Digital workers are constantly discovering ways to run work apps on their own mobile devices. But Dropbox is addressing the reverse problem with its latest update.
Dropbox for Business accounts can now access personal accounts so people can access their own files next to the ones they use for work. Convenient — or two worlds colliding?
Two Accounts, One Dropbox
Dropbox for Teams became Dropbox for Business early this year. Now Business account users don't have to switch back and forth or log in and log out to see their separate repositories. It's a small update, but as with so much of our tangled up digital lives, this one is aimed at simplifying a common bottleneck.
Some users had been hacking their way around this issue by writing scripts that could do the same thing, but now the ability to see both personal and business files in one place is baked into the Dropbox for Business core.
Before this update, personal files could be added to a business account, of course, but they were simply thrown into the same pot, as it were. Now, they're in the same place, but clearly delineated with separate files, settings, contacts and passwords.
"We talked to hundreds of businesses about what they wanted, and this was a popular situation," Ilya Fushman, Dropbox head of product, business and mobile said in an interview. "People often had a personal Dropbox before they had Dropbox for Business, and we wanted to create the user interface (UI) that let them access both."
Same location for business and personal files.
Remote Wipe, Share Audit Logs
Dropbox had to rebuild parts of its infrastructure including notifications, file separation and settings to accommodate multiple containers in one Dropbox, Fushman said. Once that was done, other updates could be included in the same release. One is the ability to share audit logs, and that means upgraded viewing of who has been doing what with particular documents, files and even shared links.
Many admins like to plug these logs into auditing tools like Splunk to track activity at a deeper level. This feature will allow that, Fushman said. Additionally, admins and team members will now have the option to remotely wipe a folder from a particular device if it is lost or stolen, for example.
Admins also have a new the option to remotely wipe devices connected to a particular user — a convenience when someone leaves a team or company. The progress of a remote wipe can be tracked to make sure the data is fully removed.
There is also an account transfer feature. Files and folders can be moved all at once, and their sharing relationships and settings remain intact.
All of these updates are scheduled to go live in January, Fushman said, but current Dropbox for Business customers can request access to them now. Dropbox now has more than 200 million users, and companies like Kayak.com have been testing the new features.
While there is no extra fee for adding a personal account to a Dropbox for Business account, there is a limit of one personal account per business account.