Box Business Review

A great service that has plenty of third-party integrations and excellent security, Box Business is hurt by its high price tag. However, that may be offset by its strengths, as you can read in this full Box review.

Jacob Roach
By Jacob Roach (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2020-11-23T17:01:32+00:00 Facts checked by: Andrea Babic
(Editor)
Starts from $ 500 per month for 100 GB
Save 29 % (All Plans)

Box is a strong cloud storage service that provides native support for Office 365 and Google Workspace, but it also has a long list of integrations that could be useful for businesses. It also has excellent security, although the private key management is a paid feature. Read this Box review to find out why it could be a good fit for your company needs.

Box has always been one of our go-to cloud storage recommendations for businesses. It earned a spot in our best business cloud storage guide, going head to head with some of our best cloud storage picks.

  • Yes, Box is safe to use. It features industry-standard AES-256 encryption for data at rest and protects files in transit with an SSL/TLS channel.

  • Yes, there is a free version of Box for personal use. The free plan comes with 10GB of storage.

  • Box is slightly better than Dropbox because it offers more security options and app integrations.

  • Box is better than Google Drive when it comes to app integrations, but Google Drive is cheaper.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Strong list of app integrations
  • Native support for Office 365 & Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)
  • Built-in task manager & note-taking app
  • Excellent security

Weaknesses:

  • Private key management is a paid feature
  • Expensive

Features

95 % – Excellent

Box has a few features, though many of them come through paid add-ons (which we’ll get to in the next section) or through third-party integrations. Integrations are what sell Box cloud storage. Google Workspace, Office 365 and Slack are enabled out of the box, and they work directly in the Box interface.

Native Box Features

That isn’t to say Box is down and out when it comes to first-party tools. Every account comes with Box Notes and a task manager. As you can read in our Box Notes review, it’s not quite as good as our best note-taking app pick, Evernote, but it’s not bad. The biggest upside is that you can collaborate with others on notes directly in the Box app.

best efss for productivity box business
Box Business offers a note taking app, document editing and more, and that doesn’t even include its third-party integrations.

The task manager isn’t as robust as tools like Asana and Trello, though it helps for handling basic workloads. You can assign a general or approval task to any file, along with comments. Brilliantly, all comments, tasks and file activity live in the same preview window for files, allowing you to quickly see everything you need to. 

Still, the integrations stand out. As we’ll get to in the “ease of use” section below, you can easily create and edit documents with Google Workspace and Office 365 without ever leaving Box. Outside of those native integrations, Box has a massive selection. You can add your own custom apps, too.

  • Sync

    • Sync Folder
    • Block-Level Sync
    • Selective Sync
    • Bandwidth Throttling
    • Sync Any Folder
    • 5 GB Max File Size
    • Network Drive
  • File Sharing

    • File Link Sharing
    • Link Passwords
    • Link Expiry Dates
    • Folder Sharing
    • Folder Permissions
    • Link Download Limits
    • Upload Links
  • User Management

    • User Groups
    • Set User Roles
    • Monitor User Activity
    • Device Pinning
    • Restrict User Storage
  • Productivity

    • File Previews
    • Edit Files
    • In-App Collaboration
    • Office Online
    • Google Docs
    • Notes App
    • Media Playback
    • Mobile Apps
    • Deleted File Retention
    • Versioning
    • WebDAV
  • Security

    • At-Rest Encryption
    • In-Transit Encryption
    • AES-256 Encryption Protocol
    • End-to-End Encryption Integration
    • Two-Factor Authentication
    • US Server Location
    • US HIPAA Compliant
    • SSO Integration
    • Custom Password Requirements
    • Remote Device Wipe
  • Support

    • 24/7 Support
    • Live Chat Support
    • Telephone Support
    • Email Support
    • User Forum
    • Knowledgebase
  • Misc

    • Free Plan

Pricing

70 % – Decent

Box pricing isn’t great. It’s one of the more expensive business cloud storage services on the market, but it makes up for that fact with unlimited storage on three of its four plans. Both Sync.com Business and pCloud Business are cheaper, but neither come with unlimited storage.

Starter
  • Users: 3-10
  • 100 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 5.00/ month
$60.00 billed every year
Save 29 %
Business
  • Users: No limit
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 15.00/ month
$180.00 billed every year
Save 25 %
Business Plus
  • Users: No limit
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 25.00/ month
$300.00 billed every year
Save 24 %
Enterprise
  • Users: No limit
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 35.00/ month
$420.00 billed every year
Save 26 %

The Starter plan, well, starts the lineup, but its scope is limited. The plan is restricted to 10 users, and it only comes with 100GB of shared storage. It also lacks most of Box’s business features, including data loss protection and custom branding. 

The other three plans all come with unlimited storage for a minimum of three users. The main difference between the three comes down to enterprise app integrations and external collaborators. 

The Business plan is restricted to a single app and doesn’t support external collaborators, while Business Plus supports three apps and unlimited collaborators. The Enterprise plan supports as many as you want of both.

Unlimited Storage

Although unlimited storage is Box’s standout feature for pricing, it’s not the only cloud storage service with that much space. Dropbox Business is a little more expensive than Box’s first unlimited plan — though cheaper than Business Plus and Enterprise — and MEGA offers unlimited storage for less than both of them (read our MEGA review).

Box is expensive, but it offers a lot for your money. If you’re not ready to pay Box’s rates, you can try out the service for free for 14 days. The free trial requires a credit card, but you won’t be charged as long as you cancel within the first two weeks.

In addition to the plans above, Box offers Enterprise Suites (pricing available upon request). Enterprise Suites are bundles that include the standard service alongside some add-ons (more on those in the “security” section below). No matter what plan you choose, the prices are charged per user per month. 

 Ease of Use

100 % – Excellent

There isn’t much going on with the Box web interface, at least not at first. Like a lot of other cloud-based content management platforms, Box’s web interface features a folder hierarchy and a left-side menu. You can quickly see recent files and trash, and you can create collections to quickly see a group of files.

best efss services box
Box is an impressive service all around, but it really shines with a long list of third-party integrations.

It’s the details that stand out. For example, the “new” button isn’t just for creating new folders. By default, you can also use that button to create documents with either Google Workspace or Office 365. Similarly, next to the notification icon at the top of the interface, there’s a small task manager. It isn’t monday.com or anything, but it gets the job done. 

Each folder also has an extensive list of settings attached to it, allowing you to do everything from hiding the names of collaborators from others to requesting a notification whenever someone uploads, downloads or previews files in the folder.

Box has a standard interface, but once you start digging around, it becomes clear that it has a lot more functionality than competing services.

best efss for file sharing box business
Real-time collaboration, shared links and more — Box Business does it all.

Behind the web app is the admin console. With the exception of Starter, all plans come with this feature, allowing you to see usage logs, total storage space and more.

There are a lot of other things going on in the admin center, the most important of which is the app store. There are a few apps — such as Box for Microsoft Office — installed by default. You can install additional apps and configure file associations, too (for example, choosing Google Docs to open .docx files).

box review admin center
The Box admin center has everything you need to run your business, from extensive reports to app integrations.

The Box interface is so well designed because it masks all of its intricacies. If you want to dig deeper in the settings, you can, and you’ll be rewarded for doing so. The design is so user friendly, though, that you don’t have to, and that’s what makes Box special.

File Sharing & Syncing

80 % – Good

Given Box’s exceptional ease of use, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sharing and syncing is equally user friendly. You can view the sync status of folders and files in your account simply by clicking them and tabbing over to “details” in the web app. There, you can choose to sync a file to your desktop or leave it solely in the cloud.

box review box sync
Syncing is easy in the web app, whether you want a folder on your desktop, in the cloud or both.

Syncing is easy and, in most cases, automatic. It’s not all thumbs-up this section, though. Box doesn’t support block-level sync, meaning that every time you edit a file, you’ll have to reupload it to Box. We’ll talk more about what that means for speed in the next section. 

Box isn’t great for large files, either. With a file size limit of 2GB on the Starter plan and 5GB on the Business one, you’re better off with one of our best cloud storage for large files picks.

Document Sharing and Collaboration

File sharing is equally simple. You can right-click any file or folder to generate a sharing link, or to invite other collaborators, no matter if they’re internal or external. Box supports file requests, too, allowing you to send a request to an external collaborator to upload a file directly to your Box cloud storage.

box cloud storage review link sharing settings
There are a lot of settings for customizing your file sharing links.

Collaboration is what stands out here. With native Google Workspace and Office 365 support, you can create and edit Word documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly in Box. 

Even better, you can collaborate with others on these documents in real time. Box Notes supports real-time collaboration, as well, and each file comes with a detailed activity log so you can see who did what. 

Speed

75 % – Good

To test Box’s speed, we uploaded and downloaded a 1GB folder filled with photos, movies, documents and more. We did this two times, then averaged the results.

Before running our tests, we marked our internet speed at 450 Mbps download and 21 Mbps upload. Ignoring all other network conditions, we’d expect an average download speed of 19 seconds and an average upload speed of six minutes and 49 seconds. 

First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:
Upload7:448:157:59
Download0:550:540:55

Box doesn’t stick to those speeds exactly. Download times are pretty slow considering our expected result, though not terrible. Egnyte is a little faster using the same folder on the same internet connection, but not by much — around 20 seconds. 

Upload speeds are slower than expected, as well, and worse, they’re inconsistent. We don’t usually see a 30-second gap between trials. Based on our average, Box is around one minute slower than we expected with a 1GB folder, so although an extra 60 seconds doesn’t seem like much, it can add up over time.

What really racks up time is syncing. As mentioned, Box doesn’t support block-level sync, meaning you have to fully reupload a file whenever you make changes. The initial upload is a little slow, but having to reupload files at that same rate each time you edit a file will account for more time. 

Security & Privacy

90 % – Excellent

When it comes to security, Box does everything it should — short of offering a zero-knowledge security model. Files in transit are secured with an SSL/TLS channel, and files at rest are encrypted with AES-256 (read our description of encryption for more). Box also has redundancy in the form of file copies at other facilities.

It’s key management that separates Box from a service like Tresorit, which is one of the best zero-knowledge cloud storage providers. Box manages your encryption keys by default, meaning it has access to the key that decrypts your data. That makes Box easy to use but slightly less secure than other services.

Thankfully, there is an option to manage your own keys. Box KeySafe offers just that, and it sits alongside other add-ons like Box Zones — which lets you choose your data residency — and Box Shield, which offers threat detection and classification-based security controls.

The problem is that none of these add-ons are free, and Box doesn’t display the prices for them. For some of the add-ons — like Box Shield and Box Platform — the extra cost makes sense. However, data residency and key management are both standard features with a lot of cloud storage services, including Tresorit and pCloud.

Box Privacy

As far as privacy goes, Box collects a lot of data. The privacy policy states that Box collects information you provide, like your name and email address, alongside device information and data from other sources. Those other sources are usually app integrations you’ve taken advantage of (for example, Box may access some Google account information with Workspace).

The privacy policy itself is easy to get through, with short explainers for each section accompanied by dropdowns with more information. However, a deeper dive in some sections reveals some things that aren’t great. For example, under the “use of information” section, Box says that it uses personal information to “monitor and analyze trends, usage, and activities […] for sales, marketing or advertising purposes.” 

As far as your data goes, Box likely isn’t digging through user accounts, though it could by default. Private key management is slowly making its way into the EFSS market, and we’d like to see Box include it as a standard feature in the future.

Between key management and the privacy policy, Box is a secure service that could charge less and do more for higher security. It’s a safe service overall, but we’d like to see more standard security features.

 Customer Support

95 % – Excellent

Our customer service experience with Box started off right. After signing up for a trial account and messing around a bit, someone from Box reached out not only to ask if we had any questions but also to clarify the features and restrictions of the plan we were testing. This happened in the first 24 hours of testing. 

It’s important to note that we signed up for an account like anyone else would, free of any mention of Cloudwards.net. The email also wasn’t automated, and we got a reply quickly after responding ourselves. Although it was customer service rather than technical support, we rarely see an actual person reaching out preemptively. 

Technical Support

For technical support, Box has a few options. It offers email and chat support, though the latter goes offline from time to time (there are different departments, and their availability changes). Additionally, Box offers phone support, but only on select plans. 

Box ties these various forms of support — along with the community forum — into a single area, making it easy to manage your tickets, ask the community and browse troubleshooting articles. 

box review contact page
Box combines all of its support options into a single area, making it easy to find what you need.

Summarizing the self-help resources as “articles” is a bit reductive, though. Box does offer troubleshooting articles, but it also offers a range of educational courses for users, admins and developers. It also has articles split up by product, featuring everything from installing Box Notes mobile app on Android and iOS to understanding sync with Box Drive. 

box review education
“Box University” features a full curriculum for users, admins and developers, and it’s free.

Overall, Box does everything it should. Although we would like around-the-clock support and phone support for all users, Box has a personal touch when it comes to support. The self-help resources stand out most, though. 

The Verdict

Box for business is excellent. However, it’s mainly excellent on the back of its integrations. Otherwise, it’s an expensive cloud storage solution that scores high on usability but has a few issues when it comes to speed and security. 

What do you think of our Box review? Are you going to give Box a shot? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading. 

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13 thoughts on “Box Business”

  1. BOX has been an invaluable part of our operations for the last 2 years. We maintain an enterprise level account and have had no issues with the service. It works as described and has little to no down time.

    Reply
  2. I absolutely hate the system. I was invited to view documents and I have nothing but problems and no solution because no phone number.

    My recommendation is use some other product

    Reply
  3. Really bad experience, both with the system and the whole “trial”.

    They ask your credit card details in order to create account for 14 days trial. This was suspicious to me.

    I’ve done that, logged in, tried PC app, didn’t like it because it does not allow to change your default folder on disk (e.g. like Dropbox which allows it), uninstall it, and never came back again.

    As you can imagine, they auto-activated my account, and charged credit card. When I contacted their customer service, the only thing they managed to do, is to auto-deactivate after first month, when activation ends and cite the agreement terms. So no refund even if I am not going to use it.

    Bad service, do not recommend it: 1/5

    Reply
    1. Finally I got refunded after few more emails.

      So support is not that bad. Just be careful to cancel your account if you are not going to use it after trial ends.

      Reply
  4. Box for business is horrible. Their Customer Service is pretty sketchy. Better to go with a major company such as MS, Google, or even Dropbox. Dropbox has much faster sync times.

    Reply
  5. We installed Box 2 months ago, because of the integration we could get with Netsuite. We had been using Dropbox at the office for 3 years.

    Box has been like going back to 2000. It just doesn’t quite work. You can’t make it integrated with MS Office. If you use the Box App with an IOS phone or tablet, it will not open MS Files.
    The tech support at Box is also awful. They do reply to tech request, but they never have a solution. They keep refering to the ‘community’ forum, which has no solution either.
    Amazingly, Box Support keeps responding and telling you a better tech will assist you, but that new tech keeps repeating the same answers as the previous, with no solution offered.

    With Dropbox, it is so easy, never had to contact their tech support, it simply works.

    Box is not user friendly and does not work with Office 365 suites.

    Reply
  6. The box is definitely the most unreliable cloud I have ever used. Uploading larger files through browser interface is just nightmare. Don’t even try to upload a couple of files in a batch, the first file is likely to freeze and the rest will simply never be uploaded.

    I ended up uploading every single file manually but even then there is about 50% likelihood that the uploading will freeze in 99% or (even better) in 100% without the file being uploaded.

    Alternative ways of uploading didn’t work either; the super java uploader don’t handle the larger files at all and their sync app do not allow to change the location from C: drive (very smart!)

    I’m likely to keep on using it for some things as it’s my company that got the deal but if you are considering spending money on this and you will be handling with larger files stay away from Box!

    Reply
  7. Our university has been using box since 2015, and major problems go unfixed for years or forever. Since at least Sept 2017 Box Drive on mac gives error if you try to save any document from Pages, Numbers, Keynote, TextEdit, OmniOutline, and any other software using Mac Package format. No fix in Jan 2019. Many issues have similar unsolved track record. Dropbox supports Finder tags (colored dots) and other mac metadata, but I doubt box.com ever will.

    Reply
  8. I have a feeling box.com will be shutting down soon. Without warning they deactivated several of my accounts. I emailed support, no response. My valuable business data is gone. I have been using box.com for year and got complacent, stored all my data without backup in box.com. I have a small business and I can’t afford this kind of interruption. Shocking!!! I highly advise against box.com if you value your business data.

    Reply
  9. We’ve used Box for the last few years. I also use Dropbox with a client. Overall, the Box sync can take a very long time (sometimes 15-30 minutes) where Dropbox is nearly instantaneous. Also, Dropbox allows separate syncing options for different computers. You can sync some folders to one computer and other folders to a different computer. For Box, you set the sync online and it is the same for every computer you have connected to Box Sync.

    Reply
  10. Not mentioned in the article is Box’s notorious “waterfall” permission access design, which is counter intuitive and a deal breaker for many organizations. I would stay away from Box if only for this reason alone.

    Reply
  11. Too expensive for what it is, too slow, and they don’t even send a courtesy notification of an impending auto-renewal.

    Reply
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