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Dropbox: Great, Free Child Care Software

Sometimes the best things in life are free. And recently, when a client asked what cloud storage software I would recommend, I said unequivocally “Dropbox.”

Syncing childcare files can be as easy as flying a kite with Dropbox

Consider cloud storage like Dropbox for your child care center

First of all, Dropbox (and most cloud storage software) is a free service that lets you bring all your daycare photos, scanned and signed immunization forms, classroom spreadsheets, emergency contact forms, tuition invoices, etc. all into one place. It keeps the Dropbox folder synchronized across all you devices (e.g., your reception area PC and the Director’s office PC). It’s easy to install, and works on Macs, PCs, iPhones, Android phones, iPads, (again) etcetera, etcetera.

Dropbox allows you to store up to a certain amount of files and then for charges for storage beyond that. You can share it across teams so multiple administrators in your office can all collaborate effortlessly without having to email things back in forth. It’s like having the same thumb drive plugged into everyone’s computers at the same time.

Secondly, Dropbox performs a backup of your files. If a laptop or computer fails on you, you have a backup “in the cloud”. Software like Dropbox also allows you to go back in time and get previous versions, in case you have a catasrophe and delete five pages of you upcoming monthly newsletter and then the computer reboots, you can simply wind back the clock in Dropbox and get to the earlier version.

Of course, Dropbox is not the only solution for cloud storage, and it is well worth checking out SugarSync or if you are a diehard Microsoft, Google, or Apple fan, their solutions, Skydrive, Drive, and iCloud respectively, as well. Here is a decent blog that summarizes some of the different options out there and their trade-offs.

Security should be a concern when you turn loose your files on the wild world worldwide web. If it makes you feel better, Dropbox recently crossed the 100 million subscriber mark so you are putting your eggs in a very big basket with a lot of other ducks and businesses. With Dropbox, you should exercise the same precautions with keeping passwords private and software and antivirus up-to-date. I would recommend each person with a computer creating their own Dropbox account and then creating shared folders among the users at the day care center.

Also, you should check with your specific software vendors to make sure it is compatible with Dropbox syncing. For example, Quickbooks can cause problems for some of the cloud storage software. This could be true for your locally install child care specific tuition and billing software. But for run of the mill work, cloud storage software works as advertised.

Note: BumbleBee is not affiliated with Dropbox or any other cloud storage provider. If you click this link, we’ll get a referral bonus from Dropbox if you sign up.

Do you have any comments to share with your child care center using cloud storage software? How do you share files?

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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.

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