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Dropbox For Business: Right For You?

Dropbox for Business wants to be taken seriously as an enterprise tool. Consider these 5 facts to decide whether Dropbox is your best option.

Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
Microsoft SkyDrive Vs. Dropbox, Google: Hands-On
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Dropbox's success among consumers is clear; aside from Apple's iCloud, which benefits from the legions entrenched in its iOS ecosystem, Dropbox is the most widely used cloud platform, besting such formidable competitors as Google, Amazon and Microsoft. It's also become an asset within the enterprise, with the company claiming that its customers include more than two million businesses and 95% of the Fortune500.

Dropbox is clearly keen to develop its corporate role, an intention the company made clear Wednesday when it not only rebranded its Dropbox for Teams product, originally launched in fall 2011, as Dropbox for Business but also added a key perk to its Active Directory integration: single sign-on (SSO). Many large enterprises are still skeptical of the cloud, and often for good reason; there are risks, after all, in storing sensitive content on someone else's servers.

Nevertheless, Dropbox is more than a storage repository. It's also a collaboration vehicle that's suited to modern business environments, which include not only employees working on traditional PCs in the office but also growing numbers of remote, mobile or work-from-home staffers. Can the increasingly business-minded Dropbox improve productivity and organization at your workplace? Here are five considerations.

[ Are collaboration vendors starting to all sound alike? See 8 Ways To Judge Collaboration Technology Vendors. ]

1. Dropbox comes with robust security controls-- and blights on its record.

Dropbox suffered a hack last summer that not only exposed customer passwords to unscrupulous parties but also revealed some sloppy practiceswithin the company. Commentators treated Dropbox's enterprise prospects like a punching bag for several weeks following the incident, but the brand has still managed to survive the incident with its popularity intact.

Indeed, the company promised a renewed focus on security, and though some residual damagelinked to the hack surfaced earlier this year, Dropbox offers a variety of specs and features to help IT managers rest easier at night.

This list includes the option to require two-step verification before corporate data can be accessed, a feature expressly meant to address the password breach. To protect at-rest data, Dropbox applies AES-256 encryption, which is the same standard used in the financial industry. For data in transit, meanwhile, Dropbox uses secure socket layer (SSL) technology to establish a secure tunnel between the data center and an employee endpoint, a process broadly similar to what leading mobile device management (MDM) products use to stream SharePoint files and other corporate documents to smartphones.

The product additionally includes options for using third-party tools to apply more encryption, and because it is hosted by Amazon S3, Dropbox offers not only high reliability but also automatic data backups. For certain market segments, such as healthcare or government, these protections might not satisfy all regulations, let alone appease the skepticism harbored by cautious CIOs. In many cases, though, a business would have to host its own cloud in order to provide an environment that's significantly more fortified than Dropbox's.

2. Dropbox offers granular controls for IT admins.

Though industry regulations might disallow some companies from using Dropbox and similar services, other businesses shy away from the cloud because employees often use it without IT supervision. A worker might upload corporate files to the cloud, for example, because he or she intends to work with the documents later by synching them to a device at home. Such a worker's desire to be productive is arguably laudable, but few CIOs are willing to accept that productivity has to involve the posting of internal data to outside storage resources.

Dropbox seeks to appease such CIO anxieties with numerous user controls. These controls include not only Active Directory, which enables user-based access to given files, but also offer tools to monitor how corporate documents are accessed in the cloud. Administrators can review a given worker's recent Dropbox activity, for example, or which devices and third-party applications the worker has been using. Admins can also create reports based on this data.

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anon7258199085
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anon7258199085,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/1/2013 | 6:00:01 PM
Copy com

Looking for the perfect platform for online storage (cloud ), I found COPY .com, a service just launched by Barracuda Networks, a well-known provider of network security and anti-spam.

 

The first thing that catches the attention of COPY .com is that their referral system is incredible. Since they are new on this segment, they want to make sure that everyone will be looking for Copy.com  and to do that they had the bright idea of giving away a free 15GB account But if you sign up through a referral link (like mine here), you can get 20 GB of free space instead of 15!
The nest part does not end there: for every person who installs and registers COPY through their referral link, validates email address and installs the client software Copy.com will credit 5 GB of additional space to you and to the new subscriber. For the moment the space you can get for free is UNLIMITES, so take advantage now if you need online storage space: DO YOU NOW before they change their mind!

 

In all features, COPY is very similar to Dropbox: you have a centralized folder where everything that moves or copy into is automatically uploaded to the cloud service of Copy.com and synchronized between all of the computers where we will have installed it. You can access your files from iOS devices, Windows, MacOS , Linux, Android, everything is transferred over SSL and encrypted on their servers, which use a combination of public and private key and AES 256.

But there are some specific details that make it unique Copy.com:

- you do not need to copy or move the files in the root folder of necessity: this was the requirement  required to Dropbox for a long time, and Copy.com does it very well. Just create a shortcut to any folder into your Copy folder and all content in the destination folder will be synchronized and backed up online as well, staying in its original place in your hard drive! So just leave things where they are and simply create shortcuts, it works perfectly. Strangely, this is not advertised as a main feature on their site.

- You can set permissions for shared files. For example, you can set a user to be able to "edit and synchronize" or "Read Only".




- Fair Condivision: If you want to share a folder, the amount of space used is "charged" dividing it among the members participating in the group. So if you share a folder of 50 GB among 5 people their space will not be deducted 50Gb each (like Dropbox does ) but only 10 each (⅕ of 50Gb). To explain this with an example:

- User A wants to share a file of 50GB with User B - User A and B both have user accounts 100Gb.

- User B synchronizes the file. The 2 users then see only 25 GB of space used for this specific action .

- User A decides to share again with another user , user C.

- The user decides to synchronize C and now everyone sees this action by using about 16GB of space.

 

If you need a lot of space, their plans are very attractive. But before you run out of your 15 or 20 Gb free (if you register by clicking here: https://copy.com?r=oB79am) it will take a long time!

 

- Security: being a service offered by Barracuda Networks, which has always worked on security products , I think this is a must for Copy.com.

 

Conclusions.

 

Try it yourself, you get 15 GB free at Copy.com directly or even better get 20 GB free if you sign up by clicking here: https://copy.com?r=oB79am. Let us know on the comments what you think of the service.

 

Note: To make sure you get the 20 GB :

1) Register by clicking here: https://copy.com?r=oB79am.

2 ) Validate your email address by clicking on email sent by Copy.com ( check your spam folder if you do not ) .

3 ) Install the client software on your computer and log in at least once.

MarkS749
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MarkS749,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2013 | 12:36:04 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
I have been experiencing great Dropbox service for my business. So if you want to run your your business efficiently and wanna get best secure environment and easy access for your busines data i strongly recommend Dropbox. You can view detailed review and its features here. Source: http://www.cloudreviews.com/dr...
TechMKT
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TechMKT,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/19/2013 | 4:01:37 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
This is a good article for the pros and cons of the service. Something to think about with any service is the type of 3rd party tools that are available. For example, BoxCryptor (www.boxcryptor.com) is an application that encrypts your files on DropBox and other cloud services, reducing some of the security concerns mentioned in your article. WebDrive (www.webdrive.com) maps a network drive to services such as DropBox (as well as corporate FTP/SFTP Servers) so that users and applications can access the files as if they were on the local network. In fact, these two programs work very nicely together.
Josiah Harris
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Josiah Harris,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 6:46:58 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
Perhaps I am missing something here ... but howcome you have no comparison with the similar service called simply Box? Our law firm elected to use Box for secure and business related file sharing before DropBox seemed to get the idea that it needed to add some features to be more business-like. Thoughts on Box vs. Dropbox ??
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2013 | 4:53:38 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
Office 365's Sharepoint and SkyDrive Pro components offer a much more compelling, capable, and AFFORDABLE platform vs. DropBox for Business. Not to mention that O365 also includes the entire Exchange groupware platform as well as the Lync platform for communication. Hands down no contest imho.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/12/2013 | 6:08:20 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
Thanks for the comment, thparkth. Very interesting to learn which of the various selling points actually matter to you in practical usage. I assume since your company uses Dropbox that Google Drive, Box et al were also objectionable in certain ways? It sounds like the sync function is what you're really paying for. Even if the product has problems, are you seeing a meaningful increase in productivity and collaboration?
thparkth
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thparkth,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/12/2013 | 5:22:16 PM
re: Dropbox For Business: Right For You?
As a current enterprise customer, there are a few problems with the offering:

* At least one of those $125/year accounts will be wasted because you typically need an administrator account for the IT support group to use.
* There are no great options for dealing with account holders leaving the company on bad terms. There is a high likelihood of data leakage.
* The quota model is basically broken. Want to share large files with an external company? They'll need to pay for a dropbox subscription, even though the files are in *your* storage.
* We have no control over backups etc.
* The basic idea is broken. We have file servers, all over the world. Our marginal cost to store things on our file servers is peanuts. We don't need Dropbox's disk space. The only thing that makes it attractive is their desktop sync software. If someone sold software that did desktop sync for remote users to our file servers, we'd buy that instead.
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