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Dropbox for Business adds Active Directory integration

With an Active Directory connection, added admin features and shared folder APIs, Dropbox has designed its enterprise offering to be part of IT's big picture.

Dropbox has upped the ante to lure new enterprise customers by providing integrations with important products and new administrative controls.

Dropbox for Business, which the company said has more than 100,000 customers, now integrates with Active Directory to aid provisioning and deployment of Dropbox within organizations. A connector beta has been released to select customers.

For enterprise Dropbox deployments, it's critical that its tools not be in an administration silo, and that makes the Active Directory integration important, said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst with Constellation Research in Toronto.

"Things like users and groups must remain in sync with the organization's human resources system of record," Lepofsky added.

The Dropbox for Business API will also be extended with new capabilities for shared folders. Data loss prevention providers including CloudLock Inc., Netskope Inc. and Adallom Inc. have started to build out these integrations already.

To give IT more administrative options within Dropbox for Business, the company has added tiered admin roles within three distinct categories: team management, user management and support. IT can delegate day-to-day responsibilities within each category.

In addition, a new enterprise installer has been introduced so IT can automate deployment of Dropbox for Business to any Windows desktop remotely.

Dropbox for Business also recently achieved the ISO 27018 certification from EY CertifyPoint, a global standard for privacy and information security in the cloud.

Cloud competitors want to be enterprise-ready

Dropbox isn't the only enterprise file sync-and-share company with a historically consumer focus to try and woo more enterprise users with new features. Earlier this year, Box introduced a new Enterprise Key Management feature that gives customers more control over encryption keys, while Google beefed up its Drive productivity suite last year with native Office editing.

The strength of these particular products is that they integrate with other products businesses use, according to Lepofsky.

"Box has hundreds of integrations with Office 365 and Dropbox has built a strong developer community building things at the API level," Lepofsky said.

In addition, Dropbox has numerous connectors to Microsoft, including the ability to access Dropbox accounts documents directly from Office applications and edit Office files directly in Dropbox.

There are still hurdles to overcome for IT to accept a product like Dropbox within business. A customer like Needham Bank in Needham, Mass., needs assurance lines aren't crossed between consumer and enterprise versions of Dropbox and Box, said James Gordon, first vice president of information technology at the bank.

Dropbox for Business does give organizations controls to restrict sharing of files to quell the concerns of IT, and personal and work Dropbox accounts can be linked up so both can be accessed on the same device while files can remain in separate places.

The enterprise file sync-and-share market is populated with numerous players beyond Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, with Microsoft's OneDrive for Business, BlackBerry's WatchDox, Citrix's ShareFile, AirWatch by VMware's Secure Content Locker, Egnyte Inc., Accellion Inc., Novell Inc. and Biscom Inc., among many others, vying for market share.

Dropbox for Business is available for either $15 per user, per month for a minimum of five users or $750 per year for a five-user team. Each additional user costs $150 per year. Plans start with 5 TB of cloud storage space for five users.

Dropbox did not disclose when the new features will be generally available or if pricing will change.

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for SearchConsumerization and SearchVirtualDesktop. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.

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