Dropbox announces series of product updates for UK business customers

View-only permissions, document previews, and password expiration among new features added to Dropbox for Business with move to London on the cards

Cloud-based file hosting company Dropbox has today unveiled a series of new product updates for its Dropbox for Business UK customers with new functionality added across three areas  – security and  control, collaboration, and integration.

From today, business customers using its ‘early access’ programme will be able to use new features such as setting passwords and password expirations to prevent access files after a specific period of time, and view-only permissions for shared folders so that you can share documents but disable editing (see below).

Dropbox for Business updates resize

To encourage collaboration, Dropbox is also working on’Project Harmony’; a feature which shows you when someone has a document open, their activity and changes, as well as a full-text search feature for folders, and document previews which will give “high quality” previews for a range of documents on mobile and other devices, all of which will be made available to customers “very shortly” through the early access scheme.

With 300,000 apps already built on the Dropbox platform, the cloud company has also launched two new application programming interfaces (APIs) to “make it easier” for developers to create apps to integrate with Dropbox; with a shared folder API and document preview API available in production beta.

The shared folder API will give developers access to the core functionality of shared folders and the document preview API will let developers embed Dropbox’s new document preview feature directly into their apps, so users can view their Dropbox files without having to switch between files.

Established in September 2008 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, San Francisco-based file hosting service Dropbox has now grown to over 300 million users, a 200% increase over the last 18 months, with 1 billion files saved to Dropbox each day

Its Dropbox for Business offering, which launched in April 2013, has attracted  80,000 companies to date and it claims the service is now used by business customers over 100 times a day.

Having announced the changes at a roundtable event in Bank this morning, the cloud storage company also revealed that, having seen 100%  UK growth of its Dropbox for Business offering over the last year, it intends to open an in London and is currently on the search for a country manager to lead this move.

Johann Butting, Dropbox Europe chief, said the company had been surprised by its growth in the UK given that “we don’t really have a presence here” and“it has all been organic growth” but noted that the UK is “one of its most important markets” especially given that “70% of Dropbox users are based outside of the US”.

Dropbox for Business head of products, Ilya Fushman, commented:

“Collaboration is a core pain point […] across business boundaries, a lot of people work with vendors and external companies, […] and for the consumer experience Dropbox makes it easy for you to access your stuff on every device.

“The interesting thing is that with penetration of small and medium enterprises […] in the UK, when we look at our user base we see that there are at least for million unique business using Dropbox so there’s a huge opportunity  for us.

“[With Dropbox for Business] we have humble beginnings of 80,000 paying businesses but it’s also clear that building a business product is core to what Dropbox is doing.

Discussing the product updates, Fushman added:

“When we’re building this business product, we’re trying to do two things; we’re trying to build the simplicity and ease of use and the power that you get from the core Dropbox product, and really combine it with a set of powerful robust admin controls that companies need to deploy and manage Dropbox.

“We have people in all of these businesses that already know how to use Dropbox and for businesses that’s of great value as they don’t have to re-learn and figure out how to deploy a new piece of software.

“From an end user perspective we do think we’re doing things right, we see that people engage with the product about 100 times a day, which is pretty high, telling us that we’re solving pain points for our customers.”

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