… it gets better.  It’s completely FREE.  

When you sign up for an account, you’ll be asked to download the application to your machine.  There are Windows, Mac, Linux and Mobile versions and believe it or not you can share files seamlessly across all platforms.  The free version of the software gives you 2 GB (gigabytes) of storage space.  If you need more than that, you can subscribe to the service and get up to 100 GB (for $19.99/month).  Personally I’ve not come close to the storage limit, but if you’re using this for a ton of video or audio file you may run into that cap.

Once you’re all set, Dropbox is used essentially like another drive or folder on your computer.  Put files into the  Dropbox folder on your PC and they’re automatically synchronized between all the devices where you’ve got the application installed.  Home PC, work PC, iPhone, iPad, etc.  Wicked cool.

Not only that, but you can share your folders with other people either openly or with the added security of a password.  Want to share a link to a file?  No problem… you can do that too.

Here’s an example of a file that I’ve got in my public folder:

Worried about security?  Here’s what the vendor’s site has to say on the matter:

Your stuff is safe
Dropbox protects your files without you needing to think about it.

  • Dropbox keeps a one-month history of your work.
  • Any changes can be undone, and files can be undeleted.
  • All transmission of file data occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL).
  • All files stored on Dropbox are encrypted (AES-256).

A full feature list can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/features

As you can probably imagine I’d give a strong recommendation to Dropbox.  A very cool idea to share your data with folks, get it off your personal PC and ensure that you’ve always got the most up to date version of your files.  If you have questions about installing or using the software don’t hesitate to contact us.