by Thor Olavsrud

Box Gives Enterprise IT More Visibility and Control

Dec 11, 20134 mins
BPM SystemsCollaboration SoftwareContent Management Systems

Box is adding features to its content management and document-sharing platform to give administrators the capability to manage permissions, access and control over how Box is used in the enterprise. It's also added a new consulting arm and a systems integrator partner network.

In its efforts to push further into the enterprise and help its customers more fully leverage the power of Software as a Service (SaaS), Box today unveiled a new enterprise admin console. It also announced a new business unit—Box Consulting—geared to helping large enterprise customers with legacy integration, implementation services and deployment support and custom app development, and the Box Services Partner Program for systems integrators (SIs) and consultants.

The new enterprise admin console is intended to give IT the visibility and control it needs to fully and securely manage content stored on the Box platform.

Seeing Inside the Box (Platform)

“Box admins are the ones that have to manage permissions, access, control and monitor how Box is used in an organization,” says Whitney Bouck, senior vice president of Global Marketing and general manager of Box Enterprise at Box. “With complex deployments, and/or heavy governance requirements, we’ve heard the call for capabilities that allow deeper control over content at scale.”

Box has added a new policies tool designed to give admins the capability to protect against the upload or sharing of confidential data like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and custom keywords specified by the admin.

“With the new rules engine, when an event takes place in Box we can execute an action based on a policy,” says Annie Pearl, senior product manager, Enterprise, at Box. “We can also create notifications and alerts around downloads and sharing activity.”

If an event triggers a policy, or a user crosses a threshold (e.g., excessive download activity that deviates from baseline patterns), the admin can receive an alert and the engine can block the activity unless an admin approves it.

Additionally, Box has added lightweight automation that helps admins create simple flows for managing common tasks like invoice approvals, project approvals and other multi-step processes. Finally, Box has added a new content manager that allows admins to centrally manage the content owned by their organization, search for files across the enterprise and manage permissions across users and folders more easily.

“Content manager is what we like to call the command center inside Box,” Pearl says. “You can drill down into an individual user’s Box account and see any of their files. You can centrally manage security settings and permissions.”

Bouck says all three features—policies, automation and content manager—will be available to all Enterprise and Elite accounts in the coming months.

Box Consulting Tackles Complex Deployments

While Box has always informally provided consulting to large customers struggling with deployments (Box counts companies like Chevron, Safeway, P&G, Nationwide Insurance and EA as customers), the company moved to formalize its consulting practice today with the formation of Box Consulting, which will focus on deployment, implementation and training for the Box platform.

“While the Box product is intuitive and easy to deploy, we know that many enterprises have complex technology architectures and requirements that can benefit from additional expert deployment and implementation assistance,” Bouck says. “As a result, we’re excited to introduce a new advanced professional services team—Box Consulting—to help enterprises with complex environments to get up and running on Box efficiently and at scale.”

Bouck notes that Box Consulting might help a customer design the permissions model when deploying Box accounts to tens of thousands of knowledge workers, or plan for migration and training when displacing old FTP servers and shared network drives.

“We can even help you build a custom application built on our platform and API,” she says.

If you need more proof that cloud-based content management and document-sharing has come of age, look no further than the new Box Services Partner Program, a network of systems integrators and consultants focused on helping businesses transition to the cloud. As a complement to Box Consulting, Box is partnering with SIs like Capgemini, Tech Mahindra, Volo Solutions, Cloud Sherpas, Statera, 360 Cloud Solutions, ASMGi and 7 Summits.

“Our partner ecosystem is crucial to ensuring that businesses of all sizes across all geographies have the resources and expertise required to transition to Box’s content collaboration platform,” says Chris Penner, vice president of Channel at Box. “With the Box Partner Network, we’re ensuring that our partners have the tools and knowledge they need to be successful members of the Box ecosystem, and in turn pass that success along to customers.”

Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.