If you’ve never heard of Dropbox, it’s an online storage facility for you to do backups and share docs with multiple devices and users.
One that deletes your files at random and then tries to tell you it’s your fault.
You get an icon on your desktop that tells you the activity on Dropbox, and last week I got about 20 pop ups in the space of a few minutes telling me that thousands of files were successfully deleted. After I just spent 4 days uploading 15GB of data! Needless to say, I dropped what I was doing to see what was going on as I was not deleting any files. I checked all the users connected to my account, none of them had rights, nor had were they signed on in that time frame. I tried to click anything to stop the deletion, but there is no such facility.
There is very conveniently, no email address to contact any Dropbox staff, you have to fill in an online form and they will get back to you. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you type of thing”. I frantically tried to get hold of them, but no call was forthcoming. I started to trawl through my data to try and figure out what was being deleted. It doesn’t tell you what’s being deleted or from where, only that “files” were deleted. Have you tried to figure out at the drop of a hat what mission critical data is gone?
All the financials were still there as far as I could tell, and the user manuals, training material and schedules I spent years putting together. And then last night, I went to my folder with my paid for images that I use for presentations when speaking at conferences. The 800 high-res images that I spent thousands of Rands on over a year, were all gone. All of them. I just went cold.
And so I contacted Dropbox again, but this time I also tweeted and wrote all over their Facebook wall. Then I got a reply, a lovely generic thing that basically treats you like a 5 year old and tells you it’s your error. Well dear Dropbox, it’s not my error, and I am not alone in my plight judging by what people say on your Facebook comments. I guess then it was strategic that they don’t allow people to write on their wall, you can only comment on things they post. They never reply to people’s comments either. Nice.
In the interim, I’ve managed to find the deleted files on Dropbox using advanced search, (mostly jpg’s funnily enough), and have started restoring them which is taking hours and hours. Found all my paid for images, but also found the images I used to prepare my annual MVP report, commissioned artwork, corporate identity files, and screenshots of site usage reports over years. All deleted without my permission or knowledge. The search continues for what else is missing.
A twist comes in now though, in that once you move your documents out of Dropbox and back to your C-drive, it shows the files as deleted. So now I have to figure out what was deleted randomly, and what was moved manually myself last night. How long do you think it will take me to compare 15GB of data? Thanks for nothing Dropbox.
I used to be a big fan of Dropbox, but the second I upgraded and forked out money, my data started getting deleted – now I won’t go near them with a 10 foot pole!
What’s the lesson here for SharePoint? It is absolutely vital that your infrastructure is healthy, stable, secure and has backups and DR that have been tested! If you are an IT Pro, and your SharePoint environment crashes and loses data randomly, are you going to be the one to try and explain it to business? And then try and blame them in the process? Do you think they’ll ever use SharePoint again if that happens?
So again I’m going to ask the question – how are you managing, governing and communicating SharePoint? Are you being a Dropbox?
Perception can be a terrible thing. If people perceive a product to be unstable in some way, right or wrong, they won’t use it. There is no amount of money or motivation on earth that will ever convince me to use Dropbox ever again. I don’t trust it, I don’t trust them, I don’t like their response, and they clearly do not care about their customers or their customers’ data.
And word gets round. On Twitter I reached almost 7000 people in the space of a minute or two; there’s hundreds of thousands of people on their Facebook fan page that can read comments; and I’ll reach around 6000 people with my blog this month. It might not sound like a lot in the bigger scheme of things, but you know how fast bad news travels. If a business user has a perception that SharePoint is unstable, word will spread like wildfire and it will take you years to turn that tide around.
SharePoint, like Dropbox, is used mostly as a document repository. It is one of the primary purposes of these tools – you are expected to have a 100% stable and secure environment. What would be the point otherwise?
Epic fail Dropbox! I want my money back!
PS : If you’re wondering why my stuff wasn’t in SharePoint in the first place, it’s because I can’t find a hosted solution that’s cost effective enough for 15GB of data, they all have too little space in the packages. Right now it’s distributed over a few sites with a maximum size limit of 3GB, not ideal, that’s why I thought Dropbox would be a good interim solution. I’m still a small business so don’t need internal servers yet. I’m busy moving to Office 365 which I hope will solve this issue.