Dropbox is renaming Dropbox Teams to better reflect its change in business focus. The move comes in tandem with Dropbox’s new support for single sign on (SSO) and partnerships with Okta and other identity providers.
Dropbox for Business will replace the old name, reflecting the company’s change in focus to be more on larger business customers than teams within organizations.
In particular, this means support for Active Directory (AD), the traditional mechanism companies use to authenticate and manage an employee’s corporate identity. Businesses of any size demand built-in security, and AD has historically served as the standard as it eliminates the user name and password model for SSO.
Dropbox customers will get all the capabilities that come with AD, including setting permissions, revoking access or adding people from the IT admin panel.
Centrify CEO Tom Kemp said that Dropbox is different because of its massive install base and usage.
More and more users are bringing DropBox into work. But corporate IT/security is concerned that sensitive / confidential information is being stored in the cloud without proper security controls and access rights being applied, and they have no visibility into this. If they say no to dropbox, then users will just skirt IT. So having a solution such as Centrify integrate Dropbox with AD means that (a) users can use the solution they are comfortable with in terms of sharing docs etc.; (b) IT can put in the access control and security rights (who can access what) that they require; and (c) IT can leverage an existing mgmt tool / infrastructure they already own (AD) so they can implement this control / visibility without having to learn yet another tool. So Centrify + AD + Dropbox is a win – win for users/consumers and corporate IT.
Each of these identity providers are in a mad dash to bake in their SSO capabilities with big customers. Dropbox has some penetration into the business market, claiming it is in 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The company says it counts a customer when it has three or more people using the service. Is that credible? It’s tough to know without breaking down the numbers.
In the background of this is a land grab for the backend, something we are seeing a lot of as companies pull out of their long-time commitments to larger enterprise vendors. Companies like Dropbox eat around the edges of a large organization’s profit margins. The feeding is intensified by the presence of Google, Microsoft, Box and a host of others that want their own piece of the pie.
Perhaps the most interesting contrast comes from Salesforce.com, which last fall launched its own identity service and a competing product it calls Chatterbox, which takes its name from Chatter, the company’s activity-stream platform.
Dropbox is betting its future on consumer and business markets. To reach into the business market, the company has to have a security cornerstone, a must for most business customers, especially those that operate under regulatory and compliance requirements.
Dropbox took the first step toward its business-oriented branding with the launch of its administrative platform. Company executives say they will continue to build out its collaboration features. That will be a must in a market that has more than its share of collaboration providers.