Dropbox: 7 Apps To Add On - InformationWeek

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2/26/2014
09:06 AM
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Dropbox: 7 Apps To Add On

Dropbox backs up your important files, but that's just a start. These apps work alongside the cloud service to boost security, streamline workflow, and more.
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Dropbox can do much more than just back up files. The cloud-based storage service has more than 200 million personal users and 4 million business accounts, and it functions as a multi-faceted office (or personal) assistant. However, no technology is an island; applications that work in concert with Dropbox open up interesting new options.

Commercial cloud providers such as Dropbox provide convenient file storage, but one solution does not fit all types of data. Use of the cloud is not a good long-term storage solution for certain research data or confidential information.

"One thing many cloud users don't realize when using Dropbox is the fact that the encryption keys are stored on the server side rather than the client side, leaving a user's data vulnerable to data breaches," Rick Harvey, CTO at Lockbox an encryption expert, told us. "If you don't hold the keys on your server, the data isn't yours anymore."

A recent Forrester research paper (subscription required) noted, "Every day, enterprises send critical data to SaaS providers without any plan for how they will back up the data and restore it. Only when they experience data loss do they ask the question, 'Who is responsible for backing up my data?' It's time for [infrastructure and operations] leaders to stop leaving the door open to data loss and start proactively protecting cloud data -- before it's too late."

Another issue with storage solutions such as Dropbox is the "drop it and forgot it" syndrome. Users still need to manage all their files and remember to save updated versions consistently to the cloud. If someone makes changes to the original file but does not remember to upload it, no one will have access to the latest version. As Backblaze founder and CEO Gleb Budman told me, human nature being what it is, if you lose your computer, it is doubtful that all up-to-date, user-generated files will be saved to Dropbox.

Applications can work with Dropbox to help automate, organize, and streamline business processes. With more than 100,000 apps connected to Dropbox, you will find a wide variety: Bloggers can automate the process of archiving their posts, security-sensitive users can encrypt files, and people overwhelmed by email attachments can easily file them for later viewing.

Dropbox offers users 2 GB of space for free. Users can earn more free space in different ways, including referrals, taking a tour, or sending the company feedback. Upgrading to Pro for $9.99/month provides 100 GB of space. A plan for businesses is available, as well, at $15/month per user.

Check out the following seven apps that even the smartest Dropbox user can use to enhance productivity.

Writing and editing from the IT metropolis that is Fairfield County, Conn., Jen is Editor In Chief of Solution Providers For Retail. In her role, she oversees all editorial operations of the site, including engaging VARs to share their expertise within the community. She has ... View Full Bio

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IMjustinkern
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IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2014 | 12:22:42 PM
Encryption add-on
Good stuff ... speaks to the notion that more workplaces are looking to strengthen the use of Dropbox rather than just try to stomp it out.  On the encryption front, of course I'd mention Viivo (from my boss, PKWARE ... yep, that same PKWARE), which is one of many options to fill that gap of security and control with files shared and stored in the cloud. I'm curious: are readers here accessing Dropbox more from mobile devices/tablets? Or is it still predominately laptop/PC?
mwatterud486
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mwatterud486,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/26/2014 | 1:56:44 PM
Re: Encryption add-on
I use dropbox a lot and I would say I use it about 40 % desktop (or laptop), 50 % iPad and 10 % iPhone
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2014 | 2:51:48 PM
Convenient but...
Provided that you don't mind Dropbox randomly snooping on the contents of your file(s) and will otherwise turn it over to law enforcement without a warrant, it's convenient to have.  For those whose privacy standards dont' include warrantless snooping/surveillance, there is YouSendIt.
Non profit techie
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Non profit techie,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/26/2014 | 5:12:26 PM
Re: Convenient but...
Yousendit is no more.  It is now called Hightail.  They are offering less for more money and we stopped using the service. It is more business-oriented.  We just needed a way to send large documents infrequently.  If it becomes something people need more than once a month, it makes sense to contract with a vendor focused on business needs.
jbosavage
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jbosavage,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2014 | 5:51:28 PM
Re: Encryption add-on
Good question IMJustinKern. I myself primarily use it on my laptop.

There are many apps that play nicely with Dropbox now. Great extension of the product. Of course, there will be things that don't work as well. But quite a few fill distinct business needs.

I do mourn the loss of YouSendIt, too...
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2014 | 9:19:27 PM
Re: Encryption add-on
Dropbox is a decent tool to have on your desktop. It gives the ability to store your data and can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have internet. At the same time it can shared among people too.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
3/1/2014 | 1:41:57 PM
Re: Encryption add-on
I think that these apps for backing up and locking your information are the most important here. Those are the reasons many still feel uncomfortable with storing things in the cloud. 

But the reality is that the cloud is an inevitable storage place. There will always be that small subset of organizations who cannot do so because of security. But for the most part it seems that consumers and enterprises are becoming more comfortable with this idea. 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/1/2014 | 8:34:22 PM
Re: Encryption add-on
People cannot ignore the trend of cloud storage. Just like smartphone, people will normally feel uncomfortable and unsafe to use such kind of new technology. The smartphone is much more complicated and prone to security attacks then old-days function-only mobile phone such as Nokia 6500. But nobody will go back to those antediluvian stuff. The same thing holds true for cloud storage - DropBox is taking the right approach to address people's concerns.
eddiemayan
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eddiemayan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/3/2014 | 9:52:24 AM
Re: Encryption add-on
DropBox is best and secure for me !
DoriS122
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DoriS122,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 4:08:58 PM
Disappointing Dropbox Experience - lost over 6000 files
I have had a PRO Dropbox account for 3 years and up to now have been happy and encouraged others to use it as well.

Yesterday I found out that over 6000 files were deleted. After hours of agonizing communication and checking it turns out it was a  mistake done on Jan 26 2014.

How could it be that suddenly – over 6000 files are deleted from a paid account and Dropbox doesn't send one email asking me what's going on?

Then, when I finally find out I have a problem and reach Dropbox support, I'm told that since 30 days have passed – I have lost all these files.

Needless to say – I do not recommend Dropbox for personal use and certainly not for business use – especially when users who are not IT savvy are dealing with their files.
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