In the past I have been reluctant to praise Dropbox, because I have had security concerns. But when I recently rechecked Dropbox’ security guidelines, I learned they now have 256-bit AES encryption in place for data that is stored on their servers, and they also provide with the SSL/TLS protocol a safe standard for files in transfer: when data is uploaded to or downloaded from Dropbox.
This makes Dropbox now an equal competitor to many other cloud storage tools that emphasize safety and confidentiality in business. And it meant for me, that I could check out the various possibilities that Dropbox offers, along with the many extensions and external tools that turn Dropbox into a powerhouse. By providing additional services and nice tweaks they have the potential to enhance a business’ workflow and make an entrepreneur’s life much easier.
Let’s cover some basics first.
Dropbox is a file storage provider, based in the cloud. Depending on the plan you are on, you can upload files up to a certain amount of space. With the free plan, you get 2 GB of free storage space, which you can sort in folders. It is perfect for the collaboration with others. Not only can you invite people to share folders with, you can share links to a document, or connect your mobile devices with Dropbox and sync files across all devices. So far so good.
It’s no big secret that there are other cloud storage applications – so what’s so special with Dropbox?
Well, Dropbox is a favorite for many. Maybe because it was a first mover in the market and they managed to keep up with the growing demands for a modern cloud storage provider.
Today, Dropbox is a favorite cloud storage provider for the web community because it optimized its availability on mobile devices and it implemented basic security standards. There is a Dropbox app for every kind of mobile device, and syncing between devices is easy.
The Thing with Automation
Another big advantage is, that almost all automation tools and integration platforms include Dropbox in their integrations. That’s because Dropbox is a major player and not integrating it, would mean a missed opportunity.
Talking about missing something … just in case you missed it, let me tell you something:
We have entered a new era: welcome in the automation age!
In the coming years, we will see that more and more of our business processes and workflows will be automated. The tools we are using in our businesses today are finally beginning to ‘speak’ to each other.
Like a huge nervous system, everything gets interconnected and the way we do business in ten years will be very, very different to how we do it today or have done it five years ago.
When Should you Automate – and When not?
Technology and automation have two sides, just as every other thing in life.
Everything comes with advantages and disadvantages.
More technology doesn’t necessarily mean more relief, and tools do not replace thinking. Sometimes a tool fails to solve the real problem and only locks its users into a specific way of working. It blocks the real work from getting done.
Tools should be there to aid, to help prevent known errors and to help us to remember repeated tasks.
So the point of technology is to help us to create structures that humans can not.
With the tools I am bringing to your awareness today, you can do a lot … but you still need to go through identifying the processes to bring purpose into their application.
6 Tools that Automate Dropbox
FREE & $$
The Dropbox Automator from WappWolf automates repetitive processes in your Dropbox (as well as in other cloud storages). It is an excellent tool for someone with a clarity of their repetitive tasks.
It performs automated actions like
- converting a document to PDF,
- resizing images,
- converting an image format,
- stamping a logo,
and a whole lot more – to a folder of your choice in your Dropbox.
The basic plan is free and allows automation for up to ten files or 100 megabytes per day, whereby its active automations are limited to ten. More advanced features like file conversion, are only accessible with a paid plan.
FREE & $$
CloudConvert is a pro in converting file formats. What makes it so special is that variety of file formats it supports, is huge! Whenever there is a task of converting a file in your business workflow, you should check out CloudConvert. It can convert it to pretty much any compatible format. You can use the web app standalone or connect it to your Dropbox, and have the file downloaded automatically when the conversion is complete.
Tools like IFTTT and Zapier are joker tools.
They are the connectors between everything that is available on the web. The tool and application basis they connect gets bigger every day. Though, their focus is a little different.
FREE & $$
IFTTT specializes on smart home devices but has many of the major business tools included in its portfolio.
Zapier’s focus is on business tools. They got the biggest portfolio of well-known and less-known applications that can be connected with zaps.
Their biggest benefit is: the possibilities of what can be automated are endless. They empower you to create and connect, whatever it is that you want to.
Tip: Using WappWolf in conjunction with IFTTT can be a powerhouse for your Dropbox!
The following two tools provide useful services for tasks that are common in businesses. They aren’t particularly ‘high’ potentials like IFTTT and Zapier, but can be extremely helpful.
Send To Dropbox
Sends attachments straight into your Dropbox
After connecting this tool with your Dropbox, you get an individualized email address that lets you email attachments straight into your Dropbox. Comes with some extra features like folder organization, message body copying or email whitelists. The transfer happens via standard SSL connections.
Sort My Box
This tool is for you if your Dropbox account is in a constant state of chaos. This application will allow you to apply filters to your Dropbox account. Based on the filters you set, uploaded new files will then be moved to the right location automatically. The filter function works like the labels in your Gmail account.
We all have differing working styles. And depending on our business type and business setup, not every tweak or automation is going to work for everyone else.
Even though Send to Dropbox and SortMyBox are limited in the features they offer, they can be a game changer for some.
The most potential to transform your business routines have certainly IFTTT, Zapier, WappWolf, and CloudConvert. There are so many different things you can do with them, I could write a book about.
But before I do that, I will share with you some awesome Dropbox tricks, actionable advice and automation hacks in my next blogpost.