Dropbox Adds Group Controls to Its Enterprise Version

Group-control functionality and a new API for enterprise integration are released at the same time.

Cloud storage provider Dropbox, aiming to snag larger companies as customers, has made its software easier for storage administrators to control inside an enterprise IT system with lots of users.

The San Francisco-based company on March 5 released to general availability an important enterprise-level feature, Groups for Dropbox for Business. At the same time it unveiled an API (application programming interface) for developers who want to integrate Groups for Dropbox into private cloud systems.

The group-control functionality was released only last November to an early-access group, although it seems like a no-brainer-type function. Dropbox for Business itself was launched last April.

Using Groups, any team leader can create and manage lists of members within Dropbox and give them access to secure folders for specific projects. At the same time, team administrators can keep groups synced with corporate Active Directory data.

"Groups continues to be one of our most commonly requested features, especially from our enterprise customers," Dropbox Product Manager Waseem Daher told eWEEK. "Over 12,000 companies have signed up."

Dropbox now has about 100,000 business customers, Daher said.

The Groups API will allow customers to integrate Dropbox for Business groups with their existing IT systems. Several prominent identity management and data loss prevention (DLP) providers, such as CloudLock, Netskope, Bitium, Elastica, OneLogin, Okta, Ping Identity, Centrify, Skyhigh and Windows Azure, are building integrations to help admins scale team management, Daher said.

Dropbox, now in its eighth year of business, purports to have some astounding metrics. Most people probably don't know that Dropbox now has more than 300 million registered users—70 percent of whom reside outside the United States, Daher said.

However, registered users and active users are two different numbers. All active users are registered, but all registered users aren't active. It's undetermined how many people sign up for services like the free version of Dropbox and then never, or rarely, use it.

The company claims that its cloud currently houses more than 35 billion Microsoft Office documents—the largest repository of that type of document in the world, Daher said.

Dropbox runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone and Web browsers, and has ports to Symbian and MeeGo mobile operating systems.

Dropbox is also considering an initial public stock offering later this year.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...