Dropbox cloud storage now available to faculty, staff, students


Information and Technology Services is now offering Dropbox at U-M to all faculty, staff and students on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses as well as Michigan Medicine.

Dropbox is a cloud-based storage option that lets users organize different content types in a single place, share documents with secure links from any device, and access important documents on the go.

U-M’s agreement with Dropbox includes a business associate agreement, which allows for the storage of protected health information regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Details and a list of sensitive data types permitted for use with Dropbox are included in ITS’s Sensitive Data Guide.

“We are constantly looking at ways to enhance our community’s ability to innovate, collaborate and share knowledge,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “Dropbox at U-M supports these competencies in a familiar, secure and easy-to-use package.”

ITS is taking a phased approach in rolling out Dropbox at U-M. Initially, faculty, staff and students will have access to individual Dropbox accounts, which include 5 terabytes for data storage. This will cover 99.97 percent of the storage needs of current users when compared with what is stored in Box at U-M.

In the second phase, ITS plans to integrate Dropbox with MCommunity groups so that users can quickly share files and folders with colleagues across U-M.

“We are rolling out this service in phases to let our community start using this secure new tool as quickly as possible,” said Robert Jones, executive director of ITS support services and project lead. “The team is working to quickly roll out additional capabilities in the coming weeks, including Dropbox Team accounts with unlimited storage, enhanced documentation and training sessions.”

Dropbox at U-M will eventually replace Box as the university’s primary storage service, but not for some time. Box users do not need to take any action at this time.

“We anticipate at least a year until we make this change, and we will be working with all appropriate stakeholders to provide plenty of time and support for migration of data,” Pendse said.

Like other university services, Dropbox will be easy to access via Single Sign On and secured by Duo two-factor authentication. Dropbox can be used for collaborative data storage, but not for long-term data archival or to back up other systems or services.

U-M faculty, staff and students who have already created personal Dropbox accounts can visit the website to get information on how to convert their accounts to the U-M instance of Dropbox, as well as to get information on how paid accounts will be refunded.


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