Integrate Dropbox into your Windows network with Active Directory

Dropbox isn't satisfied with being your favorite personal public cloud storage provider. It wants to be your favorite business integrated public cloud storage provide.

There may be better personal cloud storage services than Dropbox, but few are as popular. Dropbox wants more though. It wants Dropbox to be your first choice for business cloud storage as well .

Centrify now enables you to use your intranet's AD authentication and management tools on all your devices with Dropbox.

That's easy to say, but how do you do it? Every Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and its related Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offers you services and applications, but enterprises require their own identity and access controls.

Dropbox knows this as well as you do. So starting in April, Dropbox introduced the capability for single sign-on (SSO) support for its business customers. Dropbox could only provide one part of the SSO solution, it needed a partner to integrate its services with an enterprise's identify and authentication services.

That's where Centrify, a well-known unified identity services company comes in. Centrify has been enabling Windows system administrators to integrate users of other operating systems, such as Linux and Mac OS X, into Active Directory (AD) for years. Their new Centrify for Dropbox for Business service, aka Dropbox Single Sign-On, now adds AD integration into Dropbox cloud services.

Centrify describes the program as "an easy-to-deploy cloud service that offers the industry’s most comprehensive solution for AD-based SSO, access control and mobile management. Centrify eliminates password sprawl with Active Directory -based SSO for Dropbox for Business across users’ various choices of computing and mobile devices, while giving IT centralized control over access to hosted applications and resources."

With Centrify Cloud Service you can leverage your existing AD identity and authentication for Dropbox SSO. With it all your users—PC, tablet, and smartphone--can access not only their usual internal network resources but their corporate Dropbox services as well.

The company claims that a 5-minute install can securely connect Active Directory to Dropbox for Business via the Centrify Cloud Service without replicating sensitive data to the cloud or a third-party. At the same time, with Centrify SSO for Dropbox, organizations can leverage their existing Active Directory infrastructure and skill-sets to achieve benefits such as simplifying the sign-in process for users and reducing help-desk burden for IT.

"We’re excited to partner with Centrify to offer single sign-on and integration to Dropbox for business customers of all sizes across the world," said Ari Friedland, head of business development for Dropbox for Business in a statement. "We’re leveraging the SSO industry standard, SAML, and working with Centrify to let our customers leverage their Active Directory identities for seamless access to Dropbox, with one less password to remember and maintain."

Dropbox Single Sign-On is available today for Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) as well as AD-based user name and password logins from Centrify and authorized partners worldwide. For organizations using less than two Dropbox SaaS applications, the Centrify solution is available at no charge. For organizations utilizing Centrify for more than three SaaS apps, the Centrify solution is priced at $4 per user per month, which includes technical support and access to feature updates.

Personally, I've used Centrify software to integrate non-Windows systems into AD-based networks for years. It is reliable, works well, and is a boon for any Windows administrator trying to run a heterogeneous network. If you, like many others, are trying to find a way to integrate Dropbox services into you AD-based network you'd be well advised to give it a try.

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