Wananga landing Wananga landing


15 January 2024

Dropbox is a cloud file storage service that lets you share, synchronise, and collaborate on documents across UC and with a wider group of collaborators in academia and industry. Learn more.

What is Dropbox?

Dropbox is a cloud file storage service that lets you to share, synchronise, and collaborate on documents across the UC and with an even wider group of collaborators in academia and industry.

Applications include:

  • Joint research projects
  • Funding bids
  • PG supervision
  • Accessing files off-site and around the clock
  • Allowing visitor and time restricted access to selected files and folders, while maintaining high levels of security for the data you need to keep private

UC has an institutional subscription which allows you virtually unlimited storage space. If you already have an account, you are invited to join the UC enterprise account, where there is an added benefit of greater security and backup and support. You can even keep your personal account and link it through our desk top application – maintaining privacy but allowing greater access to your data in one place.


Dropbox Paper

Paper is a collaborative document editing service that is built into your University Dropbox account. Paper is designed from the ground up to let you and your colleagues co-author and comment on documents in real-time.

Unlike conventional office documents, Paper works with a range of media. Paper documents are designed to live and evolve online and can be accessed from your browser as well as from the Paper app on iOS and Android devices.

Like other files on Dropbox, your Paper document also has version history and tracking. Learn more about Paper.

File size and upload limits

File size limit

There is no file size limit. Your UC Dropbox account allows you to store files of any size or type. However, your upload speed may vary depending on the file size and the network you're using.

Upload limit

There is a 50GB limit per file upload if you are accessing Dropbox through your browser.

UC Dropbox account vs personal Dropbox account

What is the difference between a University Dropbox account vs a personal account?

Your UC Dropbox account allows you to securely store and share documents for work/research purposes.  Some of the benefits of your UC Dropbox account include:

  • Free for staff: your UC Dropbox account is covered by our enterprise subscription.
  • Unlimited storage: Personal Dropbox accounts have a storage limit between 2GB and 1 TB. Your University Dropbox account has no storage limits, allowing you to store all your working files and media without fear of running out of space.
  • Access anywhere: once stored on your University Dropbox account, your documents can be opened from your phone, tablet, laptop or browser.
  • Data security: only you and your collaborators can see your files. Folder owners control who sees what. For more information, see data security section below.
  • Smart sync: your device's storage becomes virtually limitless with Smart Sync, a Dropbox feature that makes all your documents available on your devices while downloading only the ones you open.
  • Version history and recovery: revisions of Dropbox documents are kept for the life of the document, allowing you to easily recover files and restore previous versions.

Is Dropbox secure?

Data within Dropbox is considered highly safe and secure. As with any computer storage system, there is always some risk of unauthorised access or the accidental sharing of data. It’s important to note that Dropbox is designed for sharing with others it is not the only or best solution for secure, private and long term storage of sensitive data.

For added security, you have the option to encrypt sensitive information – such as budget details for a project (this can include file encryption or password protection) before adding it to Dropbox.

If you have concerns about the content or type of information you wish to share, contact the Dropbox support team and we can advise you on the best way to keep your data and documents private and secure.

Please note that you are still responsible for the data you place on Dropbox. Please be mindful of who you grant access to your files, and consider that the specific requirements for your data may not align with Dropbox's capabilities (i.e. that some data should never be shared in its original form).

Dropbox and encryption

You can store confidential and sensitive information on your University Dropbox account, provided it is encrypted before uploading.

Datasets that contain identifiers should be de-identified first before uploading to Dropbox. If in doubt, always encrypt your data and be mindful about sharing the data. Dropbox is designed as a tool for sharing and collaboration – it is not the only storage solution and may not be the best solution if your data must be kept confidential.

Privacy of DropBox content

The only people who can access your files are you and the collaborators whom with you selectively share your files. The owner or administrator of a folder can appoint other people as owners, so it is important to know who is able to share folders if you will be storing sensitive files.

In the case of an audit investigation, University systems administrators may be directed to access your account - as they are able to do with other IT services (such as email, desktop devices or networked storage drives). Such access is in accordance with the IT Policy Framework and the Staff Code of Conduct. If such a request is made, the systems administrator would access the account solely for the directed purpose of the investigation. We expect this provision to be used very rarely.

Where does Dropbox store my data?

Dropbox data is stored in the cloud, using US-based servers, however this is changing to Sydney based servers in 2020.

Highly confidential information

In research terms, highly confidential information is anything containing identifiable information, such as:

  • health data 
  • personal financial data
  • employment records
  • culturally sensitive information
  • commercially sensitive information
  • location data of endangered or protected ecosystems
  • student information and records, including exam questions

File version history, deletion and auditing

You can recover deleted Dropbox files and file versions for up to 120 days from the deletion and unlimited version history. 

An immutable activity log is available for your files, allowing you and ICT system administrators to see who interacted with a file, and the nature of those interactions.  These audit logs (of all changes and deletions) are kept forever.

If you need it, secure deletion of files is available upon request.

Data management requirements

The creation, use and sharing of research data at UC is governed in accordance with the Research Conduct Policy, and must comply with the requirements for ethical and socially responsible research and commercial research, including relevant Government regulation (such as the Privacy Act 1993)

Data ownership of external research collaborations

The University does not assert ownership of data that originates externally, even if it is uploaded to a University-licensed/managed system and resides there - the act of uploading a document or data does not change the ownership rights, nor impact Intellectual Property rights.

It is important that research data and records are held in University licensed/managed systems so that full backup, disaster recovery and data integrity safeguards are available to protect research outputs, and that data is retained to comply with funding obligations and government regulations.

Dropbox is one of several options for data storage at UC – but it’s important to note that its strength is as a tool for sharing and collaborative research, rather than being the best or most appropriate location for storing large amounts of raw data that will be primarily used internally.

Can I share files with external researchers and collaborators?

Yes, you can share files with colleagues from outside UC. However, please be mindful of the types of data you share, and of any contractual or commercial obligations that may cover your data.

What happens to my data when I leave the University?

Your University Dropbox account will be subject to the University's exit procedures and data retention processes.

Personal files on my University Dropbox account

Dropbox is provided to support your work as an employee of the University.

  • Personal files can be kept in a personal folder on your University account. Content remains private, so long as you do not make the folder shared. However, the data in your personal folder remains subject to the University’s IT Policy Framework and the Staff Code of Conduct and can be audited if required.
  • It is possible to link to your existing personal Dropbox account through the desktop application, without it becoming a folder within the UC Dropbox account.
  • If privacy is a high priority for you, we would advise you to maintain a personal Dropbox account for your personal files (keeping personal files personal)

Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.