As a small business owner, being able to organize and keep track of your important computer files is important. But what happens when you have multiple computers or you have to share files with someone? Carrying around a USB drive or emailing files back and forth to people can make things pretty unorganized when you start creating multiple copies of a file. Do you remember where you saved the latest copy of that important file? Wouldn't it be great if there was a free file storage service that let you:
- Automatically back up the files stored on your computer to a secure online storage center
- Automatically sync any changes you make to those documents without you having to do anything
- Access those files from anywhere, even from your phone
- Share files and entire folders with anyone you choose without having to send them as an email attachment
Introducing Dropbox for your small business
Dropbox is an online file storage service that is available to businesses as well as individuals. According to Wikipedia.org, Dropbox is a “Web-based file hosting service operated byDropbox, Inc. that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization.” Simply stated, it is a means of making all of your files available anywhere with a few clicks of your mouse or even your phone.
Before Dropbox, we usually sent files to each other through email which has its file limitations. Have you ever spent ten minutes emailing pictures to someone, only to have the email returned to you because the file was too big for the recipient’s email host? Uploading files to an email also takes a long time, and often crashes before the upload is complete. It is, for all intents and purposes, inconvenient.
Now, with Dropbox, files up to 2 GB can be shared with multiple users by just dragging your file to the Dropbox folder, which is stored right next to the rest of the document folders on your computer. It is, indeed, a very productive application for large and small businesses alike. I am pretty sure that we all have on occasions lost data as a result of a computer crash. Dropbox can act as a file vault where you can confidently save your documents without the fear of losing them when your computer crashes. A few simple clicks will restore all of your files on any computer you choose.
Here are the steps on how to sign up and install Dropbox:
- First, you need to create an account. Click the Log in button located at the upper right corner of the screen (highlighted in red in the illustration below). Click the Create an Account link to take you to the registration page. You need to fill in your name and your email address on the boxes provided. After, check the box stating that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. Click Create an Account button after the boxes are filled in.
Once you have created your personal account, your computer will automatically download the setup. Open the Dropbox.exe button once the downloading is done, and then click Run.
After the installation, you are now ready to use Dropbox. All files that you save in to your Dropbox folder will sync with other computers where you have installed Dropbox.
If, for example, you want to share a specific file or files to somebody, you need to log in to your account. Once you are in, click on the Sharing button (red arrow). Doing so opens a dialog box with yet another button (green arrow), click on that, too.
Clicking the Share a Folder button will open a box asking you whether to share an existing folder or a new one. The illustration below show a new folder that will be shared by the user. Click Next after this short process.
The Next button will enable you to type in the email addresses of the person or persons you want to share it with. Finally, click the Share Folder button.
After step 6, it is just a matter of dragging or copy-pasting important files to that folder you just made.
Dropbox for your small business
Dropbox is not only a powerful tool where you can create back up copies of your most important files, it is also a very practical and productive way of sharing vital documents to others. More so, if you travel a lot for business, Dropbox makes all of your files available and accessible even without a computer. With an iPhone, Android or other smartphone, your Dropbox files will be within easy reach to you wherever you happen to be. It’s a great feeling to be able to send an important file to a client from your phone instead of trying to find someone to get to your computer and email it to them for you. The best part about all of this is that Dropbox has a free version that includes 2 gigabytes of storage but you can earn up to 8 additional gigabytes by referring the service to others. If you are a small business owner in need of a super easy way to backup and share files, consider giving Dropbox a try, it will make your life a little easier.
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