Dropbox has made employee collaboration and mobile file sharing more convenient with its newest release. As of March 12, 2013, the company’s interface and mobile apps present more relevant information in one menu. Dropbox has also improved notifications, sending them in real time for Android and iOS, and also making them easily accessible when users log in.
The company announced the changes on the Dropbox blog. Mobile employees will now be able to get updates from the office through the file sharing system when needed, and they will be kept abreast of changes as the home office carries them out. When mobile employees share files directly, they will receive the corresponding notifications right away.
While many companies are using cloud computing, such as that offered by Rackspace, many of the documents mobile employees need are not yet in the company cloud or are not accessible to mobile users. The Dropbox system and other remote storage services give mobile employees the ability to share files as needed, either with other employees who are away from the office or with the home office.
Office staff may be limited to accessing information through their desktop computers from the internal company network. With the new mobile file sharing and mobile notification features, they can make key data available to employees who are out on customer calls or at project sites. Conversely, mobile employees can make real-time updates to records if they receive new information while visiting customers or at off-site meetings.
Using remote storage services for sharing company documents is attractive from a security point of view for two reasons. First, while Dropbox is a third party vendor and possibly less secure than the company cloud, the service is more secure than sharing via email. When employees share specific documents, any security breach is limited to what has been shared. Second, rather than giving employees access to a network of system files from their mobile device, they gain access to the particular information they need at that time. The risks are both reduced and limited in scope.
Companies have to weigh the risks against the advantages of equipping field personnel with the latest customer data before sales calls and getting real-time updates soon after meetings. Similarly, on-site examination of damages, warranty claims, project progress and staffing levels are processes that lend themselves to immediate updates from mobile devices. Company cloud systems are often not designed to accept such documentation, but a Dropbox account or a similar service lets employees share informally and receive automatic notification of the updates.
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