Dropbox likes to brag about how it has won the world over: 500 million users, 3.3 billion connections, over 200,000 businesses and 52 percent of the Fortune 500 among its paying customers. 

Ask Rob Baesman, head of product for Dropbox Pro, Business and Enterprise, about Dropbox’s presence at companies that don't pay for the service and he'll say, "the actual number of businesses that use Dropbox is a lot higher." In fact, that's precisely what he told CMSWire earlier this week.

Needless to say, that's a problem. Not just for San Francisco-based Dropbox, which could be earning revenues from these users, but also for the IT managers charged with managing and securing corporate content who have lost control. 

A Problem and an Opportunity

IT managers have tried, some with greater success than others, to block the use of Dropbox in the workplace (citing security reasons or other reasons). But in a cloudy world full of employee owned mobile devices, they haven’t found much success. Workers use the products they love to get their jobs done.

Dropbox saw this as both a problem and an opportunity a few years ago. It hired a team of enterprise IT veterans and built a product line that aimed to equip companies with the tools they needed to maintain security, control and visibility during collaboration. 

Business users, some IT managers and analysts appear to like the results. In its latest Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing Services (EFSS), Gartner not only placed Dropbox in the Leaders Quadrant, but the analysts also pointed to it as the best-in-class benchmark for ease of use.

That being said, Dropbox hasn't yet won the EFSS space — no one has. "There is no clear winner," Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky told CMSWire.

Dropbox aims to change that. Today it announced a new set of tools aimed at winning the hearts and minds of IT administrators called AdminX.

Introducing AdminX

"We have reimagined the administrator experience," Baesman told CMSWire. "We are introducing a new set of simple, but powerful tools to help them maintain security, control, and visibility for collaboration at scale.”

The tools include something called a Team Folder which features:

  • Enhanced sharing controls so that admins can manage folder membership at the folder or subfolder level, simplifying the process of granting internal and external access at a folder-level through the click of a button 
  • Centralized content management which gives admins visibility to all of their team folders from a single tab, making it possible to customize sharing policies and ensure that files don't get into the wrong hands
  • Sync management at scale so that users have access to what they need, but not synching everything by default, "especially large files that could overwhelm your hard drive," explained Baesman.

dropbox adminx team folders

Creating Team Folders in AdminX

New Administrator Experience

Dropbox aims to make it make it simpler and more intuitive for IT administrators to manage and protect company data. Also included in today's announcement:

  • Updated Admin Console — simplifying the process of managing collaboration at scale. The user experience is as simple as adjusting Settings on most mobile devices
  • Extended Security with File Event Logging — admins get easy visibility into events like file edits and deletions
  • Device Management — admins can control how many devices can be synched, preventing unauthorized access.

dropbox adminx monitor user activity

Monitoring User Activity in AdminX

Will Dropbox Win Over IT Over?

Dropbox has been a problem for some IT managers for as long as it has existed, because employees who used it in their personal lives brought it into their workplaces. (Blame the consumerization of IT). The end result, in many cases, has been shelfware — stuff IT pays for and no one uses. 

Dropbox, it is widely acknowledged, is the opposite, it's the tool business users use whether or not IT likes it.

Dropbox can't win business customers or enterprise revenues that way. It needs IT to roll out the red carpet and welcome them in. We'll have to wait and see if AdminX is the key that unlocks those sealed doors.