Dropbox for Business adds groups with open API

An Australian Dropbox customer participated in the early access program

Dropbox has added group sharing to the business version of its cloud storage platform.

With groups, Dropbox for Business customers can create and manage lists of team members within Dropbox and give them access to specific folders. Team admins can keep groups synced with active directory data.

Groups in Dropbox for Business. Credit: Dropbox
Groups in Dropbox for Business. Credit: Dropbox

Dropbox has also released an API for groups so customers can integrate the feature with their existing IT systems.

Several identity management and data-loss prevention (DLP) vendors have begun integrations, including Windows Azure, CloudLock, Netskope, Bitium, Elastica, OneLogin, Okta, Ping Identity, Centrify and Skyhigh, said Dropbox.

The API release continues an initiative by Dropbox to build an ecosystem of business software integrations. The company launched an open API for its business product in December last year.

The groups feature had been highly requested by users, Dropbox Australia country manager, Charlie Wood, told Computerworld Australia.

Groups was released through the Dropbox early access program in November and more than 12,000 companies signed up.

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In the Australian market, Dropbox saw big demand in particular for Groups from customers in the education sector who want to use the feature for faculty, specific classes and other school groups, said Wood.

“They’re starting to replace their last-decade technology sitting behind the firewall or the VPN with these more modern, any-device cloud solutions,” he said.

An Australian media company who Wood couldn’t name participated in the early access program for groups, he said.

“They’ve got different functional groups within their organisation and different publications within the groups, and of course it makes sense to have that groups structure so that only those people who work on certain publications really need to see [specific] data.”

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Dropbox Australia has nearly doubled its staff over the last four months, Wood said. Dropbox opened a Sydney office in April last year with about a dozen staff and has set a goal to increase headcount to 50 staff during 2015.

Dropbox has about 8 million users of Dropbox in Australia, including consumer and business users. The company does not break down its business customer base by country, but has about 100,000 customers globally.

Wood said he sees an opportunity for Dropbox in helping businesses attack a rising trend of shadow IT.

“This year is about the CIO taking a look at shadow IT, and not seeing it as a threat, but actually seeing it as an opportunity to modernise and to renovate,” he said.

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Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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