I thought I’d carry on the theme of the cloud from last week. In his fantastic interview for the Paperless Document Organization Guide, entrepreneur Kyle Durand mentioned that his team uses Box.net extensively, and part of the reason is because of the access controls that it provides.
I have heard lately that quite a few businesses are using Box.net, so I decided to dig into their site a bit. It appears that they’ve carved out quite a niche for themselves in the business collaboration space.
Collaboration & Integration Features
Box lets you set up a folder structure of your choosing. While normally a web-based service, you can use Box sync to sync those files down to your desktop.
In the online workspace, you can invite others to view your files and then they can leave comments. You can also track versions of a file; a feature that anyone who has shared a document amongst a team will appreciate.
You can view the files right in the browser, you don’t need to download them to your computer.
If you want, you can receive email updates when your document has been viewed – you don’t need to wonder if the recipient has received it like with email.
As mentioned, one of the key reasons that many businesses use Box is their access controls.
You can create groups of users and then control which folders or files that each user and/or group can access.
There are a variety of controls from viewing to editing to uploading and others, and you can control which users can grant which permissions.
For files & folders, you can set passwords and then set expiration dates for the sharing, so you could say user x can only access a file for a week.
If you’re working with clients, you can add or remove access to data to external users as well.
Box has a security page in which they outline their security policies. One thing that I noticed is that data is encrypted on the server only for Enterprise customers, so that is something to be aware of.
All-in-all, Box.net looks like a pretty good solution for business users needing collaboration features. The price ranges from a free plan to a $15/user/month plan to a “call for details” Enterprise plan.
Do you have any experience using Box.net or a similar service? What do you think?