Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dropbox Drops into Dublin



US-based Dropbox, a five-year-old cloud storage company, has recently announced the establishment of its first facility outside of the U.S. The facility is destined for Dublin, Ireland alongside other technology companies including Google, Apple, FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Dropbox specialises in cloud storage, file synchronisation, and other commercial IT services sold to small-scale and enterprise clients around the world. Even before the decision to locate a new facility in Dublin, Dropbox noted approximately one-third of their 100 million customers are in Europe. By concentrating on technical support and sales in Ireland they plan to increase their European customer base even further.

It has been suggested the company chose Dublin because of its business-friendly climate. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenney seemed to agree with that assessment and wasted no time in reminding the technology world about this country's commitment to becoming the digital technology hub of Europe.

As for the official Dropbox explanation, they chose Dublin for other reasons. Head of business development Mitra Lohrasbpour told The Guardian his company's decision was based on Dublin's rich supply of workers with both technical and multi-language skills. He said the country’s labour force provides workers that are hard to find elsewhere.

Once the facility is fully operational the company is expected to add between 30 and 40 new datacentres by the end of next year. The company has already started recruiting efforts to locate the best workers and entice them to get on board. They will be competing with their technology neighbours, no doubt.

Since 2007 Dropbox has been leading the way in cloud storage solutions. Earlier this year they rolled out a new service allowing non-members access to files through a custom generated link. The service increased usability among Dropbox members by making it easier for them to share files. It's that sort of thinking that continues to propel the company forward.

Data Security

The one unknown in this whole thing is the question of data security. Some industry analysts speculate Dropbox chose Dublin in order to further its compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive. That directive requires any data flowing from EU countries to international destinations to comply with certain security standards.

By the same token, Dropbox is an American company. Twice in the last year the U.S. government has asserted its position that it has the right to regulate data security among all American companies regardless of where their facilities are located or where their data goes. Despite the fact that the assertions met with international criticism the U.S. has not backed down. It will be interesting to see how much control both governments attempt to exercise over Dropbox in Ireland.

For Dropbox customers it's not likely to make much difference. They will have greater access to cloud storage and synchronization services in Europe through a company with a proven track record. And as Dropbox continues to expand its market share at the enterprise level those customers will find themselves part of an ever-growing customer base. That's all good.

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