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Dropbox for Business exits beta as storage vendor sets sights on workplaces

Dropbox for Business exits beta as storage vendor sets sights on workplaces

The enterprise version of Dropbox comes with a variety of IT controls

Dropbox unwrapped the enterprise edition of its cloud storage and file sync service on Wednesday, as it seeks to expand its customer base from consumers to businesses.

Dropbox for Business, launched in beta in November, is now generally available and features a variety of IT administration controls intended to make it suitable for workplace use.

"We rebuilt Dropbox for the business use case," said Ilya Fushman, who heads the Dropbox for Business unit.

The IT controls include remote wipe of Dropbox files in employee devices, audit logs that track how and with whom users are sharing files and the ability to transfer control of employee accounts.

In addition, it's now possible for people to have both a personal Dropbox account and a separate Business account provisioned by their employer, and to be logged into both at the same time on the devices they use.

Dropbox for Business lets IT administrators determine whether their entire domain of users can share files with external users or not, but it doesn't let them establish those settings more granularly at the level of individual users or specific files and folders.

With its Business version, Dropbox is stepping into a highly competitive market where rivals include Box, Google, Microsoft, IBM, YouSendIt, Citrix, Accellion, Egnyte and WatchDox. Dropbox has about 275 million users of its consumer-oriented product who save about 1 billion files to the service every day. About 100,000 third-party applications have been built for the Dropbox service.

The remote wipe feature is necessary for when employees lose a device, which happens often with smartphones, tablets and laptops. The account transfer capability comes in handy when an employee leaves the company, so that the files on that account can be kept and control of them reassigned to someone else. Meanwhile, IT staffers use audit logs to keep track of how files and folders are being accessed and shared, to make sure employees are complying with usage policies and to detect anomalous behavior.

Dropbox for Business costs $15 per user, per month, for a minimum of five users.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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