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Proact launches latest 'Dropbox for the enterprise'

New cloud storage service goes up against the likes of Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive

Storage integrator Proact has launched a new file-sharing and storage service called Probox - the latest offering claiming to be a "Dropbox for the enterprise," alongside the likes of Google Drive, VMware Octopus, Microsoft SkyDrive, Box and Huddle Sync.

The new cloud service enables business employees to share, access and sync all their work files securely, whenever and wherever they are and on any device. This removes the need for users to copy files to USBs or email documents to themselves, which are common causes of data breaches.

Mark Butcher, commercial director at Proact, said that business users want easy access to their company data, but few IT departments have been able to provide this service until now. Employees therefore end up using file-sharing services that lack sharing controls and contractual agreements.

"Probox has been designed with security at the forefront of its development, as opposed to being a bolt-on to the system. It therefore provides enterprise-class levels of availability, performance and security to even the most stringent businesses, ensuring their vital data is as safe and available as possible," he said.

Each employee gets 20GB of personal storage space, and files are synced automatically to the cloud. Only the intended recipient can open the files. Proact said that when a user accesses the service, their web browser and the data they transmit is protected by the same encryption methods used by major banks and government institutions.

Using Probox is also a lot faster that alternative ways of file sharing, because files are synced instantaneously, according to Butcher.

"It enhances the speed of a sent email, as users send information via links rather than attachments. This means it is now possible to quickly and simply send complete folders of files rather than simply sending multiple individual documents," he said.

Last month the Dropbox file-sharing service suffered a major setback in its efforts to move into the enterprise more forcefully, after being hit by a spam attack that stemmed from the breach of an employee's account.

Dropbox confirmed that a stolen employee password had led to the theft of a "project document" that contained user email addresses. With addresses in hand, the hacker then proceeded to spam European users of the cloud-storage service with ads for gambling websites.

Analysts agree that Dropbox still has a way to go before it is enterprise-ready. "Dropbox has had a checkered history with security, but perhaps this was the wakeup call they needed," said Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser for Sophos.

Despite the security risks, however, more employees in the future are expected to use services, mobile devices and other new technologies outside the control of IT departments.

Gartner predicts that in less than three years, 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures will occur outside of the corporate budget. As a result, many experts advise companies to abandon their command-and-control strategy and adopt a more cooperative tactic to deal with workers looking for the easiest way to get their jobs done.

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