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DropBox puts locks on doors, hopes biz bods will buy the house

Two-step auth, remote wipe, audit logs - what's not to like?

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DropBox is tightening up its service for businesses rather than risk getting kicked out by security-conscious CIOs.

The collaboration service, hyped by Silicon Valley, will start offering secure and remotely managed connections between people's personal and business DropBox accounts on PC and mobile from next month.

Its DropBox for Business account will come with single sign-on, two-step verification, sharing controls and an admin console.

Sysadmins will be able to view audit logs to see who is accessing documents and data, remotely wipe DropBox folders on mobile devices and computers, and transfer documents from a de-provisioned user to another employer.

Users can also now create different DropBox with their own passwords, contacts, settings and files.

The changes are intended to give sysadmins and CIOs more control over who shares what and track and control which documents go out of house. Also, they are intended to make it easier for users to separate work from personal docs.

DropBox has become a classic tale of consumerisation of IT undermining corporate control of IT infrastructure and data. The service has become an unofficial collaboration tool for many, thanks to the fact users are able to create and use accounts.

Dropbox claims 200 million users, with four million businesses and 97 per cent of the Fortune 500 among these.

A survey on behalf of enterprise file-sharing specialist Egnyte found a hard-core of those sharing files had done so under circumstances that would alarm bosses.

More than a third - 38 per cent - of those using file-share services like DropBox had transferred sensitive documents through services not approved by IT. Twenty-seven per cent had still had access to documents from a previous employer. The survey was conduced by Harris Interactive who polled more than 2,000 US adults.

The news is worrying not just for customers but also for DropBox, as IT operations risk blocking DropBox for their employees and turning to services from pre-approved IT providers like IBM and Microsoft. IBM itself prohibits the use of DropBox for file sharing by its staffers.

Ilya Fushman, DropBox head of product for mobile and business, blogged of the changes: "As people often work at home, they also want to have their personal files with them at the office. With only one DropBox, users wound up putting their personal files in their DropBox for Business. We needed to build a way to help people keep their stuff separate, but still make both sets available from everywhere.”®

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