Dropbox lures business users from consumer product

'Chances are we already have people using the product in lots of businesses that we talk to,' says Dropbox official.

Dropbox wants workers to have a personal and business Dropbox side by side. Credit: Dropbox

Dropbox wants workers to have a personal and business Dropbox side by side. Credit: Dropbox

Dropbox has revealed additional IT admin controls as it continues its bid to add business customers.

Dropbox for Business customers in Australia include Atlassian, Mirvac, Macquarie Bank and Appen Butler Hill. The company has recently opened a Sydney office staffed by a small team.

However, the consumer version of Dropbox is used in many companies that are not technically customers. About 95 per cent of Australian companies listed on the ASX 100 have Dropbox users, according to Ilya Fushman, the company's head of product, business and mobile.

Nearly one-third of the Australian population has Dropbox accounts and the country is one of the service’s top 10 adopters, Fushman said. With such widespread use, it is often the case that the employees are using Dropbox before their employer has signed up for Dropbox for Business.

“Chances are we already have people using the product in lots of businesses that we talk to,” Fushman told Computerworld Australia.

Globally, Dropbox has 300 million users for its core product, triple the user base from 18 months ago. Those users have brought the company into about 4 million businesses, he said.

“A lot of companies actually know about the use of Dropbox, so the conversation for us has really been with IT around enabling them by giving them the controls and tools they need to deploy and manage Dropbox.”

New features added today to Dropbox for Business include view-only permissions for shared folders, an ability to add passwords and expiration dates to shared links, and full-text search for Microsoft Office documents and PDFs.

One new feature is the ability to add passwords and expiration dates to shared links. Credit: Dropbox
One new feature is the ability to add passwords and expiration dates to shared links. Credit: Dropbox

Read more: China cuts access to Dropbox

The shared folder and link features are available today to early access customers, while full-text search is “coming soon”, Dropbox said.

The new controls follow the introduction in April of enhanced security controls including remote wipes and account transfers.

Dropbox is no longer the only game in town for cloud storage, and tech heavyweights Google and Microsoft have recently engaged in a virtual arms race over who can provide the most storage space.

While competitors have leapt ahead of Dropbox in terms of the amount of storage included for the price, he said Dropbox provides greater performance and ease of use.

“Those are two things that we invest in extremely heavier and we are superior.”

Fushman added that the Dropbox for Business product provides “effectively unlimited space.” If customers need more storage, they can ping Dropbox to get it, but this has not been a problem, he said.

“Especially for businesses, it’s not about space. It’s about functionality.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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