By: Gigaom
Dropbox gets more IT friendly with better controls
Dropbox wants you to know it's serious about winning business users and has beefed up Dropbox for Teams admin capabilities to ease IT concerns.

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.

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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, 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 iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive and Google 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 Teens, said McClure.

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


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