E-Box Review: A Secure Dropbox Alternative for Business Collaboration Based in the UK
By Joel Tope
E-Box is a fairly new cloud storage solution based in the UK, and the service has many features that go above and beyond similar cloud storage providers. Because E-Box is based in the UK, users won’t need to worry about wiretapping and surveillance scandals, done by the US government’s agencies– such as the NSA or FBI.
Two of the most notable features of their cloud storage service, include the facts that they are a business-class solution and have incredibly strong security mechanisms to protect users’ data.
E-Box Review: Secure Business Online Storage & Collaboration in UK
Who is E-Box for?
E-Box is a great cloud storage solution that fills a gap in the market for businesses. An interesting feature of their pricing model is that it requires a minimum of 10 credits per-month to be used, meaning their service likely isn’t appropriate for single users.
However, E-Box may reduce monthly credit quotas in the future, to better accommodate small businesses.
high level of security (TLS 1.2 on transit and AES-128 bit at rest)
setup wizards that make it easy to start sharing files
servers based in the UK
granular access control permissions
file preview only for .jpg and .pdf files
no context menu access to share files and give permissions
at times confusing interface (but setup wizard helps)
But there are many reasons outside of their pricing model that makes them great for businesses. Two incredibly great business features of E-Box is their security and auditing system, which a lot of other competing services lack.
Many competitors seek to make file sharing extremely easy, by generating download links that can be shared on social media platforms. File sharing links are a double-edged sword, though. While they make it easy to distribute files and information with friends, family, and coworkers, they also cause security problems.
E-Box uses a simple and effective permissions-based system that is easy to manage.
Account administrators can add users to groups with various file permissions. Ideally, a business would create groups for various units of their business such as accounting, legal, and so forth; to ensure that only intended parties have access to sensitive data.
And as a cherry on the cake, E-Box also have an incredibly useful auditing feature. It allows account administrators to see which users have accessed which files, and timestamps the activities to leave an easy-to-follow audit trail.
Plans & Pricing
Their pricing model is fair and reasonable, but keep in mind that they are a business-class service. Instead of recurring monthly payment options, which competing services offer, they have a completely different pricing model that revolves around using credits.
One credit will allow a single user access to cloud storage services for one month, and currently they require that each account uses 10 credits per month.
This credit quota helps them ensure that their services aren’t used by masses of individual users, allowing them to focus efforts on streamlining their service; to be the best for businesses. Like other digital services, the more you buy, the more you save. The following list outlines the credit system’s prices:
E-Box uses a web-based interface, this is fantastic for people with a lot of different devices, because they won’t have to install and configure software on multiple systems– all a user needs is a web browser.
However, note that E-Box is a cloud storage solution, and lacks any backup features.
Menus and the interface are clean, simple, and easy-to-use. The panel on the screen’s left side helps users navigate through the software’s different functions and it’s very intuitive.
There are four main menu options on the navigation panel that merit further discussion.
The first is “Files”, which allows users to upload, download, rename, and audit files. It is essentially the interface people use to interact with cloud storage folders. Of particular interest is the audit button, which will show administrators the time, date, user, and actions performed on a particular file or folder.
They even provide the option to export reports in CSV and Excel formats.
Next is the admin panel, which is incredibly important, since it allows administrators to add users, groups, and permissions to various files and folders. This system is easy-to-use, and something that most other cloud storage providers lack. Interestingly enough, the menu even provides an option to audit activity on a per-user basis.
Next, note that the “activity” menu option is essentially a way to see all audit activities listed in chronological order.
Last but not least, is the “workspaces” menu option. Which essentially is a way to partition the cloud storage into functional units, by separate files based on departmental needs. For example, an administrator could create one workspace for the accounting department, and another workspace for the sales team. This really helps to ensure that users don’t have access to data that they don’t need.
Ancillary features of their service include the following:
Data is encrypted with TLS in transit and AES-128 in storage
1TB of storage per-user
Customer support from 8:00am to 8:00pm 7 days a week
Real-time billing as opposed to a calendar-month system
E-Box takes security very seriously.They have security mechanisms that most of their competitors lack, such as the auditing system and the ability to create user groups with assigned access permissions.
End-to-end encryption has just about become industry standard, though there are a few competitors who still fail to encrypt user data before sending it to their servers. However, not only does E-Box encrypt data during transit and during storage, they provide powerful tools to help people safeguard their data.
One of the problems with competing services like Dropbox, it’s that they’re targeted as a service for the masses, and don’t include control tools to prevent unintended parties from accessing files which they shouldn’t have privileges to access.
E-Box, on the other hand, locks down files securely with the following controls and features:
Workspaces that essentially create different ‘partitions’ to help control access to groups of files
The ability to audit files, folders, and individual users
Individual users and group creation
The ability to add users to various functional groups, and assign them custom access policies
While E-Box may not be the best choice for casual users operating in a personal environment, they are a fantastic choice for businesses. Not only do they provide security to in-transit data, even when it’s stored on their servers, E-Box has sophisticated security and auditing features that other providers just don’t have.
E-Box sports fast and reliable servers, while the simple web interface is easy-to-use. All in all, they are a great Dropbox alternative with robust services.