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Dropbox for Business grows more security, IT admin muscles

Juan Carlos Perez | July 24, 2014
The workplace version of the popular cloud storage service competes against offerings from Google, Microsoft, Box and others.

The company also allows people to have a Dropbox for Business account and a personal Dropbox account, and to be logged into both at the same time on the devices they use.

In a recent report on enterprise file sync and sharing products, Gartner rated and ranked a number of vendors, and called Dropbox "a viable offering for organizations that aim to enable modern collaboration in their workplaces, worrying less about IT control and data protection, and concentrating, instead, on user satisfaction."

Among the Dropbox strengths, Gartner listed its "best-in-class ease of use," people's familiarity with it, its "fast and reliable synchronization" and its vast platform ecosystem, with more than 300,000 third-party apps.

However, Gartner cautioned that Dropbox lacks a number of advanced security features, such as content-aware data loss prevention (DLP) and built-in digital rights management (DRM) encryption, and that its IT admin tools are "relatively basic."

Gartner also pointed out that Dropbox hasn't secured yet some certifications for compliance with certain government regulations for data protection and privacy, such as the ones spelled out in HIPAA, the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Dropbox's main competitors are Microsoft and Google, which offer their respective cloud storage and file share services -- along with suites of productivity and collaboration apps -- to both consumers and businesses, and Box, which focuses on the workplace market.

All three are locked in a manic race to lower prices and increase storage capacity.

Microsoft recently announced its plan to more than double to 15GB the storage capacity in the free, stand-alone OneDrive service for consumers, while also slashing the cost of additional storage. An extra 100GB will now cost $1.99 per user/month, down from $7.49, and 200GB will cost $3.99 per user/month, down from $11.49. For customers of the Office 365 Home, Office 365 University and Office 365 Personal productivity app suites, Microsoft is sending OneDrive storage to the stratosphere, from 20GB to 1TB per user.

Meanwhile, with a free Google account, people get 15GB of storage for files in Drive, Gmail messages and Google+ photos, and can purchase 100GB of additional storage for $1.99 per month. A free Google account also includes Docs, a set of office productivity apps.

In the enterprise market, Microsoft announced in April an increase in per-user storage of OneDrive for Business from 25GB to 1TB. OneDrive for Business is the workplace version of OneDrive, designed for employees to store, share and sync their personal work files.

The increase applied to the stand-alone version of OneDrive for Business, which costs $5 per month with the free Office Online, and to OneDrive for Business bundled with the workplace versions of Office 365.


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