Box is a cloud storage and file syncing service. It’s geared primarily toward business users, with powerful collaboration features for editing and sharing documents within organizations.
- Integrates with powerful enterprise apps, to enhance productivity
- Easy to use, even for the non-techie
- Access files from any device
- Edit files directly in the cloud
- File size limits
- Free account falls short of Dropbox and Google offerings
The Bottom Line
Box is perfect for businesses looking to save time and money with powerful cloud collaboration features.
Box Plans and Pricing
Box charges per user, rather than per GB like other cloud storage services. Each plan comes with a set number of GB, with the recommended Business plan charging $15/user (with a minimum of 3 users).
- 10GB storage
- 250MB file size limit
- No file version history
- 100GB storage
- 2GB file size limit
- 25 file versions
Business Plan (recommended)
- $15/user/month, 3 users minimum
- 1000GB storage
- 5GB file size limit
- 50 file versions
- Custom pricing
- Unlimited GB
- 5GB file size limit
- Any # of users
- 100 file versions
Working with Box
When you first log into Box, you’ll be greeted with a quick overview of the interface and how it all works.
When you create folders in Box, you can invite people to access them. There are several access types to choose from, including:
- Editor (full access)
Using these permissions, you can fine-tune exactly who has access, and what level of access they have.
Edit Documents in the Cloud
Box plays nice with other documents, including Microsoft Word and Google Docs. You can create and edit files in either of these formats right from the Box interface.
Box lets you send and receive tasks for others in your organization to complete. These tasks are managed from the built-in Box messaging system – no need to open your email client.
Box Apps – Work Smarter, Not Harder
If you’ve ever felt your cloud storage service was missing something, Box probably has an app for it.
At the time of this review, Box integrates with 788 apps to connect with other products and services. About half are free apps, while the other half are paid. This also includes 26 official Box apps.
The apps cover a wide range of functions, such as collaboration, security, and printing. Box has sorted the apps into categories for easy searching. I was impressed with the wide variety of apps, as there’s pretty much something for everyone.
Here are some of the more popular apps:
- Box for Android/iPhone – access your files on the go
- Box for Office – edit and share your Box files within Microsoft Office
- Box FTP Server – easily migrate all your files from FTP to your Box account
And some of the more specialized, niche apps:
- Salesforce – access all your Box content within Salesforce
- Boxcryptor – add an additional layer of encryption to your files
- ReMarkable – an app for teachers to mark and return papers to students
- 1st Call Record – record, store, and search through calls in your Box account
I tested a fairly common app: BoxEdit. It allows you to edit documents on your computer, and save them directly into Box. After downloading and installing the app, whenever I clicked the edit icon next to a text file, it opened the file in Notepad where I could make changes. When I saved the changes, Box automatically recognized the file had changed and offered to reload it – pretty neat.
Box features a powerful admin console to manage every aspect of your Box account and users:
- Company and branding (yourcompany.box.com)
- Add users manually or allow them to sign up on their own
- Storage limits for users
- Settings for shared links
- Permissions for files/folders
Those are just a sample of the available settings, but it gives you a pretty good idea of how customizable Box is for admins.
Backup and File Versioning
Box stores up to 25 versions of a file on the Starter plan, 50 versions of a file on the Business plan, and 100 versions of a file on the Enterprise plan.
Deleted files are moved to the Trash, where they can be restored up to 30 days. This number can be changed, or you can set Box to never remove files from the Trash. Deleted files count against your storage space, however. Box states files removed from the Trash can be further recovered after another 14 days.
Box is among the fastest cloud storage services I’ve ever reviewed. It completely maxed out my bandwidth when uploading and downloading files (8.2 Mbps and 31.2 Mbps, respectively). It remained at these speeds for the duration of the test. If you’re worried about your cloud service acting slow, Box shouldn’t cause any problems.
Box encrypts all file transfers using SSL, and provides 256-bit AES encryption at rest. For even more security, users can add additional layers of encryption via apps (such as Boxcryptor).
Box goes above and beyond what most cloud storage companies offer in terms of support. A contact phone number is given on the support page for customers to call 24/7. Tech support is also offered via a ticket system, and live chat is available 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. PST.
Box offers a series of free and paid online courses, to teach account admins how to get the most out of Box. These include a Q&A at the end of each session and range in price from $25 to $125. They’re certainly not required, but it’s nice to have the option of a live instructor available.
Box is extremely powerful, and supports a growing number of business apps. With these apps you can edit, share, and collaborate with others in your organization – on any device, anywhere in the world.
|Average Upload Speed||8.2 Mbps (8 Mbps connection)|
|Average Download Speed||31.2 Mbps (30 Mbps connection)|
|Free Online Storage||10 GB|
|Mobile Apps||Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows|
|Keep Deleted Files||30 Days|
|Back Up to Local Drive|
Sync and Share Features
|Public File Sharing|
|Data Center Location(s)||California (2 data centers), Las Vegas (1 data center)|