The Ultimate Manual To Box Admin Tools

As users within an organization use the Box cloud software, they generate usage data and patterns that help administrators understand how they’re using Box.

The Box Admin Console, which underwent a redesign a few years ago, and the Box admin tools give system administrators access to all of this data.

These tools deliver more than just data, though, simplifying the process of managing how the organization uses Box.

What Are Box Admin Tools Anyway?

The Box admin tools give administrators the ability to make administrative changes to the organization’s version of Box. Administrators can determine which of the tools are available to anyone designated as co-administrators.

Understand that many of these tools are part of the upper Business Plus and Enterprise pricing tiers of Box. They don’t appear in the lower-priced tiers. Even within the Enterprise tier, the company may have to purchase an add-on service to receive some of these tools.

Some of the Box administrative tools include:

  • Manage global settings for the company’s Box account
  • View insights about user activity in Box
  • View graphs about Box storage statistics
  • Manage log-in security settings
  • Manage user settings
  • Manage which apps users can access
  • Create groups of users
  • Lock or share particular content files
  • Manage content sharing inside and outside the organization
  • Create security parameters and rules
  • Configure how notifications from Box arrive
  • Configure Box Shield policies
  • Configure Box Governance to manage content security
  • Configure Box Relay to automate content processes
  • Configure Device Trust and Device Pinning settings

How Box Admin Tools Work

Access to the majority of the Box admin tools occurs through the Box Admin Console.

When a user is working in the console, the word “ADMIN” will appear to the right of the Box logo in the upper right corner of the screen, or “ADMIN CONSOLE” will appear underneath the Box logo.

The console displays all of the available groups of tools on the left section of the screen. When the admin clicks on a tool name, the information about the tool appears in the right section of the screen.

Someone signed in as a co-administrator may not see the same groups of tools as someone with administrative permissions. Additionally, the listed items on the left side will change, depending on the pricing tier to which the company subscribes.

The names of groups of tools listed on the left side of the screen may include:

  • Insights
  • Users & Groups
  • Content
  • Reports
  • Relay
  • Classification
  • Shield
  • Governance
  • Platform
  • Apps
  • Account & Billing
  • Enterprise Settings

Box Pricing

Box offers four different pricing subscription tiers for business users. Those who want more extensive administrative controls will need to subscribe to one of the two highest-priced tiers.

  • Starter: The Starter tier starts at $5 per user per month, but almost no administrative controls are available.
  • Business: The Business tier starts at $15 per user per month. It provides access to the Box Admin Console. Admins working in this tier can generate reports regarding user statistics and security performance in Box.
  • Business Plus: The Business Plus tier starts at $25 per user per month, and it includes all of the administrative tools found in the Business tier. This tier unlocks some advanced Box admin tools through the Box Admin Console. These include the ability to delegate administrative roles, the ability to track user actions, and visibility to content management.
  • Enterprise: The Enterprise tier starts at $35 per user per month, and it includes all of the administrative tools found in the Business Plus tier. All of the Box admin tools are available through this tier, although some features require an additional cost. Some of these features include Box Shield, Box Relay, and Box Governance. Enterprise tier subscribers can make use of Device Trust and can specify password policies for users too.

Subscribers to Box have multiple ways to use the Box admin tools, including through the examples that follow.

Example #1: Creating Reports

One Box admin tool that companies will use regularly is the ability to create reports. These reports deliver information about how users within the company are making use of their Box access.

Through these reports, administrators can understand data usage statistics. A generated report can deliver an audit trail to track down exactly what happened if any security issues arise.

Admins and co-admins can run filters on the data in the reports, such as only pulling data from a specific period of time.

Choosing a Report Template

In the Box Admin Console window, click on Reports on the left-hand side of the screen. Then click Create Report.

The Reports window will display multiple report templates available through the Box Admin Console. Some of the reports focus on the actions of a particular user, while others collect information about the enterprise-wide usage of specific files and folders.

Depending on the amount of data contained in a particular report, Box could require up to 24 hours to return the information. Simple reports may appear almost instantly.

Example #2: Viewing Quick Snapshots Through Insights

If the Reports function provides far too much information for what the administrator is seeking, Box admin tools has a feature called Insights. This feature produces simple graphs and charts that provide a quick look at statistics businesses commonly want to know about their Box usage.

Through Insights, admins can view things like how the team members are accessing Box, how much storage the team is using, and which integrations Box users are accessing most often. Administrators can gain an idea of whether Box usage is increasing or declining.

This quick information may be helpful for determining whether the company needs to increase its subscription tier in Box, for example.

Accessing Insights

To make use of the Insights Box admin tool, open the Box Admin Console. Click on Insights on the left side of the window. The admin then will see the graphs and charts available on the right side of the screen.

Some of these graphs will pre-populate with data from the organization, giving a quick view of certain information. With other graphs, once the admin clicks on it, the desired information will load into the chart.

Example #3: Managing Content

For those organizations subscribing to Box’s Business Plus or Enterprise tiers, Content Manager is available.

Through the Content Manager feature, admins or co-admins can access the files and folders the team members create and use. The admins do not have to log into the user’s account to download, preview, share, move, or delete the user’s files stored in Box.

Content Manager has a high-quality search function with multiple filters available, giving admins the ability to find a particular file, no matter who created it.

Box does not send the user an email message when an admin or co-admin accesses or changes the user’s files.

Accessing a User’s Files

To gain access to a particular user’s files through the Content Manager in the Box Admin Console, click on Content along the left side of the console screen.

The list of users with content stored in Box will appear to the right of the left-hand navigation pane. Navigate through the folder tree to find the user. Admins also can enter the user’s name in the search box toward the upper left corner of the screen.

After clicking on the user’s name, the user’s files will appear on the right side of the screen. The admins then can take the desired action on these files.

Example #4: Managing Apps

Box allows more than 1,500 apps to directly integrate with the software. These Box integrations create seamless communication between Box and the app. For the end-user, this simplifies using files stored in Box inside the integrated app.

The Box admin tools give admins the ability to manage which apps are usable enterprise-wide. For apps the company have customized for use with Box, the admins and co-admins can manage how team members will use these custom apps.

Commonly, admins will use this tool to disable or enable certain apps. Before taking this step, understand that Box designates some apps as official apps for Box. Admins should not disable these official apps. Disabling certain official apps could cause the Box mobile version to have significant performance problems.

Disabling Apps

From inside the Box Admin Console, click on Apps on the left side of the window. Then click the Box Apps & Integrations tab at the top of the window.

On the right side of the window, Box sorts apps into five categories, including:

  • Desktop
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Server
  • Mobile web and accessibility

After finding the third-party app to disable, click on it and then click Disabled.

Managing Custom Apps

For an admin who wants to make changes to custom apps the organization uses in Box, open the Apps window again. Then click on Custom Apps at the top of the window.

Admins can choose to enable a custom app, disable a custom app, or require admin approval to use a custom app.

Example #5: Managing Enterprise-Wide Security Settings

Admins and co-admins can use the Box Admin Console to set up and require certain security settings that all users in the organization must follow when using Box.

Only use this admin tool for making security changes that affect everyone in the organization when using Box. Making changes for individuals should occur through user settings.

Using Enterprise Settings

From the Box Admin Console, click on Enterprise Settings along the left side of the window. Depending on the subscription tier in use, multiple tabs will be available along the top for making enterprise-wide changes, including:

  • Setup
  • Security
  • Content & Sharing
  • Notifications
  • User Settings
  • Mobile
  • Device Trust

To access the security settings, click on Security. Admins then can make changes to a number of security settings for the organization that users will need to follow when using Box.

Managing Signup and Login

Admins can prevent users from changing their email addresses for logging into Box through this section. Admins also can request that they receive automatic notifications when certain user activities occur.

Requiring Two-Step Login Verification

Admins can require two-step authentication for login through this section. Users would enter a password as the first step. They’d then need to verify their identity through receiving and entering a passcode from an email address or a smartphone.

Setting Up Password Restrictions

Some of the password policies that admins can require for their Box users through this section include:

  • Requirements for password strengths
  • Rules for frequency of required password changes
  • Limitations on reusing previous passwords
  • Locking a user out after a certain number of failed login attempts
  • Session duration time limits

How to Get Started With Box Admin Tools

To help those looking to start using the Box Admin Console, we’ll discuss how to grant co-administrative permissions for the company’s Box account. This is a Box admin tool that many companies must use on a regular basis. Understanding this process should provide a starting point for administrators looking to learn how to use the overall console.

A co-admin is a team member who has a level of administrative privileges in Box just below that of an admin.

How Box Handles Admins and Co-Admins

Admins are able to use the Box admin tools to manage users, manage groups, edit files, view files, create organization-wide settings, and run reports. No one can edit the admin’s permissions. They’re built into Box.

Co-admins could receive the same permissions as the admin with one exception: Co-admins cannot edit other co-admin permissions. Only admins can edit the permissions of co-admins.

Box sets up the default permissions for co-admins as only managing users and groups. For co-admins to receive other privileges, admins must grant them to individual co-admins.

To set up and change the permissions for co-administrators, use the following steps.

Step 1: Open the Admin Console


Log in to the administrative account for Box for the organization.

Open the Box Admin Console. Click on the Users & Groups link along the left side of the screen.

Step 2: Select the User to Become a Co-Admin

With the various users and groups listed on the right-hand side of the window, click on the group containing the user who will receive co-admin privileges and then click on the user’s name. Or click directly on the user’s name if it appears in the window.

If the user or group is not yet in the Box system, the admin can create the group or user.

Step 3: Edit the User’s Permissions

With the user’s information visible in the right portion of the screen, the admin is ready to assign co-admin status and create the co-admin privileges in Box.

Open the Edit User Access Permissions section. The upper section of the permissions window will specify some of the most basic user permissions. Place a checkmark in the Co-Admin box to give the user co-admin privileges for Box.

In the lower half of the screen, the admin can further dial in the permissions for the co-admin. These choices consist of permissions that always belong to someone at the admin level in Box. But the admin must grant these permissions to the co-admin if desired.

Add a checkmark to the privileges the co-admin should receive. The permissions for Box available for co-admins can include:

  • Managing users (pre-selected by default)
  • Managing groups (pre-selected by default)
  • View user content
  • Edit user content
  • Log in to a user’s account
  • View company-wide settings and apps
  • Edit company-wide settings and apps
  • Run and access reports
  • View company-wide policies
  • Create, edit, and delete company-wide policies
  • View automation processes for the company
  • Create, edit, and delete automation processes for the company
  • Create and edit metadata templates for the company

After adding the permissions, click Save to confirm the changes. Admins can make changes to these permissions for the co-admins through the Box Admin Console at any time.