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Running Out of Space? A Dropbox Primer: What Every Agent Needs to Know
Is your hard drive running out of storage space? Are you tired of dealing with file size limits when sending emails or losing them in long email threads? Fear not, because the internet has a solution designed specifically to make full drives a thing of the past while maximizing your ability to share your files. Today, hosting most of your files online (using an online service to store your files on remote servers) has become ubiquitous with the digitalization of the real estate sales process. As a result, file hosting as a business has become massive. For example, Google Drive boasts more than 1 billion users and 2 trillion files, while the early champ in the space, Dropbox, reports 700 million registered users and 550 billion pieces of content. The top three file-sharing services, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, dominate the offerings available with 77% total market share, according to Enlyft research. Because Dropbox was established four years before Google Drive, many real estate agents are avid Dropbox users. In addition, Dropbox is a dynamic choice, especially for agents to keep their files and team in sync with one another. What makes Dropbox so helpful is that it gives you easy access to your files, no matter your digital device. The service also stores your files on multiple servers and uses encryption technology to keep your files incredibly safe from viruses and scammers. But there's much more to Dropbox than using it as your digital hard drive. Here is a brief primer on what every agent needs to know about Dropbox. Intro to Dropbox Access to Dropbox requires an account, and it's easy as creating a new email. Simply enter your name and email address, create a strong password, and agree to the terms of service: your account is all set to go! It's also simple to add new files to your Dropbox. You can drag and drop files from your device into the Dropbox folder. On your PC, your Desktop will show your saved folders and file, the same as if it is on a local drive. If you want to save files manually instead of dragging and dropping files, that's simple too. First, go to your Dropbox account and click on the "All files" tab in the left sidebar. Then, navigate your mouse to the folder where you want to save your selected files or folders. From there, click on the "Upload" button. Select the "Upload files" or "Upload folder" tab, depending on your needs. Your file and/or folder should show up. Click on "Open" to confirm everything is there. The power of sharing Dropbox offers a mobile app that allows you to manually upload files, photos, and videos on the go. And since you are storing your files in the cloud, you'll have an easier time sharing your files and folders – no matter where you are. With Dropbox, agents can quickly share files and folders they want to show to their coworkers, administrative assistants, team members, or clients. To start, scroll to the item you would like to share and select the "share" icon that appears. From there, type in the email or name of the person, people, or group you'd like to share the selected file or folder with, then select the "Can Edit" or "Can View" option from the dropdown menu. Under settings, you can customize who will access your downloads and even require a password or set an expiration date for safeguarding. From there, just click on the "Share file" or "Share folder" option, and your recipients will receive an email invitation to instantly access what you have shared. That email invitation gives them a hyperlink to access on Dropbox the files you shared. (The recipients don't need a Dropbox account.) And since you are not sending copies of the physical files, your email never exceeds its sending limits. Advantages to Dropbox One of the key advantages of using Dropbox is its versatility. With features such as shared folders, multi-file organization, the ability to convert documents to other file formats, and more, Dropbox has become an agent's "hard drive in the sky." When you first sign up for Dropbox, several storage plans are offered, ranging from a basic free plan that contains up to 2 GB of storage space to an enterprise-level business plan that holds at least 2 TB of available space for files and folders. These options will help you decide what level will meet your needs. For individual use, pricing ranges from Dropbox Plus at $9.99 per month to Dropbox Professional + digital signatures for $24.99 per month, which also comes with 3GB of encrypted cloud storage. Dropbox also allows you to neatly organize all your content, including client information, contracts, and related promotional material, into different folders to share securely with your others. Dropbox is an excellent safeguard for your documents against hackers and malware. Even if your digital device goes kaput, Dropbox will still store your files that you can easily synch with your new device. Also, if you accidentally delete or save over an important file that you need, Dropbox has the option to let you view previous and deleted versions of your files. Dropbox is a time and space saver Moreover, Dropbox can be a vital space saver for storing home video tours, especially if you want to share them directly with future clients and buyers, versus sending them a link to YouTube, avoiding all the ads. Dropbox storing all your items on the cloud automatically and backing up your files is a huge time saver. You also won't be taking up important space on your computer or other digital devices better suited for other things. Remember, if you have free access to Tech Helpline as a member benefit of your MLS or association, you can get all your Dropbox questions answered. Or if you have questions about another online data storage service, Tech Helpline analysts are ready to assist and are only a click, call, or text away. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Using OneDrive: 5 tips for storing and sharing photos, videos and docs online
Microsoft created its cloud storage service, OneDrive, to allow people to "access, share and collaborate on your files from anywhere." Eighty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies and a quarter of a million organizations worldwide have OneDrive, according to Microsoft. While Google and Dropbox may have more individual users, for business, OneDrive is dominant. The best thing about OneDrive may be how it allows you to work securely from any device: your desktop, laptop or on your phone through its mobile app. In terms of flexibility, OneDrive is powerful because in addition to supporting Office files, it is also compatible with more than 300 file types, from Photoshop files (PSD) and Illustrator (AI) to Adobe PDF and 3D image formats. Here are our five successful OneDrive tips and tricks for agents:
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Back It Up! But What's the Best Way to Protect Your Data?
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Forget the Refrigerator Magnets and Market With Thumb Drives
Are there any new ideas for real estate marketing? All of the old standby methods are still being used, from pens to refrigerator magnets. Those work fairly well for keeping your name and number out there if they keep them. What about an inexpensive way to put digital content in front of your prospects? Promote a new listing with images or even video. Or, do a presentation of your services. You can even do brief videos of your client testimonials. Using USB thumb drives, all of this is easy.
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How Safe Is the Cloud?
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Photos Taking Up Too Much Space? A Few Tips to Compress
When you see a warning that your storage is 90 percent full, you might begin to panic. And you probably know exactly what's causing your problem: your photos. For most real estate professionals, photos and videos have become both a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing because powerful visuals help sell homes. But they are also a curse because they are data hogs. Yet, there are ways you can use less space on your device without losing all the luster of your great photos. Let's take a look at some of the things you can do to reduce the amount of space your images are taking up on your phone and your laptop.
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How to Back Up Your Data! [Video]
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Prepare for Disaster: Going Without Your Favorite Technology
All good things must come to an end. This is as true in the technology world as it is anywhere else. When one or more of your favorite technology solutions becomes unavailable, whether it's because your MLS is changing vendors or the vendor themselves go out of business, it can be upsetting and disruptive. The solution is to be as prepared as possible. Here are a few suggestions. 1) Recognize that it can happen to anyone. No technology is immune from this possibility. That goes for your website provider, MLS system, your phone, your computer, and more. Take every single tool that you use and imagine life without it; that will give you some idea of the potential realities. You need to have a disaster recovery plan for everything that you cannot live without. It does not need to be planned in great detail – but you need to know the basics. 2) Understand the differences between "software as a service" and installed software. Even if you're unfamiliar with the term "software as a service" (SaaS), you're certainly familiar with the concept – it usually refers to an application hosted on the Internet. For the purposes of this discussion, when we refer to SaaS, we're also talking about cloud-based software – while there are some fine distinctions between the two, they are very similar in that the data is hosted externally and you access it through a Web browser. This is in contrast to software that is actually installed on your computer (like Microsoft Word) and data stored on your computer (like a Word document).
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