Thomas Carney
Thomas thinks of ways to make Planio grow, writes content and ponders metrics.
January 05, 2016 · 2 min read

A Data-Safe Dropbox Alternative: Git + SparkleShare

Update: With Planio Storage there now is an even better alternative to Dropbox. Using SparkleShare with Planio still works but is no longer supported.

Dropbox is probably the best known cloud storage provider on the market.

But it comes with a catch: they store your data on servers in the United States.

Now, up until recently, that wasn’t a problem, because they self-certified under the “Safe Harbor” programme, which sought to guarantee minimum protections for personal data.

However, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently ruled that the Safe Harbor programme was invalid.

In one ruling, the main legal basis for using US services such as Dropbox was wiped out. Many legal commentators feel that alternative legal mechanisms will also be invalid if challenged in court.

Therefore, we’re in a situation where any transfer of personal data of third parties outside of the EU is in question – and possibly illegal.

That means if you’re using Dropbox to backup files containing personal data of your customers, you may be in breach of the law!*

The EU is introducing new data protection regulations that will drastically increase the fines and level of enforcement for breaches of data protection law, so that’s nothing I take lightly.

Today, we’ll look at how you can switch from Dropbox to an open source solution that gives you all of the usability goodness of Dropbox without the data protection nightmares.

Step 1: Grab Yourself a Copy of SparkleShare

You can download the SparkleShare client for OS X, Windows or Linux over at sparkleshare.org.

Step 2: Get Git Hosting via Planio

All Planio accounts (including the free plan) come with unlimited Git repositories. Therefore, sign up or log in to your Planio account.

Planio is a 100% Germany based company which strictly adheres to the German Data Privacy Law implementing the EU Data Protection Directive. So your data at Planio is protected by law and our secure servers.

Should you wish to set up your own Git server, you can always do that as well!

Step 3: Connect your SparkleShare client

In your Planio project, click on the Repository navigation tab to go to the repository page.

Click on Connect SparkleShare to launch SparkleShare, which will ask you whether you want to add the project. Say yes and you’ve just set up SparkleShare!


Step 4: Copy your Dropbox Folder over to your new SparkleShare Folder

Simply copy the contents of your Dropbox folder over to your SparkleShare folder. SparkleShare will automatically sync your files to your Planio account.

And I think you’ll agree that the SparkleShare folder looks very nice, too!


We’re always happy to help if you have any questions. Just contact support from inside your Planio account.

*) Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, so this article is obviously not legal advice. We recommend you consult with your lawyer if you’re unsure if your usage of Dropbox is compliant with the law.