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How Does Box Compare to Other Storage Solutions?

The following is a brief comparison of Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst and other commonly used online storage services.

Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst can be used for storing or sharing most types of university data, using certain additional security measures, including some data that that is considered sensitive data. For specific information see Understand Sensitive Data at UMass Amherst. For information about the different types of sensitive data see Data Classification at UMass Amherst.  For information about what data can be stored in Box, see What types of data are appropriate for my Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account?

Comparing Box to other online storage services

Service Data secured by BAA (1) Granular permissions Native mobile app integration Cross-platform Default quota Maximum file size Inline preview Permanent storage Offline sync
Box Yes Yes Yes Yes Unlimited 15 GB (2) Yes Yes Yes (5)
Dropbox No No Yes Yes 2 GB 2 GB (3) Yes Yes Yes
Google Drive No Yes Yes Yes 15 GB 5 TB Yes (4) Yes Yes

(1) UMass Amherst and Box, in partnership with Internet 2, have a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) for the management of sensitive data. For more, see What types of data are appropriate for my Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst account?

(2) You should only upload one file larger than 5 GB at a time. To upload files larger than 5 GB, you will need a business-class Internet connection with connection speeds of at least 50 mbps. Currently, IE 10 has a file size limit of 4 GB per file, and IE 9, 8, and 7 have a limitation of 2 GB if the Flash plug-in is installed. These limitations do not apply if the Java uploader is used instead.

(3) Files you upload using the desktop application or mobile apps have no maximum size limit. The maximum size limit when uploading from the website is 10 GB.

(4) You can view any file you upload or sync to Google Drive as long as it's no larger than 25 MB.

(5) Box Sync is not appropriate for all data. For more, see About Box Sync

Further comparison of Box and Dropbox

In response to questions from the UMass Amherst community, additional comparisons between the Box and Dropbox services are provided below:

Attribute     Box     Dropbox
256-bit encrypted storage and transfer
x x
Approved for university-internal data
Single sign-on with UMass Amherst credentials
Role-based access levels for sharing
User chooses folders to sync x x
Custom URLs for shared folders
Threaded commenting and task assignment
Full-text search x
Download stats tracking and real-time update notifications
Microsoft Office and Outlook plug-ins (Windows)
Email-to-folder functionality x

Additional considerations:

  • UMass Amherst has contractual protections for the data in the Box cloud, including a prohibition on mining of UMass Amherst data.
  • Although Box and Dropbox both have multiple integrated third-party apps, Box provides some apps that are approved for use with university data.