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I am currently the only iPad user in a large company, and am loving using it, especially for meetings. I keep a lot of information relevant to meetings on DropBox, such as minutes, reports, spreadsheets and so on, and tend to refer to them a lot. I like the fact that I can easily navigate my own directory tree in DropBox, and view common file formats on there. However, whilst I have permission to use dropbox for the files I use, I find that I am limited in scope with some meetings, as I'm not allowed to place others on servers that don't belong to the company. I end up having to either bring a laptop, or, more commonly, look over somebody else's shoulder.

So, can anyone recommend a solution similar to Dropbox that would work for shares on Windows Server 2003, and allow me to:

  • Easily navigate a directory tree, possibly with shortcuts to commonly-used folders
  • View files in MS Office 2003 and 2007 formats and PDFs without lengthy conversion processes
  • Not have to go through an intermediate "copy to the iPad" step that I might find with, say GoodReader or Quickoffice

I'd ideally lie a solution that works on the company wifi network without further modification of the current server architecture, though I can see that in the future, it may need to work over a secure VPN connection from the field if a few other managers decide to take the plunge, so something that's preferably easy for our system administrators to configure and support. A proxy solution that would work in Linux or Windows is possible.

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Just to re-phrase, you mean that by company policy you're forbidden to add files to dropbox which is the limiting factor on its usage for you, right? –  Cawas Jan 31 '11 at 14:23

5 Answers 5

Box.net may be a suitable replacement. I know other iPad owners who have used it for some of these tasks.

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This is the quintessential 2012 era corporate version of DropBox - larger storage quotas, more business and sharepoint oriented services and many small and large businesses use both DropBox and Box.net efficiently and the other way in some cases. –  bmike Oct 9 '12 at 17:29
    
The iOS apps are not currently compatible with a localized, site specific Box, ie yourcompany.box.com. –  da4 Oct 9 '12 at 18:13

I've looked for similar things in the past. I think the best short answer is: "There is nothing remotely similar to dropbox on the iPad that works on Windows shares."

You might want to investigate the encryption that dropbox uses. I think all the files on their server are encrypted using a key which is only stored on your ipad? You might be able to convince your management/IT people that it's okay for you to use dropbox for documents that need to be secure.

Update: I've been using a program called BoxCryptor which sits on top of DropBox and adds another layer of encryption. It runs on my Mac and on my iPad. I don't know if it's available for Windows, I don't see why not. I've been using it for a few weeks for some small spreadsheets and it works fine so far.

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Amen to that. @moof You could also try convincing your management/IT to encrypt sensible files on your end regardless of what server is being used. After all, that's more secure than trying to enforce some policy on people not bringing files outside the company. I'm pretty sure every file you are worried about is already out of companies servers one way or the other. –  Cawas Jan 31 '11 at 14:25

You could setup a WebDAV->SMB gateway and use Pages or other WebDAV capable clients to access it...

http://davenport.sourceforge.net/

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I'm not too sure if this will apply on your case, but give Tonido a shot. I know I am (still going to) try it.

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A search on the iTunes store for SMB file browsers finds something called - ahem - FileBrowser that sounds like what you need. Haven't tried it myself - although thinking about it something like this might be a help in my workflow. Did I just cost myself $3 by answering a question?

It's at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/filebrowser-access-files-on/id364738545?mt=8

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+1 for FileBrowser. I have used it quite a bit to get at SMB shares on both my MacBook Pro and Windows PCs. –  Ryan Wersal Jan 30 '11 at 2:33
    
+1 Too. Using it currently on a mixed Linux, Windows, Mac network and it works like a charm. –  Danita Feb 3 '11 at 16:29

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