Dropbox for Business opens API to drive integration

Australian division targets mining, government sectors

Dropbox has launched an open API for its business product as part of a plan to build a large ecosystem of business software integrations.

The Dropbox for Business API enables integrations with service including Guidance Software, Splunk, CloudLock and Dell Data Protection to address critical enterprise processes including eDiscovery, security information and event management, data loss prevention and digital rights management.

More than 300,000 apps already integrate with Dropbox, including Microsoft Office, Salesforce and DocuSign.

“With the Dropbox for Business API, we’re making it easy for developers to build apps that cater to these companies, and expanding the reach of Dropbox for Business for our enterprise customers,” said Ilya Fushman, head of product for Dropbox for Business.

One major partner at launch is Microsoft, which has integrated Dropbox into Office and Windows Azure. Dropbox and Microsoft announced the Office integration last month.

Microsoft offers a similar cloud storage service to Dropbox called OneDrive, but Dropbox officials told Computerworld Australia they are different enough to co-exist.

“It’s a very natural partnership, and while we do some things that are may be similar to some things they do, I think they’ve been a great partner…” said George O'Brien, product manager of Dropbox for Business. He noted that there are already about 35 billion Office documents stored on Dropbox.

Missing from the launch partnerships list is Google, which has been courting businesses away from Office 365 to its own Google Apps for Work.

“We have many customers who choose to use both Dropbox For Business for file syncing share and the Google Apps suite for mail” and other functions, he said. “We actually think that those are solutions that can play very well together.”

However, he acknowledged that integration between Gmail and Dropbox isn’t as tight as Gmail and Google Drive.

“We’re going to be an open platform,” and will integrate with any interested developer’s business service, he stressed. “We want to tack together the services that are most important to users.”

Dropbox will continue to add integrations with business tools, he said. The API is open and public, so anyone who wants to join the ecosystem can do so, he said. In addition, Dropbox has a dedicated team for driving partnerships with vendors, prioritised by customer demand, he said.

Dropbox pursues mining, government in Australia

Dropbox opened a Sydney office in April last year. It started with only about a dozen staff, but hopes to increase headcount to 50 during 2015, said Dropbox ANZ country manager, Charlie Wood.

Dropbox customers in Australia include Atlassian, Mirvac and Macquarie Bank. Globally, Dropbox for Business has 100,000 customers.

Wood said Dropbox has attracted many customers in the media and education sectors. It’s also winning new customers in the mining space and pursuing government agencies in the wake of the Australian Government’s cloud-first strategy, he said.

In October, the Australian government mandated a cloud-first policy for agencies. The updated cloud computing policy said government agencies must adopt cloud where it is "fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money" when obtaining new ICT services or replacing existing services.

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of the workloads in government” and “put the right solution together to look at the government panels,” he said.

Dropbox already meets many of the security requirements needed by government, including encryption, ISO compliance and two-factor authentication, he said. “It’s just a case of going through the certification process and for them, just to check back that we are right for all of these workloads.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Read more: Microsoft drops Dropbox into Office Mobile for Android

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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