Software | May 6, 2017

Dropbox is ready for Business?

I used to be young and handsome before I started in IT. Most of my gray hair stems from Small Business Servers and earlier pre-cloud technology giving me horrors. I gave up smoking, until I had another SBS server crash.. Then a magic cloud appeared and I thought this to be the silver bullet and an opportunity to regain some sanity.

I was bent on moving my business and my clients’ business to the cloud. We needed a solution equivalent of a windows file server with the benefits of the cloud. We failed and learnt (flearnt) quickly, investing many gray hairs and red eyed monsters trying to get Skydrive / Skydrive for business / One Drive to work. We looked at Box as an alternative, but it had issues syncing files locally and the task of uploading and then downloading files to the Box web page was too time consuming.

After looking for a new storage solution, I decided to take a look at Dropbox – a successful storage system for individuals with a high number of registered users, you can use 2GB of free storage before subscribing for more storage space. I dug a little deeper and found Dropbox had a business version. This looked like the answer.

With a focus purely on cloud storage, Dropbox for Business seemed to be what we were looking for. I uploaded a bunch of data files and started using it with my team and to my surprise no foogin’ sync issues.

A few months of testing and we were ready to deploy to our clients. Some were burnt from One Drive, but the promise of a new solution that solved those issues was well received. Now there were some hurdles, poor internet speed being the first, but we soon found ways to work with that. We then went to a few more clients and said “hey we can retire your file servers, you can work from anywhere and you don’t have to worry about server backups”

“Really!? What about my data, where is it?”

Hmm that was a tough one for me to answer…

“In the cloud, same place your emails and your internet banking is”. It didn’t really matter where the data was. What they were asking me was, is my data safe?

Safer than your file server? Yes. However I did explain to my customers that their data was no longer just on their server, it was “everywhere” and strong security measures needed to be put in place to limit exposure to cyber security risks and data leaks. Safety first.

Their staff were most concerned about change, they were all very used to having a mapped network drive and had a routine of where they saved data to. Once I showed them that Dropbox is very similar, just a different place to save stuff, they were all over it. Soon they were working from home when their kids were sick or couldn’t make it into the office and the person responsible for swapping backup drives has a smaller hand bag.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather my client spend money on improving their business instead of on server maintenance and IT support which has no return on investment. By retiring servers and enabling the client to manage their own storage, plus work from anywhere, Dropbox Business saved both of us a ton of grief.

So is Dropbox ready for business, most definitely.  Just more people need to know about it..

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