Looking to stay ahead of integrated rivals in cloud storage and sharing like Google's Drive and Microsoft's SkyDrive, pioneer DropBox is pushing its cred among business users by renaming its DropBox at Work service DropBox for Business. The star of the show is single sign-on (SSO).
The new feature allows users to sign in once with an identity profile and access all their applications.
Less To Remember
"For users, SSO means ease -- one fewer password to remember and one fewer step to get to your work," wrote Anand Subraman in a blog post. "Once logged in to your system, there's no need to sign in to Dropbox separately. For IT admins, SSO means additional security and administrative management.
San Francisco-based Dropbox was founded in 2007. In November, research firm iSuppli's Mobile and Wireless Communications Service estimated that its 100 million users constitute an impressive 20 percent of the world's current half-billion cloud subscriptions as the industry continues to soar, fueled by our increasing need to accumulate digital content for work or pleasure.
And accumulate devices. DopBox and other services allow users to access the same content on PCs, tablets or smartphones.
DropBox for teams launched in 2011, starting at $795 for up to five users with unlimited storage.
In announcing the new single sign-on feature, DropBox also announced new partnerships with identity providers Ping Identity, Okta, OneLogin, Centrify, and Symplified with availability begnning some time next month.
"[S]ince we're using the industry-standard Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), this implementation of single sign-on integrates easily with any large identity provider your company may use that also supports SAML," wrote Subramani, who is product manager for DropBox teams, on the company blog. "Or, if you've gone ahead and built your own SAML-based federated authentication process, it will work with Dropbox too."
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us that the single sign-on concept isn't new, but "reflects a recognition that one-size-fits-all file-sharing sites like DropBox and others are going to have to tighten up the way they do business and offer higher levels of security and ease of management if they want to be taken seriously by businesses."
Security Is Key
"There have been some incidents with security breaches and sites going offline," said King. "These things are annoyances that consumers can deal with more easily and perhaps are less vexing for consumers than they would be for businesses that depend on services such as DropBox to conduct daily operations.
"So it's wise of them to come up with an offering like this and it will be interesting to see how the features they come up with compete with other offerings in this space."
In February, DropBox for Teams unveiled an administrative sharing console allowing easier control for collaborators to share effortlessly.