From The Editor | November 19, 2013

Dropbox' Move Into The Enterprise: Your Worst Nightmare Or Killer Opportunity?

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Dropbox

One of the topics that came up during Jay McCall’s interview with Hilltop Consultants Founder and President Jim Turner was that Hilltop uses Dropbox for its clients, which to this point has been unusual for a VAR/MSP. When asked how and why Turner is using Dropbox to support business clients, here’s what he had to say:

"Within the past 6 to 8 months, Dropbox has been courting the channel intensely. We looked into their business offering and found it to be great for small businesses that just need storage and are already using hosted Exchange.

"We find more and more clients are looking for cloud storage solutions. Before working with Dropbox, we looked at some of the other popular cloud offerings, but discovered they didn’t offer channel programs, so we decided to give Dropbox a try. We’ve found them to be a fantastic partner. They offer responsive customer support if there are any syncing issues, and they also offer marketing and sales support, which further confirms their commitment to the channel.

"With Dropbox’ business cloud offering, you can have an on-premises file server configured to sync to the cloud, and it can be configured to sync with wireless devices or remote computers, too.  This offering is ideal for customers with small servers who can’t afford SonicWALL or Citrix solutions and services. What’s nice about using Dropbox is that many clients already have it installed on their smartphones and tablets and the business version of Dropbox allows resellers to manage all their clients from a single portal.  We’ve found Dropbox to be better at serving the needs of the channel than Microsoft, which currently lacks central billing and administration for Office 365. We don’t recommend putting financial information or healthcare records in it, but we’ve found it to be appropriate for storing just about every other type of data."

Quite the endoresement from an established MSP! Coincidentally, while I was at the recently held IT Nation 2013 in Orlando, I was surprised to find Dropbox as the Diamond (that is, the largest) sponsor of the event. “Courting the channel intensely” indeed! I spoke with Adam Nelson, head of Dropbox’ channel and he shared a few details about the company and its partner program worth mentioning here:

  • Dropbox has 200 million users and great brand recognition (i.e. easy to sell to end users)
  • Dropbox has partnerships with 100,000 developers (i.e. tons of integrations)
  • Dropbox resellers can expect 15% - 25% margins
  • Dropbox will soon be rolling out enterprise features like remote wiping of data and audit logs

While, in the past, MSPs sought to talk customers out of using Dropbox in place of more robust solutions, it seems that the company is poised to make a move into the enterprise realm. In fact, an article by Forbes claims that such a move is necessary if the company plans to hit the growth numbers investors have expected. While Dropbox is a long way off in matching the functionality of many enterprise backup solutions, what the service does, it does very well, and for some customers, that might be all you need.

 

"Dropbox and the Dropbox logo are trademarks of Dropbox, Inc."

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