Dropbox this week is launching the Dropbox for Business API, offering its business storage and security features to enterprise developers. The company also announced that Dropbox for Business now has 100,000 customers.
Dropbox for Business launched in April 2013, meaning it has hit the new customer milestone in less than two years. While 300,000 apps already integrate with Dropbox, an enterprise API extends the Dropbox Platform to the corporate world.
Dropbox for Business is the company’s paid service, aimed at organizations that want administrative controls and auditing. Employees of said organizations, meanwhile, have the option to create separate cloud containers for their work and personal documents.
Dropbox for Business API
The debut of an API means business apps can get info about Dropbox for Business teams and team members. Developers get access to team-level functionality for enabling complex IT and business processes, while administrators can deploy and manage apps across their team. Apps can manage team members with endpoints to add, remove, and update Dropbox for Business teams thanks to new reports and audit log API endpoints.
Apps with team member file access permission can make Core API calls on behalf of any member of a Dropbox for Business team. In other words, developers can build apps that provide IT administrators with additional security and monitoring features.
Last but not least, two new types of webhook notifications will be available for Dropbox for Business apps. Apps can now receive per-user notifications of updates for all members of a Dropbox for Business team, similar to the existing webhook notifications, as well as notifications of changes to team membership (such as when a user is invited to a team, a member’s profile or permissions are updated, or a member is removed from a team).
Building a Dropbox for Business app
While enterprises themselves can of course build apps that leverage this new API for internal use, companies as well as individuals will naturally want to build apps that are used by more than just one organization. We talked to Dropbox about how this might work.
Ilya Fushman, head of product for Dropbox for Business, told VentureBeat that anyone will be able to head to dropbox.com/developers, sign up for a test account, and get set up with a test app. The company doesn’t have an app store planned — instead, the Dropbox for Business website will be used for app discovery. Fushman said Dropbox will be working closely with various companies to bring these apps to different companies.
In fact, more than 20 partners are already prepping for launch. These include: Centrify, CirroSecure, CloudLock, Dell Data Protection, Domo, Elastica, General Audit Tool, IBM WebSphere Cast Iron, Guidance, Meldium, Microsoft Azure AD, Mover, nCrypted Cloud, Netskope, Nuix, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity, Skyhigh Networks, SkySync, Sookasa, and Splunk.
Dropbox is promising that these partner apps will support a wide range of IT processes and satisfy industry compliance standards, including:
- eDiscovery & legal hold: Enables secure search and the ability to collect and preserve electronically stored information (ESI) in Dropbox for Business accounts. Integrations with services such as Guidance and Nuix will make it possible for admins to respond to litigation, arbitration, and regulatory investigations while keeping relevant ESI in check.
- Data loss prevention (DLP): Protects sensitive data stored in Dropbox for Business accounts. Integrations with services including CirroSecure, CloudLock, Elastica, Netskope and Skyhigh Networks will provide admins with enterprise-class DLP, auditing and compliance functionality, and easy data management.
- Security information and event management (SIEM) & analytics: Allows Dropbox for Business admins to access and manage employee activity logs within the company’s central log management and analytics tools. Integrations such as Splunk, Domo, and General Audit Tool support monitoring and evaluation of Dropbox for Business activity — making IT’s existing controls even more powerful.
- Digital rights management (DRM): Provides third-party encryption for company data stored in
Dropbox for Business accounts. Integrations including Dell Data Protection, nCrypted Cloud, and
Sookasa will offer encryption and decryption functionality for customers in regulated industries.
- Identity management & single sign-on (SSO): Allows companies to keep their Dropbox for Business team authenticated with an external identity provider such as Active Directory. Integrations will be available through solutions like Centrify, Meldium, Microsoft Azure AD, Okta, OneLogin, and Ping Identity.
- Data migration and on-premises backup: Assists in transferring large amounts of data between locations and securing sensitive information with on-site data backup from services like Mover.io and SkySync.
- Custom workflows: Gives customers the tools to build in-house apps that integrate Dropbox into
their business processes. Several Dropbox for Business customers are already leveraging the
Dropbox Platform to enhance their internal workflows, and services such as IBM WebSphere
Cast Iron will make it even easier to drag-and-drop connections to dozens of other enterprise systems.
This is an impressive list, especially in time for an API launch, but we wanted to know what the process was for a single developer, rather than a company the size of Microsoft or IBM that Dropbox will naturally want to partner with. After all, reaching a potential 100,000 companies can be tempting.
Fushman explained that Dropbox’s partnership and sales teams will be doing legal as well as security reviews and then promoting apps on the Dropbox for Business website. In other words, you’ll be treated like everyone else — sans the big brand name, so you better have a great app that enterprises will want to use.
For more technical information, we’ve uploaded the Dropbox for Business API documentation. Interested parties will want to get a head start before the API shows up — we’re told it will happen Wednesday at the latest.
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