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Migrating to Dropbox Team Folders

Team Folders are a special Dropbox space designed to share data – including nested sharing – with groups of people. Migrating data to Team Folders does require some simple preparation on Dropbox and job configuration in CFP to ensure that the data goes to a Team Folder rather than a private user folder:

  1. The target account for the data must be a member of a Dropbox Group that has Editor access to the top level of the Team Folder.
  2. Run and check a simulation in your job to confirm that the data will go to a Team Folder rather than a private user folder.

You must also make sure that the oauth user who has access via a group to the top level Team Folder does not have those permissions revoked further down, as that will block access to those branches of the folder.

If you are new to Cloud FastPath, please refer to the Quick Start Guide before setting up your job.

Introduction to Dropbox Team Folders

Should I migrate my data into a Shared Folder or Team Folder?

A shared folder in Dropbox is any folder that you’ve invited other people to view or edit — even if they’re outside your team or don’t have a Dropbox user account. Dropbox uses waterfall permissions, which means that anyone with shared folder access can see all the files in that folder. You cannot apply separate permissions to any of a shared folder’s subfolders.

Team folders in Dropbox support nested sharing, and each folder can be shared with additional Groups and Users further down in the tree. One thing to remember is that a Team Folder can only be shared with a group at the top level.

A max of 1 TB or 300,000 files is recommended per Team Folder, whichever comes first.

Preparing Dropbox for Migration to Team Folders

Before you transfer any data, the Dropbox Team Folders should be created in Dropbox and the permissions should be granted appropriately. For each Team Folder:

  • Ensure that the Team Folder exists with the desired name. Note that archived Team Folders cannot receive data.
  • Ensure that the user(s) who will be moving data into the team folder (the target “owner(s)” of the data) are members of a Dropbox Group.
  • Ensure that the oauth user has access via a group to the top level of the Team Folder and does not have those permissions revoked further down, as that will block access to those branches of the folder.
  • Ensure that the group containing the user(s) who will be moving data into the Team Folder has WRITE access to the ROOT of the Team Folder.

NOTE: You can create Team Folders in the Target Paths tab of the mapping spreadsheet and apply Groups as editors to them, and this can be a more efficient way to create large numbers of Team Folders. If you use this feature, it is strongly recommended that you create the Team Folders in a separate job in advance of the one where you will actually need to send data to them. Regardless of how Team Folders get created, always verify that the Team Folders exist in Dropbox and have the appropriate permissions before you attempt to send any data to them.

Preparing CFP for Migration to Team Folders

Job Configuration in CFP

  • Select a valid source for account mapping jobs. This will either be a Windows drive or an Admin-level cloud system.
  • Select a Dropbox for Business (Dropbox Admin) system for the target.
  • If you are only moving data to Team Folders, you may leave the Destination Folder field blank.  If your job will have some data moving to non team folders, you may enter a target folder in the Destination Folder field.
  • You will also need to select Warn on Permission Conflicts under Mapping Strategy, and User and Permission Mapping under Settings in the APM wizard.
  • Exclude Shared Folders must be deselected under Advanced Fields for the Dropbox target.  It will be deselected for the target by default.
  • In the Define Map section, click on Generate to start your map generation.

Team Folder Map Editing

When your map finishes generating, you will see a spreadsheet that has 5 tabs: Users, Groups, Path Conflicts, Paths, and Target Paths.

If you created new Groups or users in Dropbox after the initial map generation, make sure to select Rescan Target Users and Groups in the Define Map section. This process will be quicker than re-running the full map generation. When you Rescan Target Users and Groups, you won’t see an actual job run, but the date below the Download Generated Map button will update to the time that the map acquired any new Groups and Users. When you download the generated map, you will see the new Dropbox Users and Groups in the Users and Groups tabs respectively.

Targeting team folders happens in the Paths tab. For each path, fill in:

  • Source Owner / Source Account (if coming from a cloud source)
  • Source Path
  • Target Owner: Specify a user who is a member of the group who can access the team folder.
  • Target Path: Specify a path that begins with the team folder name. To put the folder in the root of the team folder, specify the team folder name only. This must begin with a forward slash (/). For example, to target the team folder Team, specify /Team to target the root of the team folder. To target the Project subfolder of /Team, enter/Team/Project in the Target Path tab.
  • Rename?: Usually you will want to enter Y in this field for the parent source folder, which will transfer the contents of the Source Path to specified target path. See Account and Permissions Spreadsheet Editing for further information on using the Rename? field.
  • ACL columns: Team Folders support sharing with groups at the root but not sharing with users at the root. If you are targeting the root of a team folder, then you may only specify Groups. Otherwise, fill in ACL columns as normal. You do not need to put the Group you created in the Preparing Dropbox section in the ACLs (although you may do so if you want).

Spreadsheet Editing Example for Team Folders

Here are two sample lines in the spreadsheet to demonstrate (headings in the map may vary slightly depending on your source, esp. Source Owner) how to direct CFP to move a folder /Documents/Engineering to a Team Folder /Joe’s Engineering Folder, and then apply a nested share for a subfolder /Documents/Engineering/Shared with Caitlin:

Joe is a member of the Dropbox group Joe’s Engineers, and that group is an editor for the Team Folder Joe’s Engineering Folder. The two lines above will result in the following paths and shares on the target:

  1. The contents of /Documents/Engineering will migrate to the Team folder /Joe’s Engineering Folder because “Rename?” is set to Y in the spreadsheet. In other words, “/Documents/Engineering” will be eliminated from the path construction because of the rename, and contents of that folder, such as a subpath /Documents/Engineering/Folder1, will resolve to /Joe’s Engineering Folder/Folder1. You don’t need to specify the subpaths separately in the spreadsheet, they will follow the directive set for the parent folder.
  2. Even if you leave the Editor (Groups) column blank for the /Documents/Engineering row, it will not “blank out” the permissions already applied in Dropbox.
  3. The source path /Documents/Engineering/Shared with Caitlin will resolve to /Joe’s Engineering Folder/Shared with Caitlin. No Target Owner, Target Path, or Rename should be specified, as the subpath will inherit the directives from the parent path, /Documents/Engineering. Because caitlin@target.com is listed as an Editor, this subpath will be shared with her.

Confirming Data Will Transfer to Team Folder

It can be tricky to validate a job that targets a Team Folder. If there is a problem – such as a typo in the spreadsheet or failure to assign the appropriate permissions to the root Team Folder – it will not necessarily result in an error. Instead, CFP may put the data in a private folder with that name in the account of the person specified in the Target Owner column. That’s because if the specified target owner does not have access to that Team Folder, they will not see it listed in their Dropbox account; for them, it is as if the Team Folder of that name does not exist. So when CFP looks to transfer the data to the target, it does not find a Team Folder for that user, and creates a private folder in the user’s account instead.

To confirm that something is going into a Team Folder and into the correct team folder:

  1. Run a simulation prior to transferring any data.
  2. Export the simulation report
  3. Examine the “Team Folder Name” column at the far right of the report. If this column is blank for a given path, the data will not migrate to a Team Folder. If the column contains the name of a Team Folder (and it will only contain the Team Folder name; the actual full target path will be in the “Translated File Name” column just to the left of “Team Folder Name”), the designated path will migrate to that Team Folder.

You can also verify that a given file or folder will transfer to the desired Team folder via the UI. In the details panel, look for a “Team Folder Name” line item in the metadata. If the file/folder will go to a Team Folder, the details will have a “Team Folder Name” listed. “Team Folder Name” will not be listed for items that will not go to a Team Folder.

Updated on November 5, 2020

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