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Integrating dropbox into company's file system


Background
We need a file system to backup all our laptop data files in real-time manner.  We also need a file system to share files among team members.  In previous company, we set up a NAS (Network Attached Storage) and configured backup script that automatically run every morning to backup files from each laptop to the NAS.  We also set up shared folders in the NAS for file sharing purpose.  The shortcoming of the file backup system is that it is not so real-time and it can only run when the laptop is connected to the office LAN (Local Area Network).  The shortcoming of file sharing system is that we can only access the file when connected to LAN or via VPN (Virtual Private Network) when working remotely.

Challenges
Some of the policies that our company (team of seven as of writing, and we don't intend to get bigger than 30) follows when adopting a IT solution is that:
a) Minimal setup cost
b) Minimal, if not zero, hardware (disaster recovery and office mobility planning)
c) Minimal maintenance in the future

Solutions that We Adopted
File Backup
We subscribed all team members to Dropbox Pro 50 monthly plan.  All team members downloaded and installed Dropbox client on their laptops.  We then moved all the data into Dropbox folder.  This solution works offline as well since a copy of the file actually resides in the local drive (while a copy reside in the Cloud).  We get real-time backup since Dropbox sync automatically (in real-time manner) to the Cloud whenever we are online.  This solution also protect against accidental deletion of file, as we can always go to Dropbox website and recover deleted file (only within 30 days for Pro 50 plan).

Added on 2012-05-19: I have recently subscribed to Packrat feature at additional USD3.99/month and that gives additional back-up beyond 30 days.

Results: We can now backup files automatically in real-time manner and it can be done anywhere in the world as long as we are online.

File Sharing
We created a folder called "Sharebox" and shared it among all team members.  Since the number of files can outgrow the local hardrive space (especially if we decide to upgrade to Dropbox Team plan with 1TB of space), we decide to turn off "Sharebox" sync'ing (via Dropbox > Preferences > Advanced > Selective Sync).  We use Dropbox website to browse, download and upload files and folders.

Results: We can now share files among the team members from anywhere in the world as long as we are online.

UPDATE (2014-08-20): We have recently migrated from Dropbox to Google Drive mainly due to the attractive pricing of Google Drive (1TB for USD9.99 per month) and easier integration and user management with our Google Apps. 



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