Does Business Collaboration Does Business Collaboration

Box logo

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 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, 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.

Box Standard View

Access Control

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, 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 or a similar service? What do you think?

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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@boxdotnet - May 3, 2011 Reply

Hey Brooks,

Thanks so much for the review. We're very happy to hear that you had a pleasant experience with Box. As with any product, Box is (unfortunately) subject to occasional bugs and delays. We've been working with Sascha diligently to address all of the issues and bugs that he's experienced with our new UI – hopefully we'll be able to resolve all of them soon. If you have any problems with Box, feel free to shoot me an email directly at so I can forward them to our product team.

Again, thanks so much for the thorough review.

Community Manager

Sascha - May 3, 2011 Reply

My 2 cents on Once you subscribe to their business plan and try to use the product, you will see how full of bugs it is. Not recommended. They have a nice marketing machine (and big venture capital marketing money), but the product is not up to the hype.

    Brooks Duncan - May 3, 2011 Reply

    ThanksSascha,Could you elaborate on the bugs? I've heard from lots of people that like Box a lot so I'd like to hear the other side.

      Sascha - May 3, 2011 Reply

      it's a lot of small things that in a sum make it a real pain to use. Sometimes links within the interface don't work (you hit the "rename" button 5 times, nothing happens, 2 minutes later after doing nothing a rename dialog suddenly pops up). There are tons of small "quirks" like this.

      The other thing that annoys the hell out of us is that the system is extremely slow. told us it's because we are using it from Europe and they don't have a proper CDN in place yet. Whatever.

      The preview function is dated. It's slow to render even the most simple PDFs.

      Their full text search is disabled by default, and if you don't know that you need to ask them to enable it specifically for your account, you will never know about it and your search results are weak.

      I could go on like this. We have opened 39 support tickets within 3 months, most of them have never been resolved.

      Sascha - May 3, 2011 Reply

      also, I might add that they promised to have a Mac OS X client for the sync functionality for many months now, but the client is stil in beta and really unusable.

guest - May 3, 2011 Reply

Now compare to NetDocuments. These are a couple I am evaluating.

    Brooks Duncan - May 3, 2011 Reply

    Not a bad idea, someone was just mentioning NetDocuments the other day. I'll see what I can do.

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