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Dropbox gets more IT friendly with better controls

The tech landscape is chock full of companies positioning themselves as the Dropbox of the Enterprise. That’s because Dropbox has done a great job making itself the file share-and-sync product for consumers. But Dropbox itself isn’t ignoring the business market — at least in small companies and divisions of bigger organizations.

On Tuesday, the company’s beefing up Dropbox for Teams with a more powerful console for both users and IT admins that will keep company documents in the company — if that is the mandate — and allow admins to better track user activity.

The new console lets admins:

  • View member details like per-user storage usage, recent activity, web sessions, linked devices and third-party applications.
  • View team activity — member log-ins and team invitations and generate downloadable reports
  • Set sharing controls to keep shared folders and links within the company or allow team members to decide access level on a case-by-case basis

The power of Dropbox is that millions of consumers use it from their tablets and smartphones, and want to keep using it at work. Its flaw is that IT views it as a problem — large companies, including IBM(s ibm), forbid its use (along with the use of other consumer IT that it deems insecure.)

“Over 2 million businesses have people inside them using Dropbox. It’s already pervasive, we just want to make it easier for IT to say yes to those people asking for Dropbox,” Sujay Jaswa, VP of business development for Dropbox said in an interview.

Business users are an important target for San Francisco-based Dropbox. While it claims 100 million users total, it does not say how many consumers pay for the service nor how many use Dropbox for Teams, which costs $795 per year for 5 users plus $125 for each additional user.

Dropbox is the most entrenched of these competitors and it’s doing some good things here to make itself more palatable to IT at least in smaller companies, said Terri McClure, senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group.

While Dropbox is the champ of consumer cloud storage, it faces off in that market against Apple(s aapl) iCloud, Microsoft(s msft) SkyDrive and Google(s goog) Drive.

Among business accounts, Google is getting traction with the Google Apps-Google Drive combo and Microsoft integrates SkyDrive storage with Office and Windows 8. Box, usually the company most associated with the Dropbox-of-the-Enterprise crowd, touts its support of all client devices, but targets larger companies than Dropbox for Teams, said McClure.

Still, it’s hard not to see all these rivals battling it out for the same paying business customers down the road.

4 Responses to “Dropbox gets more IT friendly with better controls”

  1. I started off using Dropbox for my personal docs, photo sharing and simple file syncing. But once I became part of it, I got to know its true strength and that lies in the business sector. And now being more IT-friendly, Dropbox can explore multiple grounds and new avenues. I have started using Dropbox in my business and its features as well as capabilities are amazing. Plus the best thing is that it integrates with my document management solution quite seamlessly. So, we now store our documents with Dropbox and whenever the collaboration of these files is required, all one needs to do is open these docs through GroupDocs document management solution and work on it. Since these two solutions have integrated, my work has become easier than ever!

  2. Thanks for the article Barb :)

    It´s indeed an interesting future that we are all seeing with the cloud based sharing services that are competing and joining each other out there. Moving in and out between personal and business situations.

    For us at it is very interesting to see how all the big players are trying to get in to new geographical markets like the EU, where US based companies are facing the problems of much tougher personal integrity laws protecting the users. Laws that the US based companies aren’t able to follow.

    We at CloudMe are now providing access on all platforms of files, images, music and movies already. A media oriented approach that we think will be the right way forward.
    Of course business use of our service is very welcome, but we can also see that this kind of use comes from people liking our service on a private basis first.

    Let´s keep our yes open and see what happens :)

    Mathias Ericsson
    CEO CloudMe

  3. cariboucrossing

    I’m an engineering student studying at Tulane University, and I must say that Drop Box is amazing. I am a known klutz and walking disaster so I am used to everything going wrong like leaving my tablet on top of my car and driving off, breaking my tablet charger when it already has low battery, and forgetting to bring my laptop. This is where Drop Box saves my life, especially when I have hours worth of design projects and homework stored on my devices. Drop Box is extremely convenient and easy to use. I don’t have to log on to a website to upload a file or to send an email to myself, which seems to me like a waste of time due to my fast-paced life. I just save whatever I’m working on to a Drop Box folder on my PC and voila! I have instant access to it anywhere. Props to the creators. It’s absolutely genius. (Plus the file sharing with my classmates always comes in handy!)