Well, I just found out that my group member Fanny Sia just uploaded an article on the same topic as I worked on. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do research and to write a new article. What is good about her article is that she also related it to possible usage in businesses and how it can be possible to encrypt data before uploading. That is why I would highly recommend to read her article as well. Thanks Fanny.
I can remember times when I had an important assignment or a thesis to write. You are constantly concerned that your computer hard drive might collapse. Then you save the file on a USB stick. And to make sure to still have the file in case you lose your USB stick you save an additional file by sending it to your own email address. Well, keeping track of files turns out to be very complicated, especially at a time where data is spread over many different places (mobile, netbook, iPod, desktop…).
There is a program which can solve these problems and make your life much easier. It is called Dropbox and was founded in 2007. It is a web based file hosting service which allows you to store your data online and access it from all over the world. The following youtube video gives a short introduction to how Dropbox works:
In the beginning I was very skeptical of Dropbox because I was not sure about the safety conditions, but eventually I was convinced by this technology. Still, I would not upload my private data on their servers but I have to say that Dropbox is such a good tool to use for university purposes. At school we have so many presentations and group work to do. When you work on a power point presentation for example, it was so much of a stress to send the presentation around, then everyone made adjustments and in the end you had to put all the different parts together again. It could not be more annoying and time consuming. Using Dropbox allows everyone who has access to the shared group folder to access the files from his or her computer or client (it works for iPhone too). Everyone can make changes to the presentation and at the day of the presentation, when everyone has lost the USB stick with the presentation on it, you can still get the file easily from your computer at school. Doesn’t this make your life easier?
But let’s get back to the security topic I talked about before. As I said, I don’t really trust these online servers and therefore would never upload private content. During my research on this topic I was confronted with a recent issue concerning Dropbox’s security standards. Referring to this article it as said that Dropbox employees would not be able to access and see the uploaded files without the user’s passwords, which would mean that the user has the key in his hands. But it is stated that Dropbox just recently changed their terms of services so that the staff now actually has access to the files.
What does that basically tell us? We should be aware that every piece of information that we share on the internet is not save and could be accessed by anyone. That is why one should think about what kinds of data will be uploaded. In my opinion, Dropbox is still a very good tool for group work at school or similar activities. But everything beyond is probably too risky…