Technology

Not Dropping the Ball: Dropbox Eyes the Enterprise

Dropbox hopes to use its popularity with the public to help drive even more popularity with the business world, and the company is looking for some massive funding to make it happen.

Dropbox hopes to use its popularity with the public to make inroads into the business world, and the company is looking for some massive funding to make it happen.

Your employees already use Dropbox to share stuff via the cloud, so why shouldn’t your organization?

That’s the pitch that the cloud-computing giant is making to businesses, in the hopes of making a few converts in the enterprise space. Some details of note:

One account, two folders: Dropbox—which is already in use at more than 4 million businesses, including at 97 percent of the Fortune 500 (though possibly under the radar of IT staffs)—announced a move last week to improve its businesses services. The company plans to offer users work and personal folders, with the goal of keeping the two separate and secure. The benefit for users is that they won’t have to swap between the two accounts to grab content. “Dropbox is also smart about making sure your stuff goes where it’s supposed to,” the company wrote in a blog post. “For example, photos you add via Camera Upload will instantly show up in the Photos tab, but they’ll stay for your eyes only.”

Adding appeal for IT pros: One of the largest sticking points about Dropbox for IT staffs has been a lack of control, something the company is working to solve, offering admins the ability to transfer accounts to different owners, wipe data remotely, and check audit logs to see exactly how data is being used.

So what took them so long? Why has Dropbox held off on offering the kind of enterprise solutions that have given companies like Box a foothold? To put it simply, it’s harder than it looks to go after two separate audiences. “If all this looks pretty simple to use, that’s the point. But under the hood, there has been all this crazy stuff we’ve had to do,” CEO Drew Houston said during a press conference last week. “No one has done this before. No one has built a product that both users love and IT loves.” Nonetheless, the space is busy: Beyond Box, which is planning to go public next year, Dropbox has direct competition from Google, Microsoft, Apple, and numerous enterprise-focused players.

The new features, already being demoed for Dropbox’s current business customers, will be available to everyone next year. The company is shooting for the stars with this one: In hopes of encouraging a big build-out of the business platform, it is currently seeking a $250 million funding round.

(Dropbox press photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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