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Technology should make our lives easier
• Simple enough for anyone to set up & use
• Multiple types of accounts available depending on user needs
• Fast & friendly support
• There is no desktop client for file syncing with a personal account
• While there is a desktop client with business accounts, files can only be uploaded manually
• There is no option to bulk restore every file in your account
Box is the perfect solution for anyone needing an easy to use cloud storage service. If you need features such as scheduled backups, however, you may want to look at other options.
Box was one of the first online storage services available and has a long-standing, trusted reputation. We decided to check Box out for ourselves to see how it stacks up to similar services.
To sign up you need to decide how much storage space you require and whether you want a personal or business account. You provide your email and password and then verify your password. For personal accounts, Box gives you up to 5 GB of storage space for free, 25 GB for $9.99/month, and 50 GB for $19.99/month. If you choose a business account you get 1,000 GB for $15/month. The business account allows for multiple users to share storage and files.
Once your account is setup you can immediately begin to upload files. The ease of uploading files is perhaps the best feature of Box. After your initial login, you can simply drag files you wish to upload onto the Box web page, a feature we found refreshing. Alternatively you have the option to use a more standard method by clicking a button on the page to choose and upload files.
Unfortunately the only way to upload files to a personal Box account is via a web browser. There is also no automatic file syncing. This means you have to manually upload when you need to backup or share files.
Restoring files is simple, but with that simplicity comes a few headaches. First of all, the personal free accounts don’t have the option of bulk restoring. You can only download one file at a time. The only option to bulk download is by downloading an entire folder. It is recommended that you put every file uploaded into a folder; otherwise you’ll have to download the files individually. There is no option to restore every file in your Box account at once, which we found frustrating.
To download a file or folder, either click a dropdown box and select download, or hold down CTRL on your keyboard and drag the file to your desktop.
One of the most important factors when deciding to use an online backup service is the security of your files. Box uses industry standard security features such as 256-bit SSL data encryption. This is the same level of protection used by banks and other financial institutions. Box also uses multiple datacenters to store data ensuring redundancy. One downside is that there is no option to create an encryption key, a feature offered by similar services.
Personal accounts offer only the simplicity of uploading and storing your files. Business accounts, however, have many other options, and that is where the Box service shines. They are set up with collaboration in mind and allow for desktop file syncing. We loved the ability to create up to 500 users accounts who can share and access files on the account. The business account also allows for offline access to files via the desktop client.
Personal and business account both have mobile access to the service via iPhone, iPad, and Android apps. Using the apps is as simple as dragging and dropping files back and forth.
Ease of Use
Box is a sleek, lightweight service that is very easy to use regardless of account type. This is partly due to the relative lack of features available, but also because of the clean interface that doesn’t require many menus or boxes to check. In most cases everything is as simple as dragging and dropping. This is great news for users who aren’t necessarily technologically inclined.
Help & support
Most users will probably not have any issues learning to use a Box account, but if you do, they have you covered. There are PDF guides, videos, and webinars available to get you started. They also offer an extensive knowledge base that should answer any question you may have. If all else fails or if you just prefer to talk to an actual person, Box has friendly, toll-free phone support.
While the Box service may not offer a robust stable of features, it is to be commended for its ease of use.
Box offers 5 GB of free storage for personal accounts, and a 14-day free trial for business accounts.
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