Why Enterprise IT is not a Fan of the Growth of Dropbox

In this article by Om Malik, we learn some very interesting statistics about Dropbox:

  • A billion files saved every 24 hours.
  • It has 100 million users, twice as many as a year ago.
  • Nearly 96 percent of its customers use Dropbox for free.
  • About $500 million in revenues.
  • Almost 250 employees.  It started the year with 90 employees.
  • A year ago, when its revenues were $250 million, it was valued by private investors at over $4 billion. The company has attracted quite a few celebrity investors.  Today its value is rumored to be much higher.

I’m a big Dropbox user.  It’s retail-oriented and a very useful storage-as-a-service that provides file synchronization between devices, as well as remote file storage and versioning.  Indeed, it’s so useful that many in enterprises are using Dropbox for file sharing, no matter if IT likes it or not.

This has led to an “us versus them” kind of conflict, as those in enterprise IT move to stop the use of Dropbox (or other similar services), citing security concerns.  However, those who need file sharing ignore the directives from IT.  So, who should win?

IT is fooling themselves if they think that services such as Dropbox will somehow be successfully eliminated.  If there is a problem and the solution is available, people will find and leverage the right technology to solve the problem.  The Internet has empowered users to obtain whatever they need, when they need it.

Enterprise IT needs to take a chill pill.  While there is no perfectly secure solution, Dropbox is no more unsecure than hauling around files on a USB drive or e-mailing them to your home computer.  So, they need to stop pushing back on these types of cloud computing services and perhaps take the lead on finding and validating solutions for their users.  Call me crazy.

As retail clouds become more pervasive, count on these types of issues to continue.  IT needs to set the direction here, not find ways to keep things from working.