Saving Office 365 & Dropbox

Office 365 users can link to Dropbox accounts to browse, open and edit Word, Excel, and other MS Office file types with Office Online. Users can also create new files in Office Online and save them directly to their  Dropbox account using Windows, Apple iOS and, and Android devices.

The same integration is available from Dropbox in a web browser. Users can access Office Online directly from the file you are viewing.

This article explains:

  • Document security and privileges in OneDrive for Business and Dropbox
  • Configuring Office 2016 to connect to Dropbox
  • Configuring Office Online to connect to Dropbox
  • Tips for using Dropbox with Office Online

Document Security and privileges in OneDrive for Business and Dropbox

This article explains how users can save files to Office 365’s OneDrive/Sharepoint and also to Dropbox. Synchronising Dropbox and OneDrive is not considered here. Migrating large file stores from Dropbox to OneDrive may not be practical for some users.  Also, users might want to separate personal files from their employer’s Office 365 services. For users who need to maintain individual OneDrive and Dropbox storage, Office 365 business users can start in Office Online, or from Dropbox, to manage documents in Dropbox using Office 365.

Configuring Office 2016 to connect to Dropbox

Dropbox users use the Dropbox synch tool for Windows can pin the local dropbox file store in Office 2016’s file location “favourites”. Pinning the Dropbox folder to file locations in Office 2016 saves users from manually browsing to Dropbox when saving files.

Configuring Office Online to connect to Dropbox

To use a Dropbox account with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Online, add it to your places list. Once it is saved as a storage location you can open, create, edit, and save files to Dropbox. You can still use a OneDrive account.

  1. From, open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Online.
  2. Under Open from OneDrive, click Add a place.
  3. Click Dropbox. You’ll see Open from Dropbox appear in your places list.

dropbox storage as an office 365 place

Tips for using Dropbox with Office Online

  • Whenever you select Open from Dropbox to open a file from your Dropbox account, the file will be saved to Dropbox.
  • To create a new file in Dropbox once you’ve added Dropbox to your places list, choose New in Dropbox. (Dropbox will already be selected if it’s the last place you used.)

creating new file for dropbox using Office 365

  • To open Dropbox files you have recently worked on, select them in your Recent list.
  • To edit files in a Dropbox for Business account using Office Online, you need an Office 365 account that includes Office applications (the desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). If you are not already signed into your Office 365 account, you will be prompted to sign in before you use your files.



Famous Hacks

Twitter, Facebook, NBC, New York Times, Home Depot, Amazon, Staples, Sears, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and many, many more companies that have concealed data breaches in recent times to protect their reputations underline a glut in hacking which small businesses seem to read as a signal that only big business is at risk.

However, the idea that “it won’t happen to me” just does not  wash in 2015. True, by lagging behind the “chip and pin” standards that so many countries adhere to, the US (which incidentally boasts more credit cards per head of population than any other nation) makes itself a soft target and Europe perhaps attracts a little less attention. When the US wakes up to its epidemic credit card theft, hackers will move on.

For small businesses which still imagine it cannot happen to them, ignorance is bliss.

The truth is that often you do not know when the reaper has been, and if he has, he is probably still there. For now, the fashion grows for watering hole attacks, where hackers target large companies for soft spots to give them access to bulk customers records. The problem with this for hackers is what to do with such large databases. This is where people like you come in: hackers often store and or process stolen data on third party networks, so even if your data records are not playing host to prying eyes, there are many more ways your IT might be helping “the dark side”.

The cost of cleaning up after high profile hacks is enormous. Home Depot reported its “hack” could cost up to £28 million. Do not think it cannot happen in North Wales on a scale that can cause real damage. In 2002 an IT company in North Wales was taken for a substantial ransom. If there is any message in this, it is that weak targets get plucked first.

Below are a list of high profile breaches. The regularity is remarkable. One conclusion we might draw from this is that the bigger the IT department and budget, the easier it is to hack. More realistically, the more credible conclusion is that the Press is only interested in high profile hacks and if this many IT departments are losing their shirts, then as Dirty Harry said, you have to ask yourself, “Do (you) feel lucky?”

As fibre broadband rolls out across and you are thinking about that cheap router, or whether you need that antivirus software now that GMail does it for you, just bear in mind you are not out of sight either.

Jun -2015: The US Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management discovered a breach in its systems affecting over 4 million past and present employees. The breach was discovered during an “aggressive effort” to update OPM’s security systems. The US Government alleged that the intrusion was orchestrated by China’s notorious PLA Unit 61398 which is believed to have systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations around the world according to BBC News. In the latest breach, the hackers targeted an OPM data center housed at the Interior Department, according to the Washington Post. The database did not contain information on background investigations or employees applying for security clearances. OPM was hacked reportedly by the same group about a year previously. In the March 2014 breach, OPM officials discovered that hackers had breached an OPM system that manages sensitive data on federal employees applying for clearances, according to the Washington Post. That often includes financial data, information about family and other sensitive details.  Read more OPM allegedly hacked by Chinese.

August -2015: Hackers claim to have distributed the personal information on 33 million accounts via the dark web following an earlier attack.

April-2015: France’s national TV network, TV5 Monde, disabled by Islamic State hackers

Feb-2015: Anthem hacked for 80 million user accounts

Jan – 2015: US Military’s Central Command Twitter & Facebook feeds hacked

Jan-2015: Hackers steal more than £5m worth of bitcoin from Bitstamp

Dec-2014: Lizard Squad takes down Micrsoft XBox & Sony Playstation

Nov-2014: Sony Pictures & “The interview”

Oct – 2014: Home Depot lapse compromises 56m credit cards

Sep – 2014: Sears raided for undisclosed numbers of credit card records

Jul-2014: P F Chang’s POS machines hacked

Aug-2014: Celebgate – Apple & iCloud targeted password theft

Jun-2014: Domino’s Pizza hacked costing est 650,000 compromised French & Belgian records

Feb-2014: Syrian Electronic Army hacks eBay & PayPal

Nov-2013: Retailer Target hacked for 40 million credit card no’s, 70 million customer account records.

Jul-2013: Montana’s Dept of Health data breach lost 1.3 million patient records – perpetrators unknown

Notable hackers

POP3 & IMAP mail server upgrade

We are transitioning POP3 and IMAP email accounts to new servers between May 26, 2015 and July 14, 2015. We will transition groups of customers throughout these dates, with all customers fully migrated by the end date. We launched our new email services for POP3 and IMAP at the end of December 2014, and some users may already be using these services.

This does not apply to Exchange users.

POP3 and IMAP services are not recommended email services for business users, firstly because today users invariably want to synchronise multiple devices with email accounts, and neither POP3 nor IMAP were designed for the eventuality that business users would commonly connect up to 5 devices to individual email accounts simultaneously.  Secondly, since Microsoft has moved its flagship Exchange email solution into a Cloud environment, Microsoft Exchange is available as a component of Office 365 at costs of as little as £2.50/mo. Microsoft Exchange is the solution of choice for public sector and corporate organisations, and provides reliable services that benchmark today’s expectations for email delivery. You can compare services here.

Although we are not actively selling the POP3 and IMAP solution any longer, we are providing support throughout customer renewal cycles until 2016 – 2017. New services include language translation, calendaring, and online address books.

Some preparatory work has already been undertaken, and migrations are now in progress.

You can continue to access and use your mailbox normally, but you may not have access to all of the data in your mailbox as it is being migrated (depending on your Internet Service Provider the DNS changes to our new email servers might take up to 48 hours).

How do I know if my services still have to be migrated?

POP3 and IMAP users who are not resolving to server address are still in the process of migration. When services resolve to this new server address, migration will be complete. You can check the current status of your domain by entering your domain in the lookup field here and clicking “mxlookup” for the result.

Note: the DNS changes do not pertain to your domain; they are DNS changes pertaining to new email servers. However, some POP and IMAP email clients may need to be reconfigured should email clients fail to connect following substitution of services.

What kind of content will be moved to the new email provider?

Everything. All of your email (including IMAP folders), attachments, calendar events (including past and recurring events), contacts and other items such as autoreplies, filters, signatures and white lists.

Do I need to change any settings on my current email client or webmail?

Apple Mac users, IMAP accounts, and POP accounts that incorporate email forwarding or other customizations will need to change settings on their current email client. If you use webmail to access your email, you should continue to access your email via

In case it is necessary to amend email client configuration, customers should contact us for help. Alternately, IT managers and admins can update nameservers as follows:

[table id=BulkR_IMAP /]

Google’s mobile-friendly update affects web site owners

From 21st April Google searches will prioritize web sites that are optimised for mobile browsing. The effect will be to weight results against web site owners whose sites do not deliver “mobile friendly” content.

A mobile friendly web site, like the one below from our design studios, is one which renders its layout “on the fly” according to the dimensions of the device asking for content. This may include resizing images, changing column widths, and re-arranging layout so that information can be optimally displayed on tablets or mobile phones.


Until recently, web sites have been developed primarily for desktop and laptop display. This poses problems for users who want to view web sites with small screens and Google thinks this matters.  For instance, users might have trouble using page links that are designed for mouse clicks rather than index fingers. Also, without changing column widths to suit small screens users may have to scroll across a screen several times on a tablet or mobile phone to read one line of text before scrolling back to return the left margin for the next line.

A mobile friendly, or mobile-responsive site, is capable of re-ordering textual and graphical content to deliver a web page in the best format for the device that is calling for the content whether the device is a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or even a large television screen.

Business decision makers still tend to rely on a desktop layout when deciding on a new web site. However, Google’s attitude is that “desktop” searches are rapidly losing pace to searches from other devices. Google’s findings are based on their own statistics. The proliferation of devices available to consumers means that modern web sites need to deliver alternate layouts to deliver a good experience to users. The web site below, again from our design studios, shows that a fully mobile responsive web site is capable of re-positioning headers, navigation bars, and image sizes. In this case, the web site’s “sidebar” has been also been replaced in the mobile phone layout so that a user scrolling down the page would find the sidebar positioned at the end of the page.


In this way, the choice of desktop layout that the decision maker opted for when choosing a web site is irrelevant to other devices. According to market analyst Comcast, the number of mobile devices using the Internet exceeded conventional desktop machines in 2014, and with smart-phone ownership in countries like the UK and USA already in the hands of 60% of the general public, search engines are responding to user trends which indicate an increasing reliance on portable and mobile devices.

As Google responds to increasing search requests from portable devices, it is weighting its output to take account of the format of available information its searches output.

Regardless of the techniques businesses use to improve their “relevance” to search engines, Google’s announcement means that web sites which are not optimized for mobile devices are being discounted.

Google makes changes to its algorithms twice a month on average. The search engine emphasizes search results that connect users with relevant content in an easily interpreted formats. Google’s new attitude recognizes for the first time that web sites designed on the basis of desktop appearance alone no longer meet the needs of a market that is predominantly “mobile” based. Web site owners may argue that end users still rely on desktop machines for their web sites. Google says that this is just not the case any more and their move to prioritize mobile friendly sites suggests that reliance on desktop layouts only is a moot point if consumers have found other competing content that has been positioned by Google for formatted delivery specific to devices that searched for results in the first place.

Read Google’s announcement here.

One Drive & Mobile Device Management

Office 365 has upgraded OneDrive for Business to enable security tools for business owners and network admistrators to manage access to data stored on OneDrive for Business from mobile devices.  In the event of loss or theft of mobile devices subscribed to users’ Office 365 services, data can now be protected from unauthorised access using PIN lock numbers, jailbreak detection, and even “selective wipe” utilities.

OneDrive for Business (ODB) provides 1TB of storage per business license. The service, included as standard in Office 365 business licensing, enables users to access stored content with connected devices in addition to their conventionally secured office workstations.  Users who have Internet access at home, for instance, can access files on ODB that previously they might have had to copy to a memory stick at work or even to return to their office for.

Cloud services like ODB obviate the need for file duplication from office equipment, which increases the risk of sensitive data being compromised by loss or theft of memory sticks or other devices.

ODB is attractive to business users who face increasing needs for more storage backup, together with the risk and cost of maintaining data. By housing data on OneDrive for Business (ODB), business owners need less “on-premise” hardware. However, providing remote access to business files by tablets, mobile phones, home computers and other devices poses security risks to the integrity of business information which may include customers’ private information.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365 was launched on March 1st. MDM is already used to manage access to Office 365’s Exchange email services on mobile devices.

MDM allows business owners and network administrators to manage ODB data across a diverse range of phones and tablets, including Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows, and Windows Phone devices, according to Microsoft’s Omar Shahine.

“You can set up security policies to ensure that only mobile devices managed by your company can access OneDrive for Business files,” Omar said. “You can also set and manage security policies such as device-level PIN lock and jailbreak detection to help prevent unauthorized users from accessing ODB files on a device when it is lost or stolen. Finally, you can easily remove ODB company data from an employee’s device with selective wipe capabilities.”

Device-level PIN locks are established in Office 365 admin and require the end user to input a PIN number to access Office 365 data, including email services running under an Office 365 license.

Selective Wipe is a utility available in Office 365 admin to allow for either restriction or deletion of email and/or ODB data distributed under an Office 365 license from an end user’s device.

Jailbreak Detection is a utility available in Office 365 to prevent distribution of data to mobile devices that have been modified by “jailbreak”, or unauthorised modifications to device operating systems.

For help with security policies for your users’ devices, please call us or drop us a line using our contact form.

IMAP Network Upgrade

We are upgrading our IMAP email platform in early 2015. This is a major system upgrade which is being released in a staged roll-out. We do not have confirmed dates, so be sure to check back for updates.

The IMAP service was introduced in 2014 to cope with users who needed email synchronisation on multiple devices. During 2014 ComStat gained Microsoft Cloud Partner certification and comsequently we intend to deprecate both POP3 and IMAP email services in favour of our Microsoft Exchange service during 2015. Exchange provides a broader service specification for users who need SLA-backed reliability.

Although this service is scheduled for deprecation, we will continue to support the platform for existing users until pending renewal.

The engineering work does not affect ComStat’s Exchange/Office 365 users.

During the IMAP platform re-build we expect some degradation of service and possible disruption. IMAP users who require continuous service may want to consider migrating to Exchange in advance of their normal renewal dates – please contact Steve Galloway on 07834 461 266 for more guidance.

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