Business workers hate, hate, hate having to sign onto multiple services — cloud-based or on premises — with different passwords and credentials. That’s why Dropbox is bolstering its business version with single sign-on or SSO capabilities. First, it’s supporting the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) which means if your IT people have set up a SAML federated process in the office, you can sign on once to access all those affiliated applications.
It’s working with identity management experts — Ping Identity, Okta, OneLogin, Centrify and Symplified — to bring SSO to those users. And, in case it’s not clear that Dropbox wants to attract business users, it’s re-christening Dropbox Teams as Dropbox for Business. Got it? Good.
IT admins can already integrate Dropbox with Microsoft Active Directory, the directory services scheme used by many companies, to automate the creation and removal of Dropbox for Teams accounts from an existing directory. But until now (well, actually until next month, when it comes online) it did not support SSO.
Dropbox is the undisputed king of consumer-focused file-share-and-sync — as of November it claimed more than 100 million users. It is far from clear, however, how many of those users graduate from the free to the paid consumer service. Nor does the company provide numbers of Dropbox for Teams, er, for Business users, which costs $795 per year for 5 users plus $125 for every additional user. But it does say that Dropbox is used in 95 percent of all Fortune 500 companies.
As we all know by now, people sho use a given service at home like to use it at work, which means that the 95 percent figure is credible. We also hear about Fortune 500 companies — including IBM — prohibiting the use of such consumer-focused products (including Dropbox specifically), and that’s the trend that Dropbox is trying to nip in the bud here.
Earlier this year, Dropbox added a more IT-friendly console that lets admins restrict access and transfer of company documents and helps them track user activity.
Sujay Jaswa, VP of business development for Dropbox, said the company does not see Dropbox competing with SkyDrive — which Microsoft has tied tightly into Office and Windows — nor with Box, which would love to be the Dropbox of the Enterprise. “We just want to build the kinds of features people love,” he said.
But anyone outside of Dropbox would say that it is definitely contending with Microsoft, Box and the Google Apps-and-Drive tandem in business accounts.