Box is one of the oldest cloud storage systems available, starting its service in 2005. In fact, when Box started, the idea of cloud storage wasn’t well-known. Those using Box in the early days often focused on being able to backup files from a local hard drive with the Box cloud storage.
Now, cloud storage is a highly popular form of sharing files with others, of maintaining access to your files from anywhere and on any device, and of still creating always up-to-date backup copies of files in the cloud from your local hard drive.
Is Box cloud storage worth your investment? Here are some of the primary features you’ll receive with your Box cloud storage account.
What Is Box Cloud Storage?
With Box cloud storage, you store files security on Box’s remote servers (in the cloud) rather than or in addition to storing the files on your local hard drive. (Box also offers some aspects that don’t have anything to do with storage, but those features are not pertinent to the scope of this Box cloud storage review.)
Box is a type of cloud storage service that has many features aimed at business and enterprise users, although it offers tiers for individual users too. Here are some of the primary features you’ll receive with Box.
With Box, you will create a dedicated folder on your local hard drive. Place any files you want synched with your Box cloud storage account inside this folder, and Box will use your always-on Internet connection to constantly send updated copies of these files to the cloud storage area.
People often use this feature to maintain a backup copy of their most important files in the cloud, mirroring what’s found in the Box folder on the hard drive. Having a copy of your files away from your local hard drive protects your data if something happens to your computer or your physical location.
When you want to share access to files, you can use your Box cloud storage area to make the process easier than using email attachments.
Give people permission to access certain files in your Box cloud storage account, and they will be able to read them. With some files, you can provide permission to make editing changes or comments directly in the file too, depending on the app or software you used to create the file (such as Google word processing or spreadsheet apps, Microsoft 365 Office, or others).
If you do quite a bit of your work away from your office, using Box cloud storage is a smart idea. When you are out of the office, and you need access to a file on your desktop computer’s local hard drive, you can sign in to your Box cloud account with a mobile device, a laptop, or from a client’s desktop computer and access the file from your cloud storage area (as long as you remembered to sync the file with Box).
When you have a limited amount of storage space on your local hard drive, you have the option to have some files on your hard drive moved into your Box cloud account. This frees up space on your hard drive, while maintaining a copy in your Box account.
Should you need the file moved back to your hard drive again later, you have this option too.
Which Box Plans Come With Cloud Storage?
Box offers multiple plans for both individual users and business users that include cloud storage options.
With Box tiers aimed at individual users, you only need one person on the account. For Box tiers aimed at business users, you will need at least three users on the account, as Box calculates the fees for its business cloud storage tiers on a per user basis.
Here are the different tiers of the service that contain Box cloud storage capabilities.
The free tier of Box provides up to 10 GB of cloud storage. You will have a limit on the size of individual file transfers at 250 MB.
This tier provides only the most basic features, so it will not work well for those with high end storage needs or for business users. However, it is nice to find plenty of security features to keep your data protected in this tier, including two-factor authentication.
Personal Pro: $10 Per Month
Box aims the Personal Pro tier at individual users, giving them up to 100 GB of cloud storage for $10 per month. Users must adhere to the maximum file transfer size of 5 GB in this tier.
You will receive the same strong levels of security in this tier as with the free tier, including two-factor authentication.
Starter: $7 Per User Per Month
This business tier offers up to 100 GB of Box cloud storage per user. (To use this tier, you must have at least three user accounts linked.) The maximum size of a file transfer is 2 GB per file.
For the Starter tier, you can only have a maximum of 10 users accounts linked. However, Box provides a number of collaboration features for the 3 to 10 people tied to the account.
Business: $20 Per User Per Month
The Business tier offers an unlimited amount of cloud storage per user. You will need at least three users on the account, but you can have an unlimited number of users attached to the account.
File collaboration through the Box account can occur with any number of users in your organization. The maximum file upload size is 5 GB. The Business tier offers data loss protection, which is not available in the Starter tier, as well as a greater level of administrative control.
Business Plus: $33 Per User Per Month
The Business Plus tier also provides an unlimited amount of cloud storage in Box, and you can have anywhere between three and an unlimited number of users associated with the account.
Business Plus allows a maximum file transfer size of 15 GB. Its biggest advantage over the Business tier is the ability to directly integrate with multiple enterprise apps.
Enterprise: $47 Per User Per Month
As with the Business Plus tier, the Enterprise tier provides unlimited Box cloud storage to the users on your account. The Enterprise tier allows a maximum file upload size of 15 GB.
The Enterprise tier’s biggest advantage versus the Business Plus tier is that it offers HIPAA compliance and document watermarking.
Is Box Cloud Storage Secure and Safe?
Security is a priority for the Box service, as it offers an above average level of security features versus other cloud storage service providers.
Box starts by offering high end encryption processes for its cloud storage files. At the most basic level, Box will encrypt every file that goes through its cloud storage service with AES 256-bit encryption.
AES uses symmetric key encryption to convert the regular text that’s part of your files into a series of random characters, called cipher text. The AES 256-bit encryption uses a key that consists of 256 data bits to lock and unlock the cipher text. Hackers trying to use brute force to break a 256-bit encryption key will have a statistical probability of succeeding of almost zero percent.
For those Box users who would like end-to-end encryption for the files they’re passing from the hard drive to the cloud storage system, Box offers this feature as an add-on option.
With two-factor authentication required to access your files in the cloud, Box ensures that it is extremely difficult for someone to hack your account, even if that person has stolen your username and password.
With two-factor authentication, Box requires that you sign in with your username and password from a trusted device. The first time you use a new device with your Box account, Box will require that you authenticate the device, proving that it belongs to you and that Box can trust it with your cloud storage account.
If someone has your username and password, but this hacker does not have a trusted device linked to your account, he or she will not be able to complete the two-factor authentication process and will not be able to access your files.
Tracking Access to Your Account and Files
Box tracks each time you access your account. If you share files and folders in your Box account with others, giving them permission to open your files, Box tracks these entries too. Later, if you discover someone accessed a file, and that you did not provide permission, you can back trace exactly how that person gained access.
Box Vs. Other Cloud Storage Services
Here is how Box stacks up against some of the other major cloud storage service providers.
Box Vs. Google Drive/Google One
Both Google Drive and Box offer a free tier of cloud storage, but Google Drive gives users up to 15 GB of storage, while Box limits users to 10 GB. (When you begin paying for storage with Google, you’ll use Google One instead of Google Drive.)
The Box service offers tiers for both business groups and individual users, while Google Drive primarily focuses on allowing individuals to control their own files. Box focuses its file sharing features on what large business users need, while Google’s file sharing options work well for the individual who needs a greater level of control.
Both Box and Google Drive simplify the process of using the cloud storage to sync files from your hard drive into your cloud storage system.
Box Vs. Dropbox
Both Box and Dropbox offer multiple tiers for individuals or business users, although Box aims the majority of its features at enterprise users. Dropbox has a greater level of features and tiers aimed at individual users. Both services have unlimited storage amounts available in the upper tiers.
Both services are easy to use, allowing users to quickly sync their files from a local hard drive to the cloud storage area. Box delivers a higher level of security features than Dropbox, featuring two-factor authentication and high level encryption options.
For those seeking only free cloud storage, Box offers 10 GB of storage per account, while Dropbox limits its free storage offering to 2 GB.
Box V. Microsoft OneDrive
When comparing Box and Microsoft OneDrive, you’ll find that Box works better for enterprise users who have unlimited storage needs, while OneDrive gives individuals and small businesses a better collection of storage tiers.
For those who use the Microsoft 365 Office apps, OneDrive integrates closely with those apps, making it a good choice for many people.
Both Box and OneDrive simplify the process of synching your files between the local hard drive and the cloud storage area. However OneDrive has a few more advanced features for synching files versus Box, including the ability to download a file from cloud storage to the local hard drive only for the length of time someone works on it, before deleting it from the hard drive and moving it back to the cloud, which conserves hard drive space.
For those seeking only free cloud storage, Box provides up to 10 GB of storage, while OneDrive limits users to 5 GB. However, if you are someone who subscribes to Microsoft 365 Office apps, you automatically receive 1 TB of OneDrive storage with the price of the Microsoft 365 Office subscription service.