Dropbox to unveil its Dropbox for Business API as lawyers rejoice

Dropbox will launch its Dropbox for Business API on Wednesday, allowing developers to create enterprise-oriented applications on top of Dropbox. The company also said that it now has 100,000 Dropbox for Business companies, which includes organizations like Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Spotify.

Unlike [company]Box[/company], which recently announced Box for Industries — a service that contains industry specific collaboration features on top of the core Box platform to suit the needs of different sectors like the healthcare or retail industries — [company]Dropbox[/company] is not retrofitting the Dropbox platform to accommodate clients. Instead, it’s allowing businesses to develop industry specific apps on top of its platform through the API.

“It extends the functionality of Dropbox for Business to developers in third parties,” said Ilya Fushman, head of product for Dropbox for Business.

Now organizations worried about legal compliance issues regarding the documents they share in Dropbox can basically create “a custom Dropbox for lawyers and not worry about the heavy lifting and data management we are doing in the background,” said Fushman.

Dropbox built the API a few months ago and gave early access to 20 partner organizations who created custom applications that customers will be able to use on Wednesday, said George O’Brien, product manager for Dropbox for Business.

For example, Splunk created a Dropbox for Business application based on the API that lets users see who is logging into an organization’s Dropbox accounts and from where, O’Brien said. Using this particular app, a business would be able to tell whether someone might be logging into Dropbox in a place where they might not have any employees, he said.

Splunk app for Dropbox

Splunk app for Dropbox

Security startup CloudLock will also have a Dropbox for Business application available that scans every single file an organization might store in Dropbox to make sure that those files adhere to internal IT policy; with the app, an IT admin can make sure certain files will not be able to be accessed outside of the company.

CloudLock Dropbox app

CloudLock Dropbox app

If for some reason a social security number ends up on a document in Dropbox that shouldn’t be there, the new app records that information so that IT staff can email the person who added the document and “see if there are compliance issues,” O’Brien said.

The new API shows that Dropbox is courting developers who want a way to modify Dropbox to suit the needs of their organizations. Still, it’s uncertain as to whether organizations want to devote developer time on customizing Dropbox as opposed to having a service that works right “out of the box,” so to speak.