File hosting service Dropbox has announced an expansion into the Australian market, with a Sydney-based office to service a handful of Australian clients expected to open imminently.
Dropbox enterprise strategy vice president Ross Piper revealed the company was currently scouring the city for appropriate real estate in which to host a "handful" of local and predominantly customer-facing staff.
The company counts financial services group Macquarie, enterprise software developer Atlassian and property group Mirvac among its local business customers.
Macquarie uses the company's 'Dropbox for business' service to host its marketing material, while Mirvac's retail team uses the same to distribute budgets, brochures, plans and fact sheets.
The company claims that four million business use the product worldwide.
Piper said Dropbox had no immediate plans to open a local data centre to host data within the Australian jurisdiction.
Dropbox stores user metadata in its own US data centres, and partners with Amazon Web Services to store files on Amazon's S3 service.
The announcement is the latest in the company’s push into the enterprise market, following the recent unveiling of its ‘Project Harmony’ Microsoft Office collaboration and editing tool.
Users of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word products will be able to edit and sync documents at the same time as other editors when Project Harmony arrives later this year. The feature also allows in-document instant messaging between authors, akin to Google Docs.
The tool will be compatible for users on different operating systems and versions of Office and Dropbox. It will initially only work across the three Office products but has been developed to work with any software application.
Dropbox claims that its business-grade service gives individual users the ability to separate personal files from corporate data. IT admins are able to to view and monitor the activity of all users on the account, and are able to delete files from a user’s device if it was stolen or lost.
In the US, the company has faced criticism over the appointment of former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to its board. Rice has previously served on the board of HP.
A user group has been set up to convince fellow users to “drop Dropbox” in the wake of Rice’s appointment, outlining four objections to the decision. Chief among them is Rice's public comments in support of warrantless wiretapping by security agencies.