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The Dangers of Dropbox for Business

A large number of companies use Dropbox for business purposes; however it’s been recently discovered that it may not be wise to continue to do so as valuable information can easily be lost due to synchronising errors.

Dropbox calls itself “a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files” and says that “anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.” However one user has had thousands of his files accidentally deleted.

Jan Čurn the CTO of VirtualRig Studio who has been using Dropbox for business since 2009 has had 8,343 files deleted due to a glitch in the cloud storage services directory where it hadn’t synced correctly. Čurn recently published a blog post detailing exactly what happened and advices his followers to think twice before relying solely on Dropbox for business as a company’s backup solution.

The situation arose when Čurn needed to free some space on his Mac. He moved some of his files onto his Dropbox account. He then synced the device and Dropbox and the application froze. Following a restart, everything seems to be in working order and his files were correctly synced allowing him to delete the links between his Mac and Dropbox. Two months later when Čurn went back to the directories to receive a specific file, he noticed the directories were in fact empty meaning 8,343 of his files were gone.

Čurn contacted Dropbox who informed him that as the error happened over 30 days ago, they were unable to retrieve all of his files, although they were able to retrieve 1,463 of the files. He believes the error occurred due to a flaw in the way Dropbox works- “first it deletes files locally before it informs the server about the new selective sync settings. Consequently, if the client crashes or is killed before the server is contacted, the files remain deleted without any trace. After the client restarts again, it only sees there are some files missing and syncs this new state with the server.”

If you’d like further information about other backup solutions and information about Cloud services, please contact Signal Networks, the IT specialists.


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