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DropBox adds single sign-on

Amazon-dependent storage provider goes for the enterprise

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

DropBox has implemented single sign-on as the company strives to get inside enterprises before larger companies commodify its file storage technology.

Single sign-on (SSO) gives enterprise IT admins a way to manage use of DropBox by employees, the company announced on Tuesday. Alongside its introduction, DropBox has changed the name of its business-focused product from DropBox to Teams, to DropBox for Business.

SSO follows the company buffing the UI of its IT admin interface with added functions, like team data controls, to help it cozy up to admins. These moves see the consumer-favorite try to restyle itself for the enterprise, and take it closer to the territories of Box and Google.

The enterprise is an attractive area for DropBox, as it is not – yet - being commodified to the same extent as the consumer market. Just last week Amazon started to seriously compete with DropBox via an upgrade to its Cloud Drive service*.

"SSO works behind the scenes to let users sign in just once to a central identity provider, like Active Director, and securely access all their business apps, like DroBbox," the company wrote in a blog post announcing the technology. "With SSO, companies can put their existing trusted identity provider in charge of the authentication process."

The company's SSO implementation uses Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and will be provided by technology from DropBox partners Ping Identity, Okta, OneLogin, Centrify, and Symplified.

Though DropBox is going after enterprises, its technology may preclude many from using it: the company depends entirely on services operated by Amazon Web Services, and stores all data in US data centers, making the app a no go for organizations subject to data protection regulations, or those with fears US data-snooping laws like the Patriot Act and FISA.

DropBox is not the only storage provider to have offered single sign on. Box, a rival service, has offered SSO since 2011 via a partnership with Ping Identity, while Google also provides SSO via a SAML-based service for its web apps. ®

Bootnote

* Amazon has a tendency to apparently reproduce technologies developed or pioneered by other companies. It is able to do this because it operates the fundamental infrastructure – Amazon Web Services – on which many of these companies base their products.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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