Can my employer see DropBox files on my work computer?
March 26, 2012 4:20 AM   Subscribe

I currently use Google Docs for cloud storage for documents I wanted to work on at home and at lunch, but I've heard good things about DropBox's usability and would like to give it a try. However, I'm concerned about my employer being able to log what I do in DropBox if it's installed on an office computer. Will my employer be able to access my DropBox the same way they can access the rest of my work machine?
posted by Roz McClure to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, its a good bet that the tech administrator of your office computer has higher user privileges than one of the non-IT employees, so pretty much whatever was on your computer they could get access to it if they wanted to. I don't recall being able to lock the local settings on dropbox (say, so that you could only change options on your account from the DB web site) to prevent someone who has access to your computer from changing settings to what they want. I think a better idea would be to create another dropbox account just for your work computer and only link one folder to your primary dropbox account. I have read of ways to encrypt one's DB contents (interestingly enough to prevent the folks at Dropbox from seeing what you have) but I haven't personally tried this yet. But having an encrypted folder that your employer cannot access the contents of on what is essentially their property may cause a lot more trouble than its worth.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 4:40 AM on March 26, 2012

Anyone who has complete access to, and control of, a computer can do whatever they want with it. If you install dropbox on a work machine, I would say it's unreasonable to expect that they wouldn't be able to access and monitor it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:55 AM on March 26, 2012

If you don't install the program at work and only use the web interface, you have only the same security problems you have with using google docs.
posted by empath at 5:15 AM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Dropbox is going to sync the files so that they are stored on your work computer. If they are on the machine, the machine administrator has access to them.
posted by COD at 5:42 AM on March 26, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, I figured it would be something like that but just wanted to make sure. Thank you very much!
posted by Roz McClure at 6:35 AM on March 26, 2012

I know that empath pointed this out but just to emphasize - you don't need to install it to have access to the files; so use the web interface from work and install it on your home computer.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 6:43 AM on March 26, 2012

chosemerveilleux describes the best setup. I have used Dropbox with an encrypted disk image with great success. On the Mac, you can set up a "sparse bundle," which is a clever type of disk image that grows as you need it, and is composed of tiny "bands" of data that individually sync up with Dropbox. So it's really nice and efficient.

Here are some nice instructions, again, if you've got a Mac.
posted by thejoshu at 8:04 AM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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