Dropbox Account Disabled

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How to Unlink a Computer from a Dropbox Account. Dropbox is an online file storage service that allows users to upload, share, and access files and folders via mobile and desktop applications as well as a browser-based interface. Dropbox determines inactive accounts by looking at sign-ins, file shares, and file activity (adding, editing, or deleting) on any of our platforms (Dropbox or Paper) over the last 12 months.

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Healthcare organizations can benefit from using Dropbox, but is Dropbox HIPAA compliant? Can the service be used to store and share protected health information?

Dropbox Account Is Disabled

Is Dropbox HIPAA Compliant?

Dropbox is a popular file hosting service used by many organizations to share files, but what about protected health information? Is Dropbox HIPAA compliant?

Dropbox claims it now supports HIPAA and HITECH Act compliance but that does not mean Dropbox is HIPAA compliant. No software or file sharing platform can be HIPAA compliant as it depends on how the software or platform is used. That said, healthcare organizations can use Dropbox to share or store files containing protected health information without violating HIPAA Rules.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires covered entities to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) with an entity before any protected health information (PHI) is shared. Dropbox is classed as a business associate so a BAA is required.

Dropbox Account Disabled

Dropbox will sign a business associate agreement with HIPAA-covered entities. To avoid a HIPAA violation, the BAA must be obtained before any file containing PHI is uploaded to a Dropbox account. A BAA can be signed electronically via the Account page of the Admin Console.

Dropbox allows third party apps to be used, although it is important to note that they are not covered by the BAA. If third party apps are used with a Dropbox account, covered entities need to assess those apps separately prior to their use.

Dropbox Accounts Must be Configured Carefully

HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to implement safeguards to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of PHI. It is therefore important to configure a Dropbox account correctly. Even with a signed BAA, it is possible to violate HIPAA Rules when using Dropbox.

To avoid a HIPAA violation, sharing permissions should be configured to ensure files containing PHI can only be accessed by authorized individuals. Sharing permissions can be set to prevent PHI from being shared with any individual outside of a team. Two-step verification should be used as an additional safeguard against unauthorized access.

It should not be possible for any files containing PHI to be permanently deleted. Administrators can disable permanent deletions via the Admin Console. That will ensure files cannot be permanently deleted for the lifetime of the account.

It is also essential for Dropbox accounts to be monitored to ensure that PHI is not being accessed by unauthorized individuals. Administrators should delete individuals when their role changes and they no longer need access to PHI or when they leave the organization. The list of linked devices should also be regularly reviewed. Dropbox allows linked devices to have Dropbox content remotely wiped. That should occur when a user leaves the organization of if a device is lost or stolen.

Dropbox records all user activity. Reports can be generated to show who has shared content and to obtain information on authentication and the activities of account administrators. Those reports should be regularly reviewed.

Dropbox will provide a mapping of its internal practices on request and offers a third-party assurance report that details the controls that the firm has implemented to help keep files secure. Those documents can be obtained from the account management team.

So, is Dropbox HIPAA compliant? Dropbox is secure and controls have been implemented to prevent unauthorized access, but ultimately HIPAA compliance depends on users. If a BAA is obtained and the account is correctly configured, Dropbox can be used by healthcare organizations to share PHI with authorized individuals without violating HIPAA Rules.

‘My Dropbox is full because of the size of these files, and I cannot receive anything else.’
This is a common complaint when a group of people use Dropbox to share information, especially when the oldest shared info is never purged. Luckily, there are some easy ways to resolve this problem.
[Not familiar with Dropbox? See the description at the end of this post.]
In this case, the problem was a large photo file of an awards banquet shared with all members of the NAWBO-VC Board of Directors.

Here is the answer I sent to my fellow board members:

Here are three options when your Dropbox account is full:
1. Delete the [photo] folder from your dropbox. As long as you are not the original owner of the folder, this just deletes the photos from your account, not from anyone else’s account.
2. Download the file onto your computer and remove from Dropbox.
3. Have a friend, relative or colleague open a new Dropbox account (free for both of you) and that gives you additional storage. They don’t have to use the account (and it does not share any of your folders with them), but as long as they create a new account, you get more free storage. To do this, open Dropbox on the webpage, click your name at the top right, click ‘settings’, then click “account’. Scroll down and you will see the ‘invite a friend’ option. [hint: my sister ‘invited’ her 12 year-old son and got extra storage that way].
Here’s a link to Dropbox help with more information on what happens when you delete a shared folder.
What is Dropbox?

It’s a free way to store and share large photos, docs, and videos files (i.e. too large to email) with others. You can send any file instantly to anyone, whether they have Dropbox or not. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.

Why use Dropbox?

I use Dropbox to share files with my virtual assistant, a business partner, my sister, and the aforementioned board. I also created a file of head shots, so it is easy to share them with a link when I am asked to speak.

If you’d like to open a free account, use this link and we’ll both get 500 MB of bonus space – so neither one of us will have to worry that our Dropbox is full.

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