Dropbox is a cloud-based, automatic file-synchronization tool.
Price varies according to storage needs. Plans start at $9.99 per month.
Caroline Callaway, president Bolt Public Relations, has been using Dropbox since 2008.
How do you use it?
You sign up online, create an account, and it walks you through a very fast installation. A folder is then created that you can keep on your desktop or put wherever you keep your files. It works just like the documents folder on your computer. It gives us the ability to share all documents, press releases, media placements, and more – it houses everything we do. Instead of cluttering our inboxes with shared documents, everything is united in a single storage folder.
You don't have to log in again unless you are working remotely from another computer that doesn't have it installed.
Once it's installed, you start saving files into your Dropbox folder. You can invite other users by their email address to share whichever files you want to share with them. We have different team members working on different accounts, and I can invite them to share documents that are pertinent to their accounts. When you update or add new files, it automatically syncs them to all users who have share access to those files.
A blue dot icon appears at the bottom of my screen when someone is updating a file, and a green check appears when an update is finished. If I happen to be working on a document at the same time as someone else, it automatically adds a conflicted copy and the name of the people who were working on that document.
We've yet to have a problem in the five years we've been using it that wasn't a user error – for example, we accidentally dragged a document into the wrong folder and could not find it for a few seconds until we did a simple search, as you would for any document.
There's an online help center where you can submit questions and troubleshoot. There's also a video tutorial you can watch when you first install.How does it serve your business needs?
We have two offices and will soon open a third. I am in California, and within seconds I can save a document in a client folder and any employee working on that business in the North Carolina office can see that document, all the updates to it, and a time stamp of when it was last updated and by whom.
It's empowered our agency to share files in a way that doesn't change how we do business, and it keeps us organized and ensures we're always looking at the most updated documents.
It has a cloud backup so when we bring in a new computer we just install Dropbox and all our files are right there.
There's a mobile app so I can very easily access any of my files while traveling.
How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from and IT standpoint?
We have not had to change how we save documents or do business. We just download it onto our computers. It's so easy.
What are the main benefits?
The ability to share files.
I'm not a fan of Google docs – it seems cumbersome. Dropbox has a familiar orientation, and it's immediate.
It truly is the easiest thing I've ever used to share files and the cloud backup of all of our files provides great peace of mind.
The ability to determine who has access to what folders is also great as I really have that control as an administrator.
What are the main drawbacks?
None. I've been thrilled with this program.
What would you like to see improved/added?
Maybe a reduction in cost. For the program we use, I think it's 100 gigabytes per person, so it costs about $100 per person per year. It's worth, but if they wanted to reduce the price that would be great.
File syncing, sharing, and storage services like Google Drive, Box, and SugarSync.