Effective April 25, 2018, T&I has changed the default privacy setting for Dropbox shared links. Shared links are now by default open only to members of the Davidson community, but can be manually changed to be accessible to anyone on the internet. Existing shared links aren't affected, but should be reviewed to make sure sharing settings are appropriately limited.
Please contact the T&I Service Desk if you have any questions about the right way to store and share sensitive information in Dropbox.
Shared links in Dropbox allow you to grant access to files and folders directly via a link. Shared links can be accessible to anyone with access to the link, or can be restricted to members of the Davidson community (all faculty, staff, students and other accountholders.)
As of April 25, 2018, shared links are limited to the Davidson community by default.
Shared links can be convenient, particularly when sharing files with individuals who don't have and don't want to create a Dropbox account. But, use caution with shared links:
- A public shared link ("Anyone with the link can view this folder") makes your files accessible to anyone on the Internet who has the link. This isn't a safe way to share confidential or sensitive information.
- A Davidson-only shared link ("Anyone on your Dropbox team with the link can view this folder") requires that the user be part of the Davidson community, but still can lead to oversharing of confidential information.
T&I recommends directly sharing confidential files or folders with specific, named individuals. You can invite anyone with an email address to a file or folder, and any recipient can create a free Dropbox account to access the files.
Creating a shared link
To create a shared link, choose the Share option on a file or folder. By default, no shared link exists.
Use the Create a link option to create a new link. Effective late April 2018, by default the shared link is limited to the Davidson team, and link users will need to log into Davidson's Dropbox with a campus account to access the files.
Making shared links public
If you need to share something outside the college and want to use a shared link, first create one as described above. Then, click Link settings, select Anyone with the link, and save your changes.
The link will now be accessible to people without a Davidson College email address, and even users without a Dropbox account. Keep in mind that the files and folders accessed by the shared link can now be viewed and downloaded by anyone in the world.
Additional shared link security options
Whether a shared link is public or limited to the Davidson community, there are a few ways to improve security, via the Link settings menu:
- You can require a password to access files or folders at a shared link (Under Who can view this link, choose Only people with the password)
- You can add an expiry date to the shared link, so that the link stops working automatically in the future.
- Finally, the Disable downloads for this link? option allows link users to view the files you are sharing, but prohibits them from easily downloading a copy to their computer.
Reviewing, changing and deleting existing shared links
If you use shared links, you should review them occasionally to make sure you're not oversharing sensitive information. In addition, if you created shared links before April 25, 2018, note that they were public by default, and you may wish to be restrict them to Davidson or delete these links.
To review links, choose Sharing under the Files menu on the left hand side of the Dropbox page.
Then, choose the Links section on the resulting page to view all your existing shared links. Click the ellipsis icon (...) to the right of any link to delete the link, or modify its link settings.
Need help changing or deleting a large number of links? Contact the T&I Support Center and our staff can do this for you.