Use Dropbox to Manage Your Files


4-Step Computer Security Upgrade

Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.

In order to run a paperless, mobile office, using a cloud storage is a near-must. We use Dropbox, which has worked rather wonderfully for the past year, with no major issues. Two new features make the program are making it even better.

Share selected files

With the new version of Dropbox, you can share certain files by emailing a link to the recipient. You can do this either through the web-based version of Dropbox, or through the desktop version. For sharing documents with clients, this is a nice feature to have. The advantage to sharing a link is that clients can just click on it, and read it right away. No issues with PC-Mac compatibility, no issues with .docx or .doc.

Of course, you can always just create a PDF of a file and email to whoever you want. The one disadvantage to sharing a link is that it is not clear how long the link is active. For the most part, documents emailed to clients are documents that will get filed with the court, and be in the public record. But even if you just post a link to an earlier draft, do you really want that sitting on the internet? Be sure to consider that before posting links.

Selectively sync documents

The other advantage is that you can (allegedly) only sync certain folders. That is awesome for computers with smaller hard drives (like a MacBook Air). Our firm’s Dropbox grows bigger by the day, and frankly, I cannot use Dropbox and encrypt all the files to ensure security. Now, however, I can choose to only sync up certain client folders, with room to encrypt them.

Caution – beta upgrade

Before you upgrade, there are two things to consider. One, this is only a beta version, and is not yet considered secure—so upgrade at your own risk. If you do upgrade, I suggest doing it in the evening before you leave work. The new version apparently needs to change all the files, which can take hours depending on how full your Dropbox is.


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  • Sebastian

    Thanks for this article. I also use dropbox and find it very convenient. To handle sensible docs an data, you could consider generating a truecrypt container and throwing it into the dropbox. As long as it’s mounted, it won’t get synced. But after dismounting, dropbox syncs it, and it will usually only sync the part of (encrypted) data that has changed, thus reducing traffic to a minimum. However, before storing valuable and sensible client data in there you should make sure that there are no issues with dropbox and truecrypt. So far, it works for me (but I do not practice law, yet). I only had one issue: I generated a 500 MB container and threw it into the box, but had to go offline before the container was synced completely the first time. This made the truecrypt volume corrupt. So I’d advise to make sure the container is completely synced before you go offline.


  • Sarah

    Dropbox is great! I’ve been using it since May and it’s so convenient. Any idea when they’ll be done with their beta testing?

  • Randall Ryder

    @ Sebastian – thanks for the tip on encryption.

    @ Sarah – I can’t find any info on when they will be done, but there are definitely some kinks to be worked out.

  • Terry

    I love Dropbox, but I need a better way to secure files than truecrypt. Sebastian points out its flaws in his post. If anyone could come up with a way to make a windows compatible security system that truly works easily with Dropbox, I would pay well for it. And trust me, I do NOT like to pay well for software, generally.

    I need a system that allows me to search and share all of my Dropbox folders, but also prevents intruders and allows me control to “nuke” data if a computer has been lost stolen or otherwise compromised. It seems like there would be a way to plant code that allows the “master user” to trigger a total data wipe that would occur a soon as anyone else tried to access the Dropbox files after the trigger was pulled. Since the wise “master user” has backed up all of the Dropbox files elsewhere, he is not worried about data loss. But then, you could rest assured that all of your data was erased, and client data is safe.

    Anybody know if this would work?