Cloud storage 2013: Nirvanix dies, others bloom
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Dropbox today took another step to make its file-syncing and file-sharing service ready for large companies, integrating Microsoft Active Directory and a single sign-on feature, while changing the name of its enterprise service from Dropbox for Teams to Dropbox for Business.
Integrating Microsoft Active Directory gives IT administrators the ability to centralize management for Dropbox, which employees frequently use to share files on desktop and mobile devices as part of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.
"[Active Directory] is the lynchpin for a lot of strong security needs," said Tido Carriero, Dropbox's leader of engineering. "This centralizes control for administrators so they don't have to create a separate account system for Dropbox. They can use Active Directory. They don't want to manually create and manage separate accounts."
Dropbox enhanced its enterprise file-sharing service in February with a redesigned console to give administrators deeper visibility into users' data usage and activity, which allows IT to monitor what devices are linked to the service and set sharing policies for third-party applications and Web sessions.
It also gave IT the ability to view activity, including member logins and team invitations, track IP address activity, set up private-link usage and generate audit reports through comma-separated values files.
Carriero said integrating Active Directory into Dropbox for Business is the next step in making the service more secure and easier to manage for larger companies. The single sign-on (SSO) capability allows employees to use the company's centralized password authentication process for Dropbox accounts.
According to a blog posted by Anand Subramani, Dropbox's product manager, "SSO means fewer passwords to remember and one fewer step. Once logged into the system, there is no need to sign into Dropbox separately. For IT administrators, SSO means added security and additional management security. SSO gives administrators complete ownership of the authentication process and [allows them to] work with the company's existing password policies."
An Enterprise Strategy Group report published in August 2012 listed security for online file sharing as a priority for many companies.
"Organizations that have made the move to corporate-owned online file-sharing accounts, or are contemplating doing so, have a checklist of security features that they have identified as requirements for an online file-sharing solution," the report stated. "At the top of the list are basic security controls such as antivirus software, secure authentication of users and encryption of data in flight and at rest. Beyond these basics, IT teams want control of their online file-sharing operations. For example, they want to be able to access logs from the online file-sharing solution and remotely wipe users' endpoint devices if necessary."
Active Directory for Business will be available from Dropbox within the next month.