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Dropbox today rolled out Groups functionality and a Groups API to all its Dropbox for Business customers. In short, the additions allow teams to create lists of members within Dropbox and then manage which folders and files they can access.
There are two main use cases for Groups: sharing work quickly with a whole team (as opposed to manually sharing one-by-one) and simplifying the onboarding of new members (adding a user to a group gives them access to everything shared so far). In short, Groups “gives businesses more control over how they manage information and collaborate internally,” Waseem Daher, Dropbox product manager focused on collaboration, told VentureBeat.
Daher said that Groups is the most-requested feature from Dropbox’s enterprise customers. The company actually first launched Groups (but not the Groups API) in November, but only to Dropbox for Business users in its early access program.
Over 12,000 companies opted in to try the feature, and while Daher said Dropbox received a “ton of great feedback” the main request was to add support for Microsoft’s Active Directory. That’s exactly where the Groups API comes in: It allows administrators to programmatically create and manage groups. It also means IT can keep Dropbox groups synced with Active Directory and lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) user data.
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The Groups API allows developers to integrate Dropbox for Business groups with their existing IT systems. A handful of identity management providers — including CloudLock, Netskope, Bitium, Elastica, OneLogin, Okta, Ping Identity, Centrify, Skyhigh, and Windows Azure — has already started using the API. In other words, chances are it will be easy for your company to move its Active Directory system groups right into Dropbox.
While many Dropbox for Business customers already use an identity management provider, the company is aware some do not. As such, Daher told VentureBeat that Dropbox will be releasing a turnkey Active Directory sync app “in the next few months” that will also leverage the API to provide the same functionality for managing teams in a scalable way.
All in all, Dropbox is trying to simplify team management. That’s no easy feat, but given that Dropbox for Business customers don’t have to pay anything extra for Groups, many are likely to give Groups a go.
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