Accidental Dropbox sharing: some tips to prevent it

Dropbox is a wonderful service for sharing and syncing documents. If you have not heard of it or used, check out my post about it here. For precisely the same reason that it works so well, it is also fraught with danger when sharing folders.

Bob Ambrogi, lawyer-blogger, points out the perils of accidentally putting a file in the wrong Dropbox shared folder in his excellent article Shared a Dropbox folder? Don’t forget! Ambrogi explains the problem:

Surprisingly, I have seen this happen several times. I share a Dropbox folder with another person as we work on a joint project. Six months or a year later, that someone starts loading documents into the shared folder that clearly are not intended for me. Has the person forgotten that the folder is shared? Has the person forgotten with whom the folder is shared?

It seems similar to sending an email to the wrong person. Pondering this issue, I have a couple of tips that help prevent accidental sharing in Dropbox:

1. Colored Folders. I color the folder names of share folders with a bold, vivid color so they stand out. I use a Mac, but I assume you can do this with a PC also; and

2. Folder Layers. If possible, I create one “shared” folder within Dropbox for shared documents and folders. This provides an extra level of protection to prevent accidental sharing. To get to the “shared” folders you have to at least click through one folder layer and maybe more. This creates the opportunity to realize you are heading to the wrong place.

Do you have any tips for combatting accidental sharing in Dropbox?

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."