Dropbox adds new features to woo enterprise users

A connector for Active Directory integration is now in beta

The new tiered admin roles in Dropbox for Business.

The new tiered admin roles in Dropbox for Business.

Dropbox wants to gain a stronger foothold in the enterprise, and on Thursday it rolled out several new Dropbox for Business features that sweeten the deal for corporate users.

New tiered admin roles are designed to help delegate day-to-day responsibilities, which could make life easier for IT administrators charged with managing large Dropbox deployment. Companies can now assign admins to one of three distinct roles, each with a different set of permissions.

An enterprise installer, meanwhile, lets admins automate the deployment of Dropbox for Business remotely to any Windows desktop machine.

Dropbox is also working to beef up security -- it was recently certified as compliant with ISO guidelines on how it guards personally identifiable information -- and now it's made it easier for admins to require two-step verification for account access as well.

Finally, a new connector now being released in limited beta offers Active Directory integration, and Dropbox is extending the Dropbox for Business API for further integrations as well. Adallom, CloudLock, Elastica, Mover, Netskope and SkySync are all among the partners that have begun building integrations with Dropbox for Business, the company said.

Dropbox is one of several Web companies that have entered large organizations through a "side door" of sorts by providing inexpensive services whose ease of access make them popular among individual employees and small work groups, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

Ultimately, though, Dropbox is trying to position itself in the enterprise as an alternative to Microsoft for cloud storage and file sharing, and it's not clear how well that will succeed.

"Younger organizations that purposely avoid traditional productivity tools and applications are a good target, especially since they are among Dropbox's main customers," King said. But he thinks that most organizations already committed to Office, Active Directory and Azure may be a lost cause and not such "greenfield" opportunities as the company hopes.

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