Can Dropbox go from consumer hit to business success?

Can a business-grade cloud storage service that doesn’t come from Google, Microsoft or Apple make it big in the enterprise? Here’s why Dropbox for Business makes a strong case.

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dropbox for business - groupsdropbox Dropbox

When individual and group permission settings differ, Dropbox will always grant the permission that grant users with the highest level of file or folder access.

Creating a group

Larger organizations will appreciate the Group feature in Dropbox for Business, and how it allows them to create departmental or project-level groups for easier collaboration. This feature makes it possible to share new information directly with an entire group instead of having to add each person individually – and likely missing some team members. Moreover, any new members that are added to a group will be automatically granted access to all shared folders to which the group has previously been invited.

You can also manage the permission of a Group as a single entity when it comes to granting editing or view-only access, while the ability to create Groups can be restricted by the Dropbox administrator, or be left open to everyone. When individual and group permission settings differ, Dropbox will always grant the permissions that grant users with the highest level of file or folder access.

dfb versions

The many versions saved of this feature as it was being written. In this case, you can see that cloudHQ is used to cloud sync from a different online storage service to Dropbox.

Unlimited version history and file recovery

One of the most powerful capabilities reserved for Dropbox for Business is undoubtedly its automatic storing of all versions of a file, as well as the ability to recover deleted files. In fact, it’s this author’s opinion that Dropbox for Business currently offers the best versioning support among the top cloud services.

Specifically, there is no limit to the number of versions that are saved, and versioning does not contribute your account’s total storage cap – which is unlimited anyway. Similarly, there are no time limits on when deleted data can be recovered.

[Related: How to create a robust backup strategy with cloud services]

While this feature certainly shouldn’t supplant a proper offline backup and disaster recovery strategy, storing multiple versions of a single file can be help users, groups and companies quickly recover from editing mistakes, whether the mistake is noticed hours, days or even weeks later.

Third-party enterprise integration

Dropbox for Business also stands out due to the many third-party apps and services that are built on top of the Dropbox for Business API. The API essentially gives developers access to the members, groups and audit log data for a particular Dropbox for Business deployment.

While there are too many for an in-depth evaluation in this space, a few categories stand out:

  • Data loss prevention (DLP). For organizations that require better tools to manage sensitive data stored on Dropbox for Business, services like CloudLock and Elastica promises enterprise-class DLP with auditing and compliance functionality.
  • Identity management. Larger organizations or those using Active Directory can rely on cloud services such as Microsoft Azure AD or third-party offerings such as Centrify and Meldium to keep their Dropbox for Business managed and authenticated in a seamless fashion.
  • eDiscovery. Integration with industry leading tools (Nuix, Splunk) makes it possible for administrators to respond to litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations involving files stored on Dropbox for Business. The comprehensive Activity feed data is automatically collected and visualized to help businesses better understand activities related to sharing, devices and security.

Of course, there are also the many third-party apps and services that work perfectly fine with the Dropbox platform without relying on the Dropbox for Business API. For organizations that are already on Dropbox for Business, this translates into usability and flexibility that is not matched by other cloud storage services.

This story, "Can Dropbox go from consumer hit to business success?" was originally published by CIO.

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