Centrify Active Directory-based Single Sign-On (SS0) for Dropbox for Business Simplifies Federated Identity Deployment

By Peter Bernstein June 26, 2013

How to deal with authentication issues relating to the increasing popularity of enterprise use of third-party file sharing services like Dropbox has been an issue. Along with the challenges IT faces involving unauthorized BYOD access to Dropbox beyond the firewall for personal as well as professional use. There have been other issues associated with the industrial strength Dropbox for Business which has been tailored to help IT get better visibility and control over all that data on the fly.

Life got a little simpler for Dropbox for Business administrators, with the introduction by cloud-based unified identity management provider Centrify of its Active Directory-based single sign on (SSO) service Centrify for Dropbox for Business.   

Problem solved

As any IT professional will tell you, identity management has become nightmarish, and the proliferation of SaaS applications has only compounded things. The reason is that every SaaS app is another silo of identity and access control.  In fact, it is to obviate the complexity of this environment while providing both additional visibility and management capabilities that federated identity management is become such an important consideration for enterprises of all sizes.

The Centrify Cloud Service simplifies the deployment of federated identity for Dropbox SSO, leveraging Active Directory and providing a rich catalog of pre-integrated SaaS apps, and delivering “Zero Sign-On” for mobile users that require access to Dropbox.  This is a win/win not just for administrators who have better control and improved security, but for their users who can get to the apps they want without a lot of hassle. 

How does this work?

The answer comes in the form of a 5-minute install which securely connects Active Directory to Dropbox for Business via the Centrify Cloud Service. Importantly for IT professionals, it does so without replicating sensitive data to the cloud or a 3rd-party. 

Centrify is a preferred SSO and identity management partner for Dropbox, And, it is touting how Centrify SSO for Dropbox enables organizations to leverage their existing Active Directory infrastructure and skill sets to achieve benefits such as:

  • Simplifying the sign-in process for users with SSO, and thus helping eliminate “password sprawl” across users’ various computing and mobile devices
  • Reducing helpdesk burden for IT
  • Giving IT centralized control over access to hosted applications and resources

“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.  “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.”

“Working with such a popular service such as Dropbox demonstrates the power and traction of Centrify’s Active Directory-based SaaS security and single sign-on for accessing and authenticating to today’s leading business SaaS applications,” said Shreyas Sadalgi, Centrify Head of Business Development.  “Centrify is pleased to formalize its working relationship as a preferred SSO and identity management partner for Dropbox to provide a free and frictionless solution that ensures customers can plug Dropbox into businesses without the hassle of additional passwords.”

There is good news here for the increasingly mobile workforce and IT’s ability to keep on top of things again highlighting why this is a win/win. Users enroll mobile devices in the Centrify Cloud Service for easy one-click access to Dropbox for Business and all of their web apps, native mobile apps and SaaS apps.  IT gets detailed reporting on who has access to SaaS applications, and thus can quickly prove compliance with regulations and industry best practices.

It should also be noted that according to the companies, their partnership will go beyond browser SSO to give users mobile “Zero Sign-on” to the Dropbox mobile app. In addition it will include comprehensive sales and marketing collaboration. Plus, Centrify is also working with the leading containerization vendors to ensure secure, seamless access to content inside the containers.

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

The fact of the matter is that as a result of the increased use of third-party file sharing capabilities, especially as many enterprises have policies and rules regarding the types and size of files that can come across the corporate network, from a security perspective the issues surrounding such use by mobile devices got the moniker “The Dropbox Effect.” It is why Dropbox smartly came out with Dropbox for Business. Centrify by simplifying the user experience and enhancing the manageability and security is addressing a number of major concerns as well as demonstrating the power of federated identity and how to ease its deployment. Seems like that effect with make the other one much less of a concern.  

Edited by Ashley Caputo
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