Skip to Content

Dropbox and Google Drive?

Storing your data in the cloud with Dropbox or Google’s Drive service?

First we will address the brand new Google Drive service, announced in April 2012. All of the confusion about data privacy and ownership with Google Drive can be summed up with a statement in their terms of service: “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” Our Google spokesperson recently said, “As our Terms of Service make clear, ‘what belongs to you stays yours.’ You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want–so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can.”

From an educator’s point of view, Google’s Drive service now falls under our OUS contract, and does provide the same protections to you as your Google Apps for Education (GAE) account does. In short, your GAE account provides FERPA compliance, which includes Google’s Drive service. We directly asked our Google representative about Google Drive and FERPA and received this answer:

“Drive is built directly into Docs and thus is covered by your current Apps for EDU agreement.”

Unfortunately, the same is not true for Dropbox. According to Dropbox: “Unfortunately, Dropbox does not currently have HIPAA, FERPA, SAS 70, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, or PCI certifications.”

At this time, CASIT cannot recommend using Dropbox.

If you would like to store data in the cloud, we also recommend SpiderOak, which claims HIPPA compliance and has ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy environment. The SpiderOak service will allow you to encrypt your data. SpiderOak offers both a free and a paid service.

If you would like to know more about storage in the cloud, please contact the CASIT Helpdesk experts.

2 thoughts on “Dropbox and Google Drive?

  1. Re: According to their documentation, encryption only applies to Enterprise (i.e., paid) accounts, not Free accounts.

    1. Michael is correct,’s free account does not offer encryption of data at rest, and therefore we cannot recommend using’s free services. We have removed the reference to’s service from the above article.