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Box review

Our Box review: Collaborative file storage for SMBs

Box review
(Image: © Box )

Our Verdict

Box is pricier than some of the bigger names in the cloud storage industry, but the seamless integration with other apps and tight security controls make it a strong choice for SMEs.

For

  • Thousands of app integrations
  • Excellent security controls for administrators

Against

  • Expensive paid consumer plan
  • Some app settings are hard to locate

Founded in 2005, Box is a cloud-based file storage and file sharing service. Box apps are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and there’s also an API so you can develop your own software integrations. To date, over 1,500 applications support Box, and the service is positioned as a professional cloud-based file sharing and collaborative platform for businesses.

But the business cloud storage niche has quite a few big players. In this Box review, we look at its unique features to decide whether it’s the best cloud storage solution for businesses today.

Box is a cloud file storage system for businesses working online (Image credit: Box )

Box: Plans and pricing

Box has a 10 GB free plan for individuals, with a file size limit of 250 MB. Upgrading to the Personal Pro plan ($10/month) increases file storage to 100 GB and you can store files that are up to 5 GB in size.

There are four plans aimed at businesses. The Starter plan ($7/user/month) includes 100 GB of storage and allows single file sizes up to 2 GB. It’s limited to 10 users but includes a 25-version history of files, so you can easily roll back unwanted changes. For unlimited storage, a 5 GB single file upload limit, and 50-version history, choose the $20/user/month Business plan. 

The Business Plus plan ($33/user/month) adds many features, including full user activity tracking, advanced admin controls, and custom templates. The Enterprise plan ($47/user/month) has more security features, such as FedRAMP compliance, password policy enforcement, and document watermarking.

You get a discount on all business plans if you pay annually. Overall, Box’s plans are a little on the expensive side if you only care about basic file storage, but a business could find the included features useful for outstripping most competitors. In this respect, Box is much more than just a cloud storage service.

Box review

Box has four plans aimed at business (Image credit: Box)

Features

Similar to file sharing apps such as Dropbox and Google Drive, Box keeps the folders on your devices synced when changes are made. But Box shines most in its ability to integrate seamlessly with software like G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Office 365. Sharing files with others is straightforward too, and the team management features are great. For example, you can control who has access to each folder and file, see which users are accessing which files, and set up automations that can simplify your company’s workflows.

Box review

Box has a huge list of integrations with third-party apps (Image credit: Box )

Interface and in use

on either Windows or macOS, it just feels like it’s part of the operating system. The iOS and Android apps are similarly slick. If you prefer software that stays out of the way and quietly works in the background, Box is an excellent choice.

This minimalism extends to most of the app integrations that Box supports. After you’ve integrated Box with your favorite apps, there’s no interface at all to speak of—the system just works, allowing you to share files with others around the world, without having to think about the mechanisms being used. 

Through the web interface, you can easily get an overview of what’s being done with files and set up automation, such as removing files after a certain date.

Box review

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial at box.com (Image credit: Box)

Support

Box has an excellent set of resources that you can use to get the most from the service. Its resource center is packed with articles, guides, and white papers. A set of webinars introduces specific features of the application. Multiple 25-minute demo videos go into detail on each part of the system, so you can easily integrate Box into your company’s workflow.

Box also has an active forum community. For more direct support, though, you must rely on a ticket-based system.

Box review

Box has a stacked resource center with hundreds of useful articles and videos (Image credit: Box)

Security

One of Box’s major strengths as a cloud storage service for business is its strong security. Files are all AES 256-bit encrypted, and administrators have fine-grained control over user authentication and file access permissions. 

With Box, you can employ two-factor authentication, file watermarking, and encryption keys. If your company has specific compliance needs, Box is a top choice, as your setup can be made to comply with FINRA, GxP, GDPR, and data residency requirements.

Box review

Much of Box’s feature list is dedicated to security and compliance (Image credit: Box)

The competition

If cost is a driving factor in your cloud storage provider, iDrive cloud storage offers 2 TB of storage for $69.50 per year or 5 TB for $99.50 per year. But Box has iDrive bested on app integrations and enterprise-level security features.

Another interesting alternative is pCloud, where a one-off payment of $175 or $350 gets you a lifetime plan that’s valid for 99 years. A group plan that costs $500 includes 2 TB of storage that can be shared between five users.

Final verdict

For consumers, Box struggles to compete on pricing with Google Drive and Dropbox, but its business plans are packed with useful features for SMEs. Strong security protection and a huge list of app integrations make Box a sound choice for businesses in need of a highly versatile cloud file sharing platform.