Dropbox angling for larger corporate share

Launches updated business service that provides new controls for administrators

Dropbox on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its data storage and sharing service for business claimed to provide IT administrators with more control by separating work and personal files.

The updated Dropbox for Business is the company’s latest attempt to convince businesses that it’s offering a secure service. It’s been in beta testing since November last year and is now generally available for US$795 per year for the first five users with unlimited data storage. Additional users are US$125 per user per year.

The service lets users create two separate Dropbox accounts: one to store and share company data, and the other for documents and personal photos. It provides administrators with visibility over the file sharing activities of all users in the business account.

It adds three key features: remote wipe, audit logs and account transfer. Remote wipe lets administrators delete Dropbox files in employee’s devices; audit logs track who is sharing files internally and outside the company; and account transfer lets administrators transfer one account to another when a staff member leaves.

“We spent a lot of time rebuilding the core application in order to have that separation of data in a way that’s easy for individual users [to grasp],” said Ross Piper, VP, enterprise strategy at Dropbox.

“Every aspect of the core service had to be been redone … to [provide] all of the services that IT expects from data separation to audit logs, to the console, single sign-on and sharing tools... We want the company to be able to control what’s done in the work Dropbox,” he said.

Customer data is stored at Dropbox's data centres in the United States. Piper said the company takes "privacy very seriously" and publishes a transparency report to inform people about requests from governments worldwide for user information.

He also said that Dropbox was conforming to Australia's new data privacy laws, which came into effect on March 1.

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Piper said 4 million businesses are already using Dropbox – including 95 per cent of companies in the ASX100 – and around 100,000 third-party applications have been created for the service. Notable customers in Australia include Atlassian, Macquarie Group, and Mirvac.

Piper also demonstrated new collaboration tools that allow Dropbox users to view and edit shared files in Microsoft Office apps – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – under its Project Harmony initiative. These tools are expected to be available later in 2014.

Meanwhile, Dropbox has opened a Sydney office staffed by a small team.

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Tags dropboxRoss PiperDropbox for Business

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