Dropbox has announced a number of product updates aimed at its small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) customers, including a much-requested option for full-text search within documents.

Announced today, the update brings a number of new features to the platform for business users, including an option for setting passwords and/or an expiration date for shared links, which the company says further enhances the security for teams working on collaborative projects and frequently sharing documents.

This also works retrospectively if you update previously shared documents with an expiration date or password. The minimum period for expiration dates is one day (rather than being one hour, for example), but there’s no upper limit. Shared Link Expirations and Passwords 730x572 Dropbox for Business updated with password protected link sharing, expiration dates and more

Sticking with the collaboration theme, Dropbox for Business now allows users to set read-only permissions for certain files, allowing people to view but not edit them.

View only Permissions web 730x435 Dropbox for Business updated with password protected link sharing, expiration dates and more

The link sharing and permissions features are available in early access for Dropbox for Business users from today, but the company said that a number of other features would soon be available too – including that full-text search, which should make finding information and documents far easier.

Also on the horizon is early access to Project Harmony, its system for easing the process of collaborative and simultaneous document access, which was first announced and demoed back in April.

Rounding off the product updates are new developer APIs for shared folders and its recently improved document preview system, both of which should be available from today, the company said.

The updates, while seemingly simple, represent Dropbox’s continued push to expand its business user base beyond the SME sector and into fully-fledged enterprises. It currently has around 80,000 paying businesses on the books and a total of around 300 million users, 70 percent of which are outside the US, a spokesperson told TNW.

In the UK specifically, 57 percent of SMEs use Dropbox and the company has seen more than 100 percent growth in the last year alone.

As a result of this success, it’s now on the lookout for a new UK country manager to head up (and set up) a team that can focus on growing its business beyond SMEs. Johann Butting, Dropbox’s EMEA Sales and Operations chief told TNW:

“We see that over the last several quarters or longer, we’re starting to get some good traction in bigger corporations as well and now we think our Dublin operation can take care of smaller enterprises. To effectively work with us in increasing the amount of large customers, that is why we need a country office [in the UK].”

While today’s announcements and features are focused around Dropbox for Business users, there’s hope for some of the more useful options to trickle down to the consumer offering in the future,  Ilya Fushman, Dropbox’s head of Product, Business and Mobile, told us.

“We want to refine that experience [with our business customers] but as time goes on we are going to evaluate overall how to more broadly distribute these features across out platforms.”

➤ Coming soon to Dropbox for Business: New control and collaboration features [Dropbox blog]

Featured Image Credit – Ian Lamont/Flickr