Box.com Full Review

Box.com, or Box.net as it was formally known, is one of the leading cloud storage solutions around. Proving this are two WebWare 100 Awards (2007 and 2008) and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal’s Emerging Tech award in Cloud Computing. In addition, the service has partnered with different known brands, such as Pandora Radio, MTV and Panasonic. Question is: what does it have in store for you? Read on to find out.

A Quick Overview of Box

Since 2005, Box has provided content sharing services to over 200 million individuals, businesses and Fortune 500 companies. One of the aspects that make it attractive is how it works. Once you sign up for the service and you set your account details, simply upload your files to the secure space. To share these, send their links to your friends, family, employees and business associates. Now you can choose the free service, but it will be a better idea for you to choose the 14-day free trial to gauge its full capacity.

Variations of Box and Their Features

Box doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all paradigm. This is why it offers three different versions for its main users.

Version #1) Box for Personal Users

This version allows you to store your files online and then access them anytime, anywhere. Simply upload your files to your 10 GB space and sort them into folders like you would on your desktop. You can share documents through links or invite others to view and edit the contents of a whole folder of files. These aside, you can avail these features:

  • SSL and At Rest Encryption and Two-Factor authentication for enhanced security
  • Rich file preview and office integration
  • File collaboration features and real-time notifications
  • Access through Android, BlackBerry, iOS, WebOS and Windows Phone devices
  • Access to OneCloud Apps, a collection of mobiles apps that integrate with Box to make your work easier

Version #2) Box for Business Users

Box for business users is an alternative for FTP. It allows them to get the best of that technology while eliminating FTP productivity drain. Simply upload the files, organize them into folders and share links or set permissions. In addition to the same features of personal use, you will get the following for business use:

  • Project collaboration feature to invite others, post comments and assign tasks
  • Virtual Data Room capabilities for sharing critical information securely and easily
  • A sales portal that accelerates the sales cycle and helps close deals faster
  • Access permission capabilities like file locking and auto-expiration
  • Audit logs, mobile security control, and admin roles features for better security and management
  • One integration with Active Directory and Single Sign On (SSO)

Version #3) Box for Enterprise Users and IT

Relatively similar to Box for business users, the enterpriser version allows you to consolidate all your content services into one platform. It will replace any file-sharing and sync tool, allow your system administration and reporting to become further streamlines, and eliminate the excessive need for IT resource requirements. These are possible through all the features of its counterparts along with:

  • Granular file and user statistics
  • Security reporting
  • Custom branding and terms of service files
  • Unlimited integration
  • Three internal apps which can be integrated with Box Content API

The Strengths of Box

Box is one of the strongest cloud storage solutions around and the following pros prove this.

  • Ease of CollaborationBox allows easy collaboration and circulates real-time notifications of each change. This is an especially important trait for teams working on a single project.
  • Advanced Admin Features – Unlike most cloud storage solutions, Box provides you with admin features like statistics and tracking. That way you can replace your conventional FTP and boost your overall productivity.
  • Double Security – Aside from allowing you to determine the roles of people accessing your documents, Box provides password-protected sharing to ensure that prying eyes don’t get the chance to pee into your documents.
  • Value for Money – For personal use, the free version offers excellent value. Not only do you get 10 GB of secure storage, but you can expand it to 100 GB by paying $10 a month. Choosing a paid version of the personal kit also increases your file size limit from 250 MB to 5 GB. As for businesses, for $15 per user, you get a 1,000 GB storage limit and 5 GB file size limit. This is definitely a great value with all the features of this package.
  • Customizable Enterprise Solutions – Again, Box defines the one-size-fits-all paradigm and offers customizable solutions for enterprises. As a result, you can choose what you want and plan for future increments when possible.

The Cloud Storage Solution’s Weaknesses

Despite the advantages of Box, there are a few things which its developers need to sort out to make it THE cloud storage solution for all.

  • Complex Use – Box isn’t for users who have never used cloud storage solutions before. It can get complex due to the numerous apps you add to it. Therefore, you may want to either reduce your box’s efficiency with fewer apps or choose something simpler for your first time.
  • Backup Constraints – As the service is web-based, you won’t be able to back up your computer files. You need to spend time on uploading files before you can use them.
  • Lack of Support – Box developers believe that their solution is so simple that they haven’t taken care of their customer support aspect. Despite offering a phone number, contact form and FAQ page, the service would have been better with a chat feature.

The Future of Box

Box is currently developing more apps to make its cloud storage solution better and stronger. One of its latest announcements revolved around a digital document creator and editor by the name Box Notes. Collaborating with the minds behind Google Docs and Microsoft Office, Box has a good chance at offering a robust and highly efficient solution.

CEO Aaron Levie also added that he and his team plan to offer a solution that doesn’t decrypt user data, making their data safer and NSA proof. This way, even when the National Security Agency requests data, Box won’t be able to provide it.

The Verdict

Box is definitely a good cloud storage tool for personal and commercial use. However, consider something a little easier if this is your first time in the cloud.

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