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Category: Dropbox

There are 3 posts published under Dropbox.

Lifting the Ban on Dropbox

Dropbox can put organizations at risk by not having adequate security controls, increasing the chance of security breaches.


In one incident, Dropbox email addresses were successfully hacked and then used to send Dropbox users spam.Many enterprises are not prepared to take the necessary risk and are forbidding the use of Dropbox making it the number one banned application according to a survey by Fiberlink.


Dropbox introduces security risks by not including the necessary authorizations that are required as part of healthcare and financial regulations. For example, Dropbox is typically not integrated with an organization’s DLP (data loss prevention) solution that ensures that only authorized users transfer files and that sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and patient data doesn’t leak from the organization. Dropbox also does not include a full audit trail of which files were transferred, when and by whom, as well as who downloaded the files.


Once the data resides in Dropbox the risk continues. This data might remain on the cloud forever without any control or monitoring. Hackers are aware that Dropbox can contain important data and often make breaching Dropbox a high priority target and they will do whatever it takes to access this information.


Dropbox is not the only collaboration solution that can be more easily compromised. Other cloud file sharing solutions such as Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive have similar limitations.


Dropbox keeps coming back


Based on Dropbox’s vast scale — it boasts 200 million users with business users quadrupling in recent years — users are not likely to volunteer to give up using Dropbox on their own.


When users need to collaborate with business partners, remote users and customers, file sync and share services such as Dropbox are easy to use, offering a good alternative to the organization’s email systems which in most organizations don’t enable the transfer of large files (10MB and over).


There are other proprietary solutions available as an alternative to Dropbox, but they often add a level of complexity which users resist when they are under pressure to transfer a file.  These procedures include encrypting passwords and requiring recipients to install specialized software.


Using Dropbox Safely


Rather than replacing Dropbox, another layer of security can be added to existing file transfer procedures that would enable organizations to control which files are uploaded to Dropbox, and who has authority to share these files. An open solution that integrates easily with existing security tools of the organization such as DLP, Anti-virus and authentication systems would enable all data shared to undergo authentication, data scanning and data encryption.  These additional precautions significantly reduce the chances that data shared using Dropbox will be compromised.


Such a system would also include a full audit trail of who transferred which files, enabling compliance in the healthcare, insurance and banking industries and meeting over a dozen regulations including PCI-DSS and HIPAA. Providing additional checks and balances can also be used for automated file transfers. This enhances IT productivity and reduces operational costs by streamlining business processes which were previously done manually using standard file transfer solutions. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that files can be shared easily among partners, suppliers and customers, without requiring additional software or procedures on the receiving end.


The simpler the solution, the greater the chance that employees will use it. If they are required to change their habits too much there is always the risk that they will be tempted to go back to using Dropbox unprotected. By using security systems which add functionality to make Dropbox more secure, employees can do their work with the least amount of disruption, giving IT managers’ peace of mind knowing that their sensitive corporate data is well protected.


Four Questions (Answered!) About the Yahoo and Dropbox Partnership

Will cloud storage be tech’s next bubble? Dropbox, a cloud storage company, is seeking to raise $250 million in new funding, which would value the company at more than $8 billion, twice the valuation from its last round in 2011.


What has Dropbox done since 2011? One of its recent high profile achievements is integrating with Yahoo, putting Dropbox right inside your Yahoo Mail inbox. This allows you to move attachments directly from Yahoo Mail to Dropbox, without saving to your desktop. Want to share links to files in Dropbox? Skip the step of opening another tab; attach Dropbox file links as if you were sending regular attachments. This email to cloud integration streamlines the sharing and collaboration flow.


Why Yahoo, why Dropbox and why now? Understanding the Yahoo and Dropbox partnership enables us to better understand the direction of cloud collaboration, communication and the implication for productivity.


What does this mean for Yahoo, Dropbox and their users?


Just as Salesforce and members of its ecosystem have grown by working together, Dropbox and Yahoo are growing their respective businesses by working together. By working with Yahoo, Dropbox gets in front of users beyond its core “early adopter” base. By working with Dropbox, Yahoo gets associated with a “cool” Valley company and can provide a more comprehensive productivity suite than its previous offering. Given Gmail’s recent integration with Google Drive, Yahoo and Dropbox’s partnership help both remain competitive.


In the short and long run, users benefit from these integrations. If you’re using Gmail, you probably also use Google Drive, with 15GB of free storage. If you’re using Yahoo Mail, you can sign up for Dropbox and get 2GB of free storage (with an additional 14GB via referrals). By connecting their email with a cloud service, users can overcome some email limitations, such as the attachment size limit.


Google, Yahoo and Dropbox have validated the importance of connecting email inboxes (where you send and receive content) to cloud storage (where you save and sync files), as it simply makes sense. Over time, users will have more control of their email attachments and can save time with streamlined workflows.


What if you’re using other cloud storage services like Microsoft SkyDrive, Box, Bitcasa or SugarSync? You can connect these to your email inbox as well with Kloudless. With 23% of email market share, Outlook and users also have an option for email to cloud.


The additional flexibility to integrate multiple cloud storage devices means that users don’t have to pick a specific cloud service provider for email to cloud connectivity. Users can use the cloud services they want.


Why did Yahoo and Dropbox choose each other for this partnership?


For Yahoo, amidst their refocusing, working with Dropbox is a great opportunity to partner with a hot startup. Given some recent moves (including hiring Katie Couric, buying Tumblr and others), this partnership helps shed the tired, outdated brand image in exchange for an updated, hip brand. Unlike Google and Microsoft, Yahoo also does not have its own cloud storage offering. The Dropbox integration gives them instant credibility that rivals Google’s Gmail and Drive integration.


For Dropbox, this partnership is another example of how they are executing on their vision: “it just works” in the places that you’re used to working. They built a cloud service that connects with you via your desktop, a familiar place. Now they’re connecting with you in your email inbox.


Why didn’t this partnership happen sooner?


Several conditions needed to be met for Dropbox and Yahoo Mail to create this joint solution. First, Yahoo (and by extension, Yahoo Mail) needed to redefine itself to regain its former dominance. While the top seat saw quite a bit of turnover, it wasn’t until Marissa Mayer took the reins that Yahoo began to refocus on what was needed to create value for its users and shareholders.


Second, Dropbox and other cloud storage services were supposed to kill collaboration via email. Email attachments are painful — they have file size limits and the back-and-forth nature of the workflow kills productivity. However, we know people still collaborate via email. In fact, people now use email to pass links to their cloud files back and forth. By working together, Dropbox and Yahoo Mail were able to put together a service that benefits both of their user bases.


Third, some things are hard (or impossible) to kill off. Behaviors are hard to change, and sometimes people need to be in an already familiar context to be open to adopting new behavioral changes. Introducing cloud storage into email is such a step.


Are Yahoo or Dropbox signaling something with a deeper meaning to the cloud industry?


Several more companies will likely partner up like this. People use many different services in the cloud for productivity: email, storage, CRM, and others. It makes sense that companies want to give their customers the best cloud experience possible; sometimes this means playing nicely with others.


This partnering strategy isn’t unprecedented — Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) has a habit of partnering or purchasing Software-as-a-Service vendors whose offerings are complementary to its core product, a cloud CRM solution. Dreamforce, its ecosystem conference, is a testament to how Salesforce has grown by working smartly with partners, acquiring technologies that complement its own and ensuring its technologies help its customers grow.


The next several years will be interesting for the cloud industry. Technologies will advance to improve cloud communication, collaboration and productivity. Will you take advantage of connecting your email inbox to the cloud?


Apple will never buy DropBox

And here is why.


DropBox is a feature and not a product. Those were the words of late Steve Jobs, sometime around 2009. I don’t know if that was a reaction of a man not getting what he wanted, but the real question here is was he right? Let’s look at what the market says. With 100 million plus users and a valuation of $4 billion, DropBox is probably the most desired “feature” ever built.


But for the sake of this article, let’s say he was right, and that DropBox is a feature indeed. Then it’s safe to assume that iCloud is the product.


iCloud was introduced in mid-2011 after Apple unsuccessfully tried to acquire DropBox.


The latest stats say that iCloud has a quarter of a billion users. That seems like a lot, and it’s certainly more than DropBox. But, hey who doesn’t want a backup of their photos. Sync of your calendar and email. Keynotes in the cloud.


Anyway, let’s take a moment and put all the features of the two services aside and zoom out. Between the two clouds, there’s only one key difference. And that’s the difference in the approach that’s so characteristic for Apple.


Apple wants to keep you tied only in their ecosystem. That’s why iCloud doesn’t have a folder structure. No, it’s not because it’ll just work, but because you, the user, shouldn’t be able to control it easily. As a result your free space gets filled up very fast with stuff that you probably don’t need. And in a blink of an eye you need to buy more space, and you don’t even know what’s in there.


I get a good laugh every time I read that your iTunes songs are backed up on your iCloud account. They are not backed up. They are not copied there. They are only associated with your account, and when you download them, you’re actually downloading from iTunes and not from iCloud. Everything is supposed to be simple with Apple, but in fact it’s quite complicated.


And that’s why users love DropBox.


They took the virtual hard drive approach. Let’s give the customer a place to store their stuff. People are free to store whatever they like. It’s easy and simple to do.


And that’s all good on paper, but when you get to a million files it doesn’t get any different from your real hard drive. So, you need to spend time to organize, delete all the unnecessary files because they eat up your space and even carefully separate stuff in folders.


So, which approach wins in the long term? I guess it will not be iCloud. Historically speaking Apple always embraced the closed system approach. Sometimes that works, but probably not in this case. As developer, there’s not much you can do with iCloud and as user it will probably always stay as a place for backup that you probably don’t know exists.


On the other hand, people love to put all kinds of files on DropBox. And that’s good. Freedom, no limitations, and access from any device (not just Apple).  DropBox did well. They only need to find a way to improve the organization of documents.


But, in my opinion that should be done by third party developers. There’s only that much that DropBox could do and certainly they can’t think of all the possible ideas and execute them. So, I see their service more as a platform that developers can build on.


At our startup we took this approach. We’re working on DoxBee , an email compatible document collaboration system that replaces attachments with distributed version control. DropBox (and possibly Box, GDrive, SkyDrive etc.) will store your attachments and we’re going to organize them, make them searchable and add version control and some extra features. And this is only for documents.


Users keep all kinds of data in the Cloud. It needs to be organized and used in creative ways. Clouds are not simple virtual hard drives, they can be programmed and you as a developer can take advantage of that.