The concept of virtual organizations has been in existence since 1990. It is also known as a digital organization, network organization or modular organization. In virtual organizations, the main objective is to reduce costs, meet their customers’ needs and maintain profitability. It is achieved through the adaptation of new technologies to help them remain competitive in the market. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a technology that helps virtual organizations meet the dynamics of the market. The emergence of modern technologies has led to the change in the management and operation of virtual organizations. The new technologies help coordinate the activities, combine the workers’ skills and resources with an objective to achieve the set goals by a virtual organization (Sheridan, 2012). The purpose of this paper is to discuss Dropbox as a technology used to enhance virtual work, and the benefits and risks associated with using it.
Dropbox was founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007 where its main purpose was as a Y Combinator Startup. It is operated by Dropbox, Inc. through the internet by offering file hosting service to users. The users store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization that is enabled by Dropbox cloud computing (Jamsa, 2013). It makes it easier for the users to store files on multiple machines. It enables users to create folders on their computers and view them on other computers with the same contents due to synchronization done by Dropbox. Dropbox offers the users easy accessibility to their data and files on a multiple platforms like the Dropbox website and mobile applications. It is considered as a haven for all the pictures, documents, videos and files that users term them as personal and important. It is also an efficient and faster technology that allows its users to share files with others everywhere around the globe. It is advisable to install Dropbox in every computer one is using to allow easy accessibility of files and documents from the multiple computers. Dropbox ensures that all the personal files and documents stored can be recovered in case of any accidents to the computers.
The change in technology has enabled organizations to adopt new meaning of work far from the traditional meaning. According to Raduege (2008), in the modern world work is characterized by its flexibility, networking, and a global outlook. In the recent years, organizations have developed the concept of virtual work. Virtual work is defined as a system that allows employees to perform their roles with the help of information technology. It guides them towards supporting the business practices to create, share and communication among team members. Dropbox is an example of technology that promotes virtual work in organizations (Sheridan, 2012). It is used to share and store important organization files. Dropbox acts as an online backup for all the files ensuring that they can be retrieved when needed at any time. The virtual workers need to back up the files to avoid loss of data. Saving the files on Dropbox ensures that the users can revert to previous versions that had been stored. It is easy to access data and information of the organizations that was from the past through the Dropbox online backup technology. Dropbox also ensures that files are accessible at any geographical area as long as the user has a computer. It is made possible by the Dropbox file synchronization. Virtual workers spend time working in a non-face-to-face system and in different geographical locations to perform work activities. Dropbox allows such users to access their data and files at any given region as long as the files were saved in Dropbox. It does not require any internet access as the files will be automatically updated the moment the user is back online.
Dropbox technology allows sharing and collaborating files with team members in an organization. It requires that all the users have Dropbox to enable the sharing of files. In virtual organizations, it is important because it ensures coordination and collaboration between all the departments. The virtual workers can work on the same file at the same time in different locations, and it ensures that work is completed in time (Betts, 2011). Dropbox allows users to select who to share certain files with and who has access to which file or folder. It prevents important files of the organization from being hacked. The technology has security features like SSL, which provides the users with security as they are sending and sharing files. Therefore, the important files and data that belong to the organization cannot be accessed by malicious people.
There are a dozen benefits associated with Dropbox that organizations can benefit to ensure they maximize their profits. The introduction of Dropbox ensures that large data is shared even by devices with small amounts of memory. Organizations can benefit from using Dropbox because they can access their files anywhere. All it takes is the user to save the file in the Dropbox account and open it on any other computer in different locations. Dropbox can be used on multiple devices it is not necessarily accustomed to just one device (Wolstenholme, 2014). It also works across platforms where files are synchronized from one computer and modified on another without losing data. Organizations benefit from Dropbox because it allows the backing up of essential files through copying the files to cloud and other devices connected allowed to view the files. Drew Houston was motivated to develop Dropbox because of the many disappointments he had faced due to lack of reliability of the USB flash drive. Dropbox is reliable because it ensures files are stored safe and not forgotten unlike the USB flash drives or portable hard drives.
There are risks that occur with the use of Dropbox technology that pose threats to the management of an organization. Dropbox faces privacy risks besides having security features like SSL. Virtual organizations’ that use Dropbox should ensure that they do not store sensitive information offsite to avoid it getting into the hands of malicious people threatening the organization. Proliferation is also experienced while using Dropbox due to the copying of files on each device (Wolstenholme, 2014). It can result in confusion especially if the user is managing the system on multiple devices. Dropbox is not reliable in organizations with large files because it can only accommodate files that do not require massive storage. In the cases where organizations decide to store large files, space on the computers is reduced. The internet exposes the organization to risk of its system being hacked and important files accessed by malicious people. Slow internet causes delayed synchronization of files to the cloud, and some of the files might be lost in the process.
It is evident that with the change and development of new technologies, the use of Dropbox is expected in the future. Organizations will not only use Dropbox technology for sharing and storing files but also in the completion of other tasks in the organization. The emerging trends in organizations are forcing managers, human resource personnel and recruiters to change their means of hiring and acquiring talent (Wolstenholme, 2014). In the distant future, Dropbox will be used to in the hiring and selection of employees without conducting face-to-face interviews hence saving time and reducing costs. These changes are also prevalent in the way organizations advertise vacancies and the approach they take to ensure the work is completed. Virtual workers need to equip themselves with the purpose of Dropbox to help them in tactics in job seeking, collaboration and work behavior to get the positions and roles they want. Dropbox technology is expected to reshape the workplace in the future and influence the performance of work and career paths of its users.
In conclusion, the paper analyzed virtual organizations, Dropbox technology and its application to virtual work. The technology is very useful to virtual organizations because it provides a platform for sharing and storing files ensuring that no information related to the organization is lost. It also ensures that tasks are completed are completed efficiently and in time. Dropbox also ensures that the users can work on any part of the globe and access their files on any computer. Although Dropbox has some of its downsides, it is the best trend expected to change organizations in the future. Modifications such as neat features like syncing and sharing should be added to it to ensure that it is the best online backup solution. In addition, research shows that among the numerous applications available, Dropbox proved to be the best in terms of stability and reliability.