Box is a great solution, but it isn't the end all cloud solution.
December 17, 2014
Box is a great solution, but it isn't the end all cloud solution.
Score 6 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Box
I currently use Box for both personal and business uses. I am currently the head of a Project Management Office and I use Box for a variety of items in that end. I provide project management templates and support documents via the Box account. This has made it easier that if someone is not on site (meaning they are either unable to VPN in or are unable to access the network drives for whatever reason) they are able to still access those templates they may need. Box also has higher security than other cloud based options so this has made it an easier decision as well.
- Box is pretty standard when it comes to storage space and costs. Depending if you're going with a personal account or going with a business account, they are relatively in line with the market. Their Starter package is slightly more than Google Drive's entry level solution, however, Box is more secure so there is that trade off.
- Security is becoming a big deal lately (Sony hack being an example) and is something you need in a cloud based solution. The thing I liked about Box was that my files weren't just encrypted while at rest (sitting on the main machine), but also while in transit (being synced). Other solutions don't provide both options mentioned or do it as well. There are far more secure solutions out there so if security is of the utmost, you may want to look into a service like Wuala.
- A must in this day and age for any cloud based solution is the ability to sync across all of your devices and Box does this quite well. Whether you have a PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, tablet, Box is able to sync across all of them. This really brings convenience to the forefront and with the built in viewer, allows the ability to view what documents you want. The document isn't the best, but we'll touch base on that in the next section.
- My biggest complaint with Box is easily their Box Sync application. They did come out with version 4 towards the beginning of 2014, but it was a step rather than a leap. The application (especially on PC and to a lesser extent, Android) is a memory hog. It takes large amount of resources and still has issues where it will lag or hang. Even with a higher end rig that I have at home, it still can constrain a system that has ample bandwidth.
- Another issue I have that is with Box Sync, but not directly talking about the application's performance, is the internet speeds at which it syncs. I've looked into various ways to increase the download speeds of the application, but they are still very low when compared to other solutions out there. A Starter account has a 100GB limit for example and if you're setting up a new computer, or replacing an old one, get ready for the long haul. I've used download speeds ranging from 20Mbps to well above 10Gbps and the download rates are relatively the same. Downloading 100GB to a new main computer with a memory hog application was interesting, to say the least.
- The last thing is really just a gripe more than anything else. It's nice they introduced the preview and even allow you to make some edits, but it would be nice to be able to directly change the files that you have. For example, you have a spreadsheet that you need to make a quick change to while you're out and about. Being able to jump into the app, open the file while in Box, make the change, and go about your day would be great. However, you are unable to effectively do that at this point. You'd need to open Box, download the file, edit the file (assuming you have Office Mobile or similar), upload the new change, and then go about your day. It adds needless steps and also requires the assumption you have an app that can make the edits you require.
- Dropbox,google drive,Wuala
As mentioned in other areas of my review, the main reason I chose Box was because of that higher level of security. It doesn't have as high of security as Wuala, however, it has enterprise level security features and functionality that made it an easy decision. Google Drive and Dropbox don't have enough security or encryption that made them viable options at this point in time.
I like the security features and I like the website. It's easy to use and create and move things around as needed. The main reason for a lower rating is because the Box Sync app is just not a good program. It's a memory hog, it's slow, transfer speeds are slow, and it's not the most efficient route. If you have a large Box account and you need to get a computer up to speed on a large amount of data within Box, you are in for the long haul. Last time I had to do this, it took 3 days to sync all of the files and we are talking around 100 GB worth of data.
The main thing I tell people is how secure do you need your files to be. That's really what separates Box from other solutions in their space. They aren't the most secure, but they aren't the least either. They are that good middle road solution. They are IT compliant in most cases and their admin options are more than adequate for a majority of businesses. If you need further security than what Box offers, then you'd be looking at a more specialized solution like a Wuala.
5 - Only a few people use Box, but whenever something needs to be shared, it's easy to share those files quickly and seamlessly with those users. Not everyone needs access to Box, they just need to be able to have the necessary files shared at the right time to make it the most effective.
1 - Box isn't very difficult in terms of upkeep. It doesn't take a massive knowledge base to implement, but it does require someone that is at least tech savvy enough to set up. One person can easily, and effectively, manage Box at the enterprise level. Depending on how much security you want will determine how deep you go.
As mentioned, it can be difficult to get initial responses and to get your issues acknowledged, let alone resolved. I had a few issues dealing with Box Sync and that took a while to get resolved. Billing issues was another area I ran into issues. Whether upgrading/downgrading packages as needed, it generally took a few times to get what I actually wanted/asked for.
Problems get solved
Not kept informed
Difficult to get immediate help
Slow Initial Response
No - I don't have an enterprise level account with Box so I'm not sure what they offer in terms of support packages. At the level I am, however, support is rough. I tend to submit my initial request, but then need to follow up on it several times to get that initial response. Then pushing to get the issue resolved beyond that initial response.
I personally haven't experience a mind blowing customer service moment with Box. That's unfortunate because I do like the service as a whole and feel that this can be one area that could use some improvement. Again, as mentioned, they may have premium support packages that totally disprove this and I hope they do. However, at the level I am at, I have not experienced this.