Avoiding pitfalls on dropbox

  • For many people, Dropbox is a fantastic solution to the problem of adequate online file storage. But did you know that it can lead to huge internet bills for excessive downloads?

Dropbox is a service that lets you store all your files including photos, documents and videos in the one location. Any files you save to your Dropbox will automatically copy to all your devices including your computer, phone, tablet and the Dropbox website.

As soon as you have an Internet connection, Dropbox will automatically synchronise to each device where your account has been set up. This can result in massive Internet bills as all Dropbox downloads are charged. For example: a client recently queried an internet charge of $110 that transpired within a few hours. This was the result of a 14GB download from a Dropbox account that was automatically synched between a University and home device.

What can I do to avoid massive charges?

  • Be aware of what data you store on Dropbox and the size of the file. You must read the terms and conditions of use of any external storage service carefully and assess the risk associated with storing or transferring your data using that service*
  • Change your Dropbox settings so that it doesn’t synchronise automatically; rather, manually select which files you want to download and when
  • Take advantage of our free internet access and complete large downloads during free off-peak hours (all weekend and Monday to Friday 5:00pm to 8:00 am)
  • Use free alternatives such as Google docs in your Google Drive. This allows you to view files and folders that have been shared directly with you. Find out more about sharing and google drive, visit the Google Drive Help Page

*When using an external storage service, you should ask yourself:

Who is storing my data and what are their policies on intellectual property?
Some cloud services assert their ownership of the intellectual property in anything that is uploaded by users.

Where is the service located – is it a different jurisdiction and are there any legal implications?
In many cases, storage of data that contains personal information outside Australia will be a breach of the Privacy Act.

Who has access to my data and what controls are in place to ensure that they will not misuse my data? What happens if my data is lost, becomes corrupted or I stop using the service?
The Terms and Conditions of some cloud services state that they will take no responsibility for data loss and that they can withdraw the service at any time.

Did you know Griffith is participating in trials for an Australian file storage service?

Griffith are currently participating in the pilot for CloudStor+ which is a new file storage service being made available to institutions through the Australian Access Federation (AAF).

Griffith is also collaborating with other Universities in the Research Data Storage Infrastructure Project (RDSI) funded by the Australian Government. This project is in the process of evaluating a secure file storage system on its Australian network using Share.Edu.

Want to know more?

We will update you upon the conclusion of these trials. Alternatively, please contact the eResearch Services Helpline (eresearch-services@griffith.edu.au) for more information.

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