Can Dropbox win the battle for IT and end-user harmony?

When Netflix embarked on its goal to pivot from the world’s best known DVD and streaming provider to original content provider they offered a money quote of all money quotes – a simple phrase that summed up its ambitions and challenges in a nice neat sound byte: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” software as a service

It is the first thing I thought of when reading this week’s news from Dropbox about their latest updates to the business offering. Dropbox may be among the best personifications of today’s shifting IT landscape and latest aspect of BYO trend, BYOA.

Today, the consumerization of IT is being pushed by a younger, more mobile workforce who are less inclined to draw a line between corporate and personal technology. Employees have good technology at home and they expect to be able to use it at work too. Consumerized services like Dropbox have quickly won over users – 200 million if you take the VC darlings report at face value. Consequently, IT departments are faced with deciding how to protect their networks and manage technology that they perhaps did not procure or provision.

According to what one Gartner analyst described to us as “at least 70+ contenders are looking to capitalize on IT fears by offering an enterprise – i.e. safe, IT friendly, secure, controlled – version of cloud file sync and share,” it’s a tough market for a company to differentiate itself in.  If you paid close enough attention, you’d notice that Dropbox was not on this list.

The problem for those vendors and for IT professionals is that users continue to bring in services like Dropbox in droves, and frankly they do not care what IT thinks. Users are not just looking for a “cloud storage solution”, they want one that is easy to use, addresses their work and life needs, and, most importantly, that is emotive.

To react, the “enterprise guys” talk a big game about winning over users too (see Box and their freemium offering). Trust us, Mr. IT guy, your users will love to use us.  Meanwhile the “consumer guys” are busy building out IT friendly features.

This sets up a battle for hearts and minds that, frankly, feel and think from completely different perspectives. Thus far, there are no clear winners – users bring in what they want while IT buys solutions they hope will stem the tide.

The question becomes, to paraphrase Netflix, “Can Dropbox become Box before Box becomes them?” 

Read more in the IT Guru category

(Image source)

         

Officially Out of the Box: Cubby now generally available for your biz

Well, you did it. The Cubby beta attracted more users than any other in our company’s history. Over the past week we proudly peeled-back the “beta” label off our logo. Cubby is now official.

Over the past several months, we have read every comment and considered your input greatly. You told us where the bugs were (we squashed ‘em), you told us what you love (thanks!) and you told us how we can be better (we needed that). Many of you have been with us since April. And already, we’re hearing from consumers, professionals, teams and even entire businesses all over the world that they are adopting Cubby.

The great thing about Cubby is that it’s new and there’s still time to shape its future. So, whether you have a question or idea, we welcome you to visit us at help.cubby.com. The conversation, the innovation and the excitement continues.

Enjoy the now generally available, business version of Cubby.

The Cubby Team

         

Introducing: Cubby Locks, switches, icons and more

This week’s Cubby update introduces a major security feature along with some significant UI enhancements. We think– no, we know– you’ll love this update.

This week, start taking advantage of:

Cubby Locks: Your data in Cubby is secure even without Cubby Locks. But sometimes you want an extra level of protection for your sensitive documents and files. By activating the all-new Cubby Locks feature, you’re now able to place an additional lock on any cubby, requiring your account password to use it or share it.

Once you activate Cubby Locks for your account you’ll be able to lock any of your cubbies. All you’ll need is your account password to access, modify or share it.

lock1

When you lock a cubby, we provide a special code called a Recovery Key. Should you forget your password, you must provide the Recovery Key to regain access to your locked cubbies.

lock3

To get started, access your Advanced Settings from cubby.com, take the tour, and click “activate.”  Once you’re activated, head back to your cubbies and choose which ones you’d like to lock. Ahh, security.

Cloud On/Off Switching:  Saving space in the cloud by enabling DirectSync™ is now easier with the addition of a new “Cloud On/Off” switch found directly within the desktop app. Switching the cloud “on” enables sharing, links and gives you access from anywhere, including your iOS and Android devices. Switching the cloud “off” allows you to then sync to another computer to save valuable cloud space.

cloud on-off

One-click access to Cubby content: Whether your files live in the cloud or are synced locally to your computer, you can now get them with just a click. Simply click on any of your cubbies from the app. If it’s not synced to your computer, we’ll bring you right to its location at cubby.com (sign-in if you need to). If that cubby is already synced, we’ll send you right to the file’s location on your computer. Easy, peezy.

open3

New iconography: We don’t advise you judge a book by its cover, but if you decide to judge a Cubby by its icon… well, that’s probably a good idea.  Now, at a glance, you can tell which folders are being shared privately, publicly, in the cloud or when you’ve reached your GB limit.

In the example below:

  • Event Planning is being shared privately
  • Expense Reports stopped syncing (no additional cloud space is available)
  • Family Vacation is not synced to the cloud
  • Schedules is a Locked Cubby
  • Weekly Brainstorms is being shared publicly

icons4

 

Cubby owners:  Not the owner of a Cubby, but forget who is? Now easily ID the owner of shared Cubbies directly within the UI. Pro Tip: If you need to set your name for Cubby, simply access your Account Settings on cubby.com.

owner

 Whew. That was a lot to share. What do you think? We’re dying to know and would love to hear from you below or on Facebook.

         

Update: WebDav and archive control

This week we’ve unleashed another update into the wild which gives you greater accessibility of your content and more control over what you’re storing in Cubby.

The first is the introduction of WebDAV support. This means your cloud-enabled cubbies are now available via a Cubby WebDAV server so you can get to them from any WebDAV compatible device or application. Now your other favorite apps– like Pages, Keynote, Numbers and LogMeIn– can harness the power of Cubby and bring your docs right into your application. For WebDav login information visit https://webdav.cubby.com.

The second update enhances how you handle file versions. As you already know, each time a change is made to a file in your cubby, that revision is saved in the file’s archive. In this week’s update, you can now manually delete archived versions for files, folders and cubbies. The more archives you delete, the more space you get back.

WebDav users, what’s your integration plan? And version aficionados, to delete or not to delete?

         

Introducing Cubby

Welcome to Cubby. To start you off on the path to Cubby enlightenment, here’s a few words from our CTO, Marton Anka:

On April 12 we announced Cubby, our latest product, and it was overwhelmingly well received. I thought I’d take a few minutes and explain what goals we had with creating the product and why we think it’s better than the competition.

Cubby is as simple or as flexible as you want it to be. It’s designed to suit your style, not some arbitrary requirements of the software. Simply put, it works the way you work, not the way we want you to. 

You start off with a single cubby. You put stuff into it and it appears on all your devices as well as in the cloud at cubby.com. If that works for you and you don’t need more complexity, that’s fine. You can also create one or more new cubbies and select where their contents appear. With Cubby, you gain fine control over what goes where. For example, you can have your work docs on your office desktop and laptop, your photos on your laptop and your home computer, and so on. Cloud syncing is optional, so you can set a cubby to sync peer-to-peer between your computers when you don’t need web-based or mobile access to a cubby. With peer-to-peer syncing, cubby content doesn’t count against your cloud storage quota.

Cubby is versatile. To share files with somebody, simply send them an URL that provides read-only access a particular file or folder in one of your cubbies. To collaborate with someone, simply invite them to share a cubby with you, and then that particular cubby will update its contents on the devices of your choice as well as the devices of their choice in real time as changes are made.

Cubby is a safety net. For cubbies that sync with cubby.com, we retain deleted files and previous versions of stuff you overwrite. This is automatic and doesn’t count against your quota; it simply uses whatever free space you have with us on cubby.com. If you start to run out of unused space, the oldest versions of your files are eventually thrown away, but you can easily check how your storage is used and how much space you have for storing old files.

Cubby is secure. Every cubby has its own encryption key that’s further encrypted by your password. When you log in to cubby.com and choose high security mode we use your password to temporarily decrypt your cubby keys so we can show you what you store with us, but when you’re not accessing the website we simply don’t have your encryption keys in a usable form. Your computers with Cubby installed do have a copy of these keys so they’re able to sync information back and forth without your intervention. The only downside to high security mode is that if you forget your cubby.com password and have to reset it without the recovery key that we give you when high security mode is enabled, you lose access to the  stuff that’s in cloud storage. Granted, it will re-sync from your computers as soon as they’re online but still, it’s a hassle so this mode will not be enabled by default.

NOTE: While the underlying high security functionality has been implemented (including per-cubby encryption keys) the high security mode will only be publicly available some time later in the beta.

Cubby is smart. It’s powerful and it’s certainly very easy to use, and under the hood there’s a lot of innovation. One of the coolest things is how your computers running Cubby communicate with each other: every computer is assigned an identifier, part of which is the computer’s public IP address. These identifiers are first sorted and then made to form the points around a simple circle graph. Computers will only connect to their immediate neighbor in the graph, and information will flow only between a particular computer and its two neighbors. Why should you or your ISP care about this? Well, this minimizes Internet traffic and makes Cubby replicate files very quickly. Computers on the same network will have the same public IP address which means they will be neighbors on the graph, talking with each other on the LAN without having to involve your ISP. Computers on the same ISP are likely to have similar IP addresses , so they will be neighbors in the Cubby graph, thereby minimizing inter-ISP traffic; again, making things smoother and faster.

We built Cubby from the ground up because we wanted to create a better experience that’s flexible, secure and super easy to use.  The underlying technology took us a long time to develop but,  we think it’s been worth it. Hope you’ll agree.

You can apply on the Cubby website to be part of the closed beta and chances are you won’t have to wait very long. While the line isn’t short by any standards we are letting in thousands of new users every day.

www.cubby.com

– Marton

         

Introducing Cubby

Last week we announced Cubby, our latest product, and it was overwhelmingly well received. We will be starting an official Cubby blog soon, but until then Cubby-related content will cybersquat here on b.logme.in. In order to break the silence I thought I’d take a few minutes and explain what goals we had with creating the product and why we think it’s better than the competition.

Cubby is as simple or as flexible as you want it to be. It’s designed to suit your style, not some arbitrary requirements of the software. Simply put, it works the way you work, not the way we want you to. 

You start off with a single cubby. You put stuff into it and it appears on all your devices as well as in the cloud at cubby.com. If that works for you and you don’t need more complexity, that’s fine. You can also create one or more new cubbies and select where their contents appear. With Cubby, you gain fine control over what goes where. For example, you can have your work docs on your office desktop and laptop, your photos on your laptop and your home computer, and so on. Cloud syncing is optional, so you can set a cubby to sync peer-to-peer between your computers when you don’t need web-based or mobile access to a cubby. With peer-to-peer syncing, cubby content doesn’t count against your cloud storage quota.

Cubby is versatile. To share files with somebody, simply send them an URL that provides read-only access a particular file or folder in one of your cubbies. To collaborate with someone, simply invite them to share a cubby with you, and then that particular cubby will update its contents on the devices of your choice as well as the devices of their choice in real time as changes are made.

Cubby is a safety net. For cubbies that sync with cubby.com, we retain deleted files and previous versions of stuff you overwrite. This is automatic and doesn’t count against your quota; it simply uses whatever free space you have with us on cubby.com. If you start to run out of unused space, the oldest versions of your files are eventually thrown away, but you can easily check how your storage is used and how much space you have for storing old files.

Cubby is secure. Every cubby has its own encryption key that’s further encrypted by your password. When you log in to cubby.com and choose high security mode we use your password to temporarily decrypt your cubby keys so we can show you what you store with us, but when you’re not accessing the website we simply don’t have your encryption keys in a usable form. Your computers with Cubby installed do have a copy of these keys so they’re able to sync information back and forth without your intervention. The only downside to high security mode is that if you forget your cubby.com password and have to reset it without the recovery key that we give you when high security mode is enabled, you lose access to the  stuff that’s in cloud storage. Granted, it will re-sync from your computers as soon as they’re online but still, it’s a hassle so this mode will not be enabled by default.

NOTE: While the underlying high security functionality has been implemented (including per-cubby encryption keys) the high security mode will only be publicly available some time later in the beta.

Cubby is smart. It’s powerful and it’s certainly very easy to use, and under the hood there’s a lot of innovation. One of the coolest things is how your computers running Cubby communicate with each other: every computer is assigned an identifier, part of which is the computer’s public IP address. These identifiers are first sorted and then made to form the points around a simple circle graph. Computers will only connect to their immediate neighbor in the graph, and information will flow only between a particular computer and its two neighbors. Why should you or your ISP care about this? Well, this minimizes Internet traffic and makes Cubby replicate files very quickly. Computers on the same network will have the same public IP address which means they will be neighbors on the graph, talking with each other on the LAN without having to involve your ISP. Computers on the same ISP are likely to have similar IP addresses , so they will be neighbors in the Cubby graph, thereby minimizing inter-ISP traffic; again, making things smoother and faster.

We built Cubby from the ground up because we wanted to create a better experience that’s flexible, secure and super easy to use.  The underlying technology took us a long time to develop but,  we think it’s been worth it. Hope you’ll agree.

You can apply on the Cubby website to be part of the closed beta and chances are you won’t have to wait very long. While the line isn’t short by any standards we are letting in thousands of new users every day.

www.cubby.com

-Marton Anka (CTO, LogMeIn)