Box unveiled five new features for its cloud storage service aimed at making it easier for business customers to manage and protect data stored in the cloud. Among the various cloud storage and file sharing options available Box already stands apart from the crowd in catering more to businesses than consumers, and these latest improvements put even more distance between Box and its rivals.
There are five major updates to Box for enterprise customers. Box has made it easier for administrators to manage and search content across all users, added new security controls for mobile devices, enabled the ability to manage multiple domains simultaneously, and included archiving of comments and activity for regulatory compliance purposes.
Up to now, Box account administrators have been forced to access and manage content on a user by user basis, and there hasn't been an effective means of searching for data across the entire Box environment. With the new features admins will now be able to streamline file management tasks. The ability to search all Box content also makes tedious tasks like e-discovery much more efficient.
The new security controls for mobile devices enable Box admins to enforce the use of passcodes on Android devices (and coming soon for the iOS apps). Admins can also manage permissions for offline access of content stored in Box from the mobile devices.
The ability to manage multiple domains is a welcome addition for larger companies. Smaller Box customers with only a single domain wouldn't notice, but larger customers like Proctor and Gamble have a vast array of subsidiaries and sub-domains. Each of those was previously managed as a separate Box account, but the new feature enables the Box admin to view and manage all of the domains at once.
In addition to the new and improved features in Box itself, Box also announced new enterprise licensing policies that simplifies the procurement and management of Box account licensing. Customers can lock in the licensing price even for a multi-year deployment, and Box will even work with customers to defer payment to when the licenses are actually implemented.
Many of the competing cloud storage services are almost strictly consumer-oriented. The services might be used within businesses by individual users, but they lack the administrative tools and management capabilities to be effective on a company-wide scale. IBM just banned the use of Dropbox by employees due to the lack of oversight or ability to control or protect data.
Even so, Box is not without its challengers in the business space. Egnyte stands out--and has even thrown down the gauntlet to directly challenge Box and try to poach its customers. But, with the new features Box makes its service even more appealing to larger businesses.