Dropbox for Business is only the start: next, work management and office apps

Dropbox, the file sync-and-share company, has announced a major redesign of Dropbox for Business, based on allowing the connection of personal and business Dropbox accounts. The founders, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski, announced it yesterday:

We introduced Dropbox for Business to help companies work smarter. And as more teams picked it up, we discovered a new challenge for businesses and users. On one hand, people wanted to access their personal stuff at work; meanwhile, IT admins wanted to keep company data separate and free of personal files. Both needs were real, but people had to choose between two Dropboxes.

We thought about this from scratch and designed a solution we’re excited to share: connecting your personal Dropbox to your Dropbox for Business account. This’ll give you a personal Dropbox and a work Dropbox on all of your devices so you’ll never have to choose between them. It’ll be like having your house keys and your work keycard on the same keychain.

This is a very clever approach since it allows a single login for the user, and provides beefed up controls in the hands of company IT to manage company files, along with an easy provisioning approach. The solution provides 256-bit AES encryption at rest and in transit, remote wiping of the corporate side of accounts, two-step verification (optional), privacy controls over team identities, serious certification and compliance levels, and six nines level of uptime.

The product is priced as $795 per year for up to five users, and $125 per additional user per year.

Here’s the two tab approach shown on the iPhone client:


This is certainly upping the ante for competitors like Box, Hightail, Intralinks, and Druva. (Note that Druva raised $25 million last month in a series C round.)

But the big news is revealed in a discussion between Dropbox execs and Liz Gannes at AllThingsD:

Liz Gannes, Dropbox Adds Enterprise Tools

Dropbox had to spend a year rebuilding its products to add the new enterprise-class controls the company unveiled today. “We’d been nervous,” Houston said. “If we clear off your computer, we might remote wipe all your baby photos.”

Yet, there’s more work to be done. The new version of Dropbox doesn’t include employee collaboration tools. And that feature will be essential for fully taking on Google and Microsoft in the productivity space. “We understand exactly what we have to build next,” said business product head Ilya Fushman.

Well, well, well. This is going to be interesting. Productivity doesn’t necessarily stop with editing Word docs, but also tools to support working socially, task management, curation, and potentially more in-depth solutions. My bet is that they are planning a work management toolset — or planning to buy one — as well as office-replacement apps.