Box made its name being a user-focused company. Ease of use took priority over everything else, and while they’ve achieved a huge user base in this fashion, a big criticism of the company has been on the security side. It was never secure enough for some IT pros. A series of announcements today at the BoxWorks customer conference should go a long way towards alleviating those concerns.
First of all, they announced a new Information Rights Management feature that allows users to control what recipients can do with a file. You can mix and match controls allowing editing or view only and restricting or allowing printing, sharing or copy/paste. If you get a document that’s View Only with all restrictions on, the only thing you can do is read it -and all assigned rights travel with the document.
Users can also simply send a secure link to the document and any rights you have attached to the file travel with the link. The link can be password protected or not. What’s more, Box also lets you set an expiration date on the document level, so any document or link you share can expire at a certain time.
This is a huge leap for Box, although it’s worth noting Huddle introduced a similar set of security features last week and this is something Syncplicity could do for some time. The IRM product is available immediately for customers on the business and enterprise plans.
A panel of CIOs speaking today after the announcement made it clear they were thrilled with having this level of control over documents. They crave greater security, even while they clearly liked using Box inside their organizations.
But that wasn’t all. Box also announced a partnership with AT&T that uses AT&T’s NetBond service to connect to the Box cloud via a virtual private network, increasing the level of security associated with using Box. Abhi Ingle, svp for advanced solutions at AT&T Business Solutions says this effectively makes Box just a node on your private network giving you all the security of the AT&T network without having a significant impact on end user experience. He added, “Nobody is going to take you down with a Denial of Service attack.”
What’s more, Box now works with third-party security partners, Splunk and HP Arcsite. As Box senior vice president of global marketing at Box Whitney Bouk put it, many companies are using these products to monitor security across enterprise and they will now include support to monitor Box. within that existing security frameworks
Other new features include the ability to set retention policies on documents and expire them if need be, new reports that let administrators see what happens when internal users share internal documents with third party partners and customers who are also using Box and new eDiscovery partners, Exterro and Guidance that let companies that use those services treat Box as another document source in the eDiscovery process.
In a week when cloud security was top of mind after the release of the celebrity nude photos through a cloud service, there had to be tons of questions given the timing of Box’s event even if it wasn’t warranted. These tools help answer the concerns of those companies who are still worried about putting their content in the cloud by giving them a range of capabilities to control access, track documents, protect the network and tie into the existing security and eDiscovery tools inside the organization.