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Dropbox takes aim at the enterprise

The gloves are off, as Dropbox launches an all out assault to win a place in the enterprise - but is it Mission Impossible?

Dropbox is launching an all out assault on the enterprise, bolstering its channel strategy and introducing a new business-friendly tier to its cloud storage platform.

Dropbox was a pioneer in the cloud storage arena, and is a favourite choice in the consumer space; however, it has struggled to gain traction in the enterprise. The cloud provider claims to have 400 million users, 8 million businesses and 150,000 companies utilising its premium Dropbox Business service.

It’s this last figure that the San Francisco-based company would like to improve upon and last week, Dropbox said rolled out the big guns, unveiling its new and shiny Dropbox Enterprise edition.

“With Dropbox Enterprise, IT can give employees the Dropbox they love while getting the advanced capabilities they need to effectively onboard and manage tens of thousands of users, protect company data, and get the most from their investment,” said Rob Baesman, head of product at Dropbox for Business.

The new tier includes a range of security enhancements such as ‘suspended user state’, which enables admins to disable user access, ‘sign in as user’ allowing admins to log in to an employee’s account.

The service offers increased visibility, allowing the business to see any personal Dropbox usage taking place on their company domain and monitor external collaborations.

Channel charm offensive

Dropbox has also shown some serious love to the channel, making improvements to its Partner Network, expanding the training and marketing resources offered to partners.

“We support our partners every step of the way with comprehensive training materials, co-marketing resources, and more,” Dropbox said in a blog post. “Our customized partner portal gives them everything they need to successfully represent a product already used by over 400 million people and 150,000 businesses. And since Dropbox integrates with big names like Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk, it’s a strong addition to the existing portfolios of MSPs, VARs, and DMRs alike.”

Box recently penned a deal with IBM and last week, Dropbox reminded the world that it could form high-end partnerships too. The newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell are big fans, alongside VMware and Telmex. Ingram Micro and Synnex have also been drafted as ‘distribution resources’.

Outside the US, the world’s largest telecoms provider, Vodafone, has helped to push Dropbox into markets like Albania, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, and South Africa.

Listening to the executive team, one would assume that Dropbox is already having a significant impact on the enterprise market, but the reality is that it still has a mountain to climb.

Dropbox has been rated the number one blacklisted consumer app, according to a report from enterprise mobility management provider MobileIron. By way of contrast, Box is the fifth most popular third party application being deployed by MobileIron’s customer base.

However, Dropbox seems to have a renewed sense of focus. The new service, combined with a big channel push, the strategic global partnerships and its popularity in the consumer space, and Dropbox may well be on the path to becoming a serious contender in the enterprise cloud storage space.

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Okay, thanks, two extra points for trying. I’ve used Dropbox basic for years, but only for personal non-critical files. Can be painfully slow on large media files, but it mostly works. OTOH, I can’t get anyone in business to accept it. I’d think Dropbox has a lot of politicking ahead if they hope to succeed.
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