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Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst F.A.Q.

What is Box?

Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst is provided by Box, a document storage, management, and collaboration tool that provides a simple, more secure way to store and share files online. With Box, you can access files and folders from any computer or Android or iOS mobile device.

How do I obtain a Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account?

UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff have already been provided with a Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account. To access it, log in at

Who is eligible for a Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst Account?

All current UMass Amherst faculty, staff, and students are eligible for a Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account.

How do I get help?

To get started using Box, visit their online training section for video tutorials and getting started articles on managing content, assigning permissions, and more. Still have questions? Contact the IT Help Center at 413-545-9400 or

I already have a Personal Box account with a non-UMass email address. Will that account be affected by Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst?

No. If you have a Box account that uses a non-UMass email address, it will remain separate.

I have a Personal Box account that already uses my university email address. What will happen to it?

You can choose to merge your Personal Box account with Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst or keep your accounts separate. To maintain separate accounts, change the email address associated with your Personal Box account to a non-UMass address. If you wish to merge the accounts, we will automatically move your personal Box account to UMass Amherst’s Box service. You will not lose any of your files or folders, and you will receive all the additional benefits of the university's enterprise Box service (for example, more storage space, the ability to search the full text of files stored on Box, and the ability to upload larger files to your Box account).

What happens to my files if I leave UMass Amherst?

You will need to transfer your files from your Box account at UMass Amherst to a personal Box account or another cloud storage location. When you leave the University, you will receive an email message at your University email address informing you that your University Account has been converted to a "sponsored account". From the day you receive this email, you will have 14 days to transfer the files on your Box account to another location. After that time, you will no longer be able to access your Box account at UMass Amherst.

What can be stored in Box?

Box and the university have a contract and Business Associates Agreement (BAA) that covers many types of sensitive data including FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Massachusetts General Law ch.93, and intellectual property data. Sensitive data stored in any other commercial service is not covered by a similar agreement. See the Requirements for Storing University Data for more information on data eligible for storage in Box.

What can not be stored in Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst?

While UMass Amherst IT policy permits the storage of some sensitive data on Box, departments and individuals are responsible for configuring Box in compliance with any other regulations on data including HIPAA, human subject data restrictions, or other data use agreements. These supersede UMass Amherst's agreement with Box. See the Requirements for Storing University Data for more information on data eligible for storage in Box.

Can I store personal files in Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst?


What are the advantages of a Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account over a personal Box account?

Your UMass Amherst Box account provides unlimited online storage as opposed to 5 GB of a personal account. It also allows you to upload much larger individual files, up to 15 GB. You can search the full text of all the files you have on Box and view previous versions of files that you have stored. You can also password-protect the links that you use to share files.

Why use Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst rather than another commercial storage option like Dropbox or Google Drive?

Box has signed a contract with the university that covers many types of sensitive data and guarantees that any data stored in a UMass Amherst Box account will be encrypted and will not leave the United States. The university does not have a similar contract with other cloud storage providers.

Is Box the same as or similar to Google Docs?

Box has similar functionality to Google Docs. You can use Box Notes to create documents and edit them with Microsoft Online.

What file types can be shared and previewed with Box?

Most common file types are supported. Visit the Box support site to view a complete list of file types supported by Box.

Is there a file size limit to Box preview?

Yes, 500MB. In addition, the Excel previewer has a row/column limit of approximately 10,000 rows and 100 columns.

Is there a way to recover a previous version of my file?

Files on Box are versioned with each upload. To retrieve a previous version log on to your Box account and click on the icon with the downward arrow (more options) on the same line as your file. From the file menu select properties/version history. In the Version History window you can choose to download a version, delete a version or make a version the current version. There is a 100 version limit to the versioning feature.

I accidentally deleted a file stored on Box. Can I get it back?

Yes. You can recover deleted files for up to 30 days.

How can Box be used to collaborate with others on and off-campus?

Files stored in Box can be shared with other users, both on and off-campus, with several different levels of access available. If you assign collaborators the ability to edit the documents that you share they can edit them in their web browser without ever leaving Box by installing  Box Edit.  By editing the documents using Box Edit, the documents are never downloaded from Box and remain securely stored.

Can I prevent people from downloading a file that I have shared with them?

Yes, you can lock a file which will prevent anyone from downloading it.  While the file is locked they will also not be able to edit the file if you have given them that ability.  They will still be able to view the file.

What apps are available for Box?

Box provides a list of official Box apps. Use only official Box apps to transfer data to Box.

Why is Box Sync turned off by default? How can I turn it on?

The Sync feature for Box allows you to sync files between your desktop and other devices. This can be used for files you wish to access offline. However, the use of Sync has some very significant implications for data security. When Sync is used, it makes a copy of a file from a user's Box Cloud storage area and places it on a user's computer in a folder.  If you edit the file on the computer, it updates the copy of the file in the Box cloud, and it updates the copies in the folders of any other devices the user is using Sync on or with.

UMass Amherst and Box, in partnership with Internet 2, have a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) for the management of sensitive data that allows for the storage of this data in the Box Cloud, that satifies all university and State of MA requirements for the data. This includes the correct liability and indemnification provisions to satisfy compliance with data requirements.

  • A file or document in the Box Cloud is covered by the contract and BAA.
  • The copy of the file downloaded to a Sync folder on a computer is not covered by the contract and BAA.
  • The downloaded Sync copy is a file on a computer, and the security of the computer and the network applies, not Box.

For this reason, UMass Amherst has disabled Box Sync by default. People wishing to use it despite the risk can request that it be enabled. The procedure for doing so will involve reading and understanding the Terms of Service for Sync, and then digitally signing that these Terms were both read and understood. For more information, see About Box Sync.

To request that Sync be enabled for your account:
If you have any questions about the Terms of Service or the security issues involved, please contact

How do I move content into Box?

You can move content into Box via upload, migrating from Google Apps, or using File Transfer protocol (FTP).

How do I move large amounts of content into Box?

There are multiple options for bulk upload of content to Box. See Box's recommendations for moving various amounts of content.