Collaboration remains one of the primary selling points for cloud services, but the desktop metaphor used in cloud service interfaces in order to present lists of files hails from the era of personal computing.
On Wednesday, Dropbox turned the familiar folder from a personal storage container into a communal directory. The company introduced a team folder for Dropbox Business users as part of its AdminX initiative to rethink the Dropbox IT admin experience for teams.
"IT needs visibility and control over how company information is shared, ensuring that the right people have the right access to content," said Dropbox product manager Marcio von Muhlen in a blog post. "The new team folder delivers on both, centralizing file collaboration and providing the security businesses need."
The team folder includes more fine-grained sharing controls that allow administrators to set precise access levels for people inside and outside the organization. It also provides a single, unified view of content that makes sharing and policy settings more straightforward. The folder also includes sync management, which lets administrators specify what content gets synced to company computers.
Everett Plante, CIO and VP of IT at Silicon Labs, praised the utility of the team folder. "In less than a month, the Dropbox team folder has already transformed the way we collaborate across geographies -- internally and externally," he said in a statement.
The AdminX initiative has also brought interface improvements to the Dropbox Business admin console in the hope that better design will enhance productivity. What's more, file event logging has been expanded to include file additions, edits, and deletions. The result is more comprehensive audit logs.
IT admins may be pleased to see company-managed groups, which can be less problematic than individually managed groups when group permissions or membership has to be reorganized or transferred.
According to von Muhlen, Dropbox Business admins will soon have access to lightweight device management controls that will include the ability to set a limit on the number of devices that can be synced. These controls are intended to complement more comprehensive enterprise mobile management products employed by many organizations.
Dropbox says that the team folder is being rolled out gradually, starting Wednesday, and that administrators in the early access program can try it upon request.
(Cover image: Alexander Bedrin/iStockphoto)