Protect your Dropbox environment - Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (2024)

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As a cloud file storage and collaboration tool, Dropbox enables your users to share their documents across your organization and partners in a streamlined and efficient way. Using Dropbox may expose your sensitive data not only internally, but also to external collaborators, or even worse make it publicly available via a shared link. Such incidents can be caused by malicious actors, or by unaware employees.

Connecting Dropbox to Defender for Cloud Apps gives you improved insights into your users' activities, provide threat detection using machine learning based anomaly detections, information protection detections such as detecting external information sharing, and enabling automated remediation controls.


Dropbox have made changes to the way that shared folders are stored. The scan will be updated in due course to include these Teams Spaces.

Main threats

  • Compromised accounts and insider threats
  • Data leakage
  • Insufficient security awareness
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Unmanaged bring your own device (BYOD)

How Defender for Cloud Apps helps to protect your environment

  • Detect cloud threats, compromised accounts, and malicious insiders
  • Discover, classify, label, and protect regulated and sensitive data stored in the cloud
  • Enforce DLP and compliance policies for data stored in the cloud
  • Limit exposure of shared data and enforce collaboration policies
  • Use the audit trail of activities for forensic investigations

Control Dropbox with built-in policies and policy templates

You can use the following built-in policy templates to detect and notify you about potential threats:

Built-in anomaly detection policyActivity from anonymous IP addresses
Activity from infrequent country
Activity from suspicious IP addresses
Impossible travel
Activity performed by terminated user (requires Microsoft Entra ID as IdP)
Malware detection
Multiple failed login attempts
Ransomware detection
Unusual file deletion activities
Unusual file share activities
Unusual multiple file download activities
Activity policy templateLogon from a risky IP address
Mass download by a single user
Potential ransomware activity
File policy templateDetect a file shared with an unauthorized domain
Detect a file shared with personal email addresses
Detect files with PII/PCI/PHI

For more information about creating policies, see Create a policy.

Automate governance controls

In addition to monitoring for potential threats, you can apply and automate the following Dropbox governance actions to remediate detected threats:

Data governance- Remove direct shared link
- Send DLP violation digest to file owners
- Trash file
User governance- Notify user on alert (via Microsoft Entra ID)
- Require user to sign in again (via Microsoft Entra ID)
- Suspend user (via Microsoft Entra ID)

For more information about remediating threats from apps, see Governing connected apps.

Protect Dropbox in real time

Review our best practices for securing and collaborating with external users and blocking and protecting the download of sensitive data to unmanaged or risky devices.

SaaS security posture management

Connect Dropbox to automatically get security posture recommendations for Dropbox in Microsoft Secure Score. In Secure Score, select Recommended actions and filter by Product = Dropbox. Dropbox supports security recommendations to Enable web session timeout for web users.

For more information, see:

  • Security posture management for SaaS apps
  • Microsoft Secure Score

Connect Dropbox to Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps

This section provides instructions for connecting Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps to your existing Dropbox account using the connector APIs. This connection gives you visibility into and control over Dropbox use. For information about how Defender for Cloud Apps protects Dropbox, see Protect Dropbox.

Because Dropbox enables access to files from shared links without signing in, Defender for Cloud Apps registers these users as Unauthenticated users. If you see unauthenticated Dropbox users, it may indicate users who aren't from your organization, or they might be recognized users from within your organization who didn't sign in.

To connect Dropbox to Defender for Cloud Apps

  1. In the Microsoft Defender Portal, select Settings. Then choose Cloud Apps. Under Connected apps, select App Connectors.

  2. In the App connectors page, select +Connect an app, followed by Dropbox.

    Protect your Dropbox environment - Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (1)

  3. In the next window, give the connector a name and select Next.

  4. In the Enter details window, enter the admin account email address.

  5. In the Follow the link window, select Connect Dropbox.

    The Dropbox sign in page opens. Enter your credentials to allow Defender for Cloud Apps access to your team's Dropbox instance.

  6. Dropbox asks you if you want to allow Defender for Cloud Apps access to your team information, activity log, and perform activities as a team member. To proceed, select Allow.

  7. Back in the Defender for Cloud Apps console, you should receive a message that Dropbox was successfully connected.

  8. In the Microsoft Defender Portal, select Settings. Then choose Cloud Apps. Under Connected apps, select App Connectors. Make sure the status of the connected App Connector is Connected.

After connecting DropBox, you'll receive events for seven days prior to connection.


Any Dropbox events for adding a file are displayed in Defender for Cloud Apps as Upload file to align to all other apps connected to Defender for Cloud Apps.

If you have any problems connecting the app, see Troubleshooting App Connectors.

Next steps

Control cloud apps with policies

If you run into any problems, we're here to help. To get assistance or support for your product issue, please open a support ticket.

Protect your Dropbox environment - Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (2024)
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