Dropbox can be a bit of an unwieldy beast, particularly for a business in a situation with external contractors and staff with their own Personal Dropbox accounts.
Collaboration tools are really important to most businesses in 2019. Being in the same virtual space—when teams are scattered around the country or external consultants with their own laptops are in a meeting in your office—is no longer optional. Dropbox Business can work well if your business has an efficient folder hierarchy and administration process.
This guide will explain how to:
- resolve clashes/conflict for staff between Personal Dropbox and their work email address / Business Dropbox account
- choose the correct structure for Dropbox Business sharing across staff, teams, and external contractors
- stop the headache of one staff member being designated “file librarian” and having others email files to them.
- have greater sharing with external contractors who have their own laptops with Personal and/or Business Dropbox accounts
- stop hard drive space being gobbled up using Smart Sync.
Staff Working with Personal Dropbox and Business Dropbox
A lot of people have a Personal Dropbox account and it’s usually linked to their personal email address. When they join a workplace that has Dropbox Business, they will then have a second Dropbox account tied to their work email address.
On Dropbox Business, you can link a Personal Account with the Business Account. Linking a personal Dropbox with a Business Dropbox is really easy as it allows you to access both your personal and business information while storing them separately.
Your private folders will remain private and only your shared folders can be seen by others.
For more information, click here.
Find out how to link your Personal account with your Work account by clicking here.
With Dropbox Business, you can organise members of your team into Groups. Share a folder or file with a Group to grant access automatically to all Group Members.
Dropbox Team works well with people that are members of your business team (staff). It doesn’t work when people are not part of the one Dropbox Business account. For businesses with external contractors, keep it simple and use Shared Folders and Files instead of Dropbox Groups and Teams.
Working with External Contractors
Rather than using Dropbox Teams, I would recommend you only share files and folders. Edits or comments that are made to a file or folder are updated live for everyone who they’ve been shared with. Create a folder hierarchy that allows you to grant access to collaborative projects, separate to private company files will make this easier. Also try using meaningful folder names to allow for easier navigation. For example, our folder structure is:
<Client Name> / <Project> / <Project Name File Share>
<Project Name File Share> is the folder we share with our external contractors and/or clients. It’s easier to search through all our folder names to find all the <File Share> folders if we need to change permissions for any reason. For all Shared Folders and Shared Files, you can set permission to “Can View” or “Can Edit”. On Shared Folders, you can also “Manage Access” to allow “Folder Members” or “Only You” to add people to this folder.
With Dropbox Business, you could invite an external contractor to join and be part of your account, however we would not recommend that. Once they join your Dropbox Team, all of the files of the external contractor will belong to the Team Admin of that Dropbox Business account.
Managing Disk Space with Smart Sync
Do you have folders that are curvier than average? Folder size, particularly video and photo files, can overwhelm hard drives on your staff laptops. When you migrate files to Dropbox and share them with teams, use Smart Sync. It allows team members to have a look at what’s in the folder, without the folders taking up space on their hard drives. Staff will have the choice to download the files to their hard drive, or view and work with them online.
Your Dropbox administrator can access Smart Sync from the Settings tab.