While Dropbox, Vera and Okta may sound like the beginning of Silicon Valley joke about three startups walking into a bar, the partnership is a serious attempt to attract companies who may be concerned about sharing sensitive files in the cloud.
Vera came out of stealth last April with a mission to protect files in motion, regardless of what service you’re using to store or share them. Vera’s role in this agreement is providing ways to control a Dropbox file as it moves through the world.
That could mean applying an expiration date, after which you can no longer open the file, or limiting the ability to share, edit or even copy and paste from the file, depending on your settings.
Dropbox has always had eye-popping numbers in its favor crossing over 400 million users earlier this year with 150,000 companies using the service, while storing over a billion files including 35 billion Microsoft Office files.
Any way you slice that data, there are a lot of users, and chances are, there are a fair number of business files being used in that bunch. Dropbox started offering a business version of the product in April, 2014 called appropriately Dropbox for Business, which gave IT some control over those files while they are in the Dropbox system. When files move outside of Dropbox, any controls on the file are lost.
Okta meanwhile joined Dropbox in the unicorn club earlier this year. It has over 2500 customers using Okta for identity management, security, mobile device management and two-factor identification. That means customers can use Okta to access a multitude of cloud services without having to sign on to each one individually and ensure the identity of the individual trying to access the file.
Putting It All Together
Putting all three of these companies together gives customers a powerful set of tools, allowing them to use Okta to sign in to these services with a single sign on (using two-factor identification if needed) to ensure the appropriate person is accessing the file, while Dropbox users can share files with anyone, knowing that Vera enables them to control access to that file wherever it goes, even when it moves outside of Dropbox.
Until this announcement, there have been two significant road blocks to the mass enterprise adoption of public cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, according to Vera CEO Ajay Arora.
“[For starters], ensuring that not only is the critical business information that you put in the cloud secure, but also ensuring that when that information leaves the cloud, that information remains secure, trackable and under the full control of the enterprise. [Secondly], making absolutely certain that any enterprise data stored in the cloud is restricted to only authorized personnel and their authorized devices — this is a major challenge for hybrid consumer-enterprise cloud solutions. For the first time in partnership with Dropbox, Vera solves the first problem, while Okta the second,” Arora explained.
It ultimately helps all three companies, and their customers and it promotes interoperability in the cloud. For Vera, it also gives a much less mature company a way to hang out with a couple of unicorns and raise its profile. Looks like everybody wins.