Dropbox – Replace It or Embrace It?

Many IT Professionals have concerns about cloud based file sharing, and rightly so. Their valid concerns include lack of visibility, control, data leakage and governance.  Naturally Dropbox with its huge footprint has come under more scrutiny than most, but Dropbox is fighting back.

Firstly, they recently announced that they are free cash-flow positive. Whilst it’s taken many years to achieve, it is a game changer as other major cloud based systems such as Box still are reliant on round after round of funding. Secondly, I’ve seen firsthand the major shift Dropbox has made in the UK, placing a considerable amount of effort into developing their corporate customer base. dropbox-business-user-increase I previously took the position that any company using Dropbox for corporate file sharing was quite frankly bonkers. They would suffer from the lack of controls afforded by on-premise Managed File Transfer installations and potential data protection issues regarding where the data resided. However, Dropbox has made impressive progress and their Business and Enterprise offerings are compelling, when blended with some of the 300,000+ integrated solutions accessing Dropbox via it’s Rest API.

Loosing Company Data

My biggest concern was data leakage. How could the business ensure that sensitive company information wasn’t being shared without the necessary controls provided via DLP integration with in-house solutions? A quick search and 30 seconds later I’d found three DLP vendors providing Dropbox integration! What about antivirus? Another search and another positive result! And reporting? Plenty of options! OK, so now Dropbox is a potential solution for some of our customers where ease of use is paramount and IT currently have limited control.


With the recent changes to GDPR (see article here), data residency is now an even more prevalent issue. Where a company chooses to keep its data can be mandated by their customer contracts and compliance policy. Where strict controls are required or customers demand UK data residency, an on-premise or a private cloud installation is the safe bet. However, for those businesses keen to adopt and benefit from ‘Cloud’ offerings, GDPR presents a challenge.

The number of Dropbox Business customers in Europe has quadrupled in the last 2 years. Dropbox now have a data infrastructure in Europe via AWS, to give customers choice.

Gaining Visibility

There is little doubt that your end-users have adopted cloud solutions to fulfil their file sharing requirements. With hundreds available online, where do you start?

The first step is to gain visibility of what cloud solutions are being used, understanding which employees are accessing them and how much company data could potentially be in an unsanctioned tool.

Dropbox has hundreds of millions of registered users of their Free/Personal account offering. These were frequently created to facilitate file sharing of company data, and therefore created using company email addresses. dropbox_usage_inside_business_noborder As a Dropbox Partner we can help you get a much clearer view of the use of it within your organisation. If you would like more information on what company information you already have in Dropbox, drop us an email to [email protected] or call on 020 7118 9640.

Understanding Requirements

Your employees have needs that aren’t being fulfilled by company-sanctioned solutions, or maybe you just don’t have one. Either way you need to understand what the business needs in order to ensure the appropriate solution is provided. To help you ask the right questions of the business we’ve written an Expert’s Guide to Managed File Transfer.

When you know which employees are using unsanctioned tools and you’ve discussed with them what they need from a file sharing solution, you’re in a much stronger position to make an informed decision.

Replace It or Embrace It?

IT professionals will be driven to embrace or replace cloud-based technologies, depending upon the security and compliance posture adopted by their company.

Those that embrace Dropbox will benefit from an extremely simple-to-use solution, with an established user base and an increasingly feature rich solution. In my opinion, it should only be used by a business with the right integrated solutions to provide the visibility and control needed.

For those that choose to replace Dropbox to address compliance, data residency and integration, there are a wide range of solutions available. Many of the existing Managed File Transfer solutions provide person-to-person file sharing and some address synchronisation. These typically are modules that can be added to existing software installations.

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