Dropbox Is Why I Learned to Stop Worrying About Backups
Back in the day, my team at Eflat had a real problem sharing files amongst ourselves. We were always generating massive PSD files and we’d resort to sharing using USB flash drives around the office as Wifi was too slow and FTP was too clunky.
To fix this problem, I took a surplus PowerMac G4 and created a networked file server that all team members could access. It worked pretty well if people were consistent in placing files in the proper location, and we weren’t all trying to copy files at the same time. The downside is that I became the resident IT person and spent more time than I liked with software updates and network troubleshooting.
Today, I no longer have that problem thanks to Dropbox. Conceptually, it’s my file server in the cloud. With the Dropbox sync tool, I tell it what folders I would like backed up and when it notices an updated file it uploads the revision in the background while I’m working. If I happen to be on a remote computer I can log in at Dropbox.com and I have access to the same files that are on my laptops.
Dropbox has always been about an awesome user experience and now I can work on numerous file formats such as .doc and .xls in the browser without needing to download files locally. Images and PDFs can be previewed giving me additional flexibility while working.
The main issue I have with Dropbox is that sharing a file with another user eats into their storage allotment and most people are on a free 2GB plan. I find it easier to simply create a zip archive of what I want to share and then provide the link to the archive. This way it triggers a download to their computer. It’s hard convincing people to pay for cloud storage.
Dropbox Teams is great for large organizations and I use it with several client accounts as an up to date file repository and collaboration tool. Almost everything positive I’ve said about Dropbox applies to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud. What makes Dropbox work for me is the constant iteration and file syncing speed.