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Dropbox vs Box vs Google Drive: AI upgrade makes it easier to find files in Google Drive

We compare cloud vendors' storage plans, extra services and channel strategies, plus latest news

Cloud with various IT components inside

Dropbox, Box and Google Drive all vie for the attentions of businesses and consumers, but which offers the best value for both channel partners and for end users? We take an in-depth look at these look at the options.

Latest news

31/08/2018: AI upgrade makes it easier to find files in Google Drive

Box users will soon be able to take advantage of new Activity Stream and Recommended Apps features, which the cloud storage firm says will provide a shot in the arm for productivity and improve cross-platform collaboration.

Announcing the additions at BoxWorks 2018, Box explained that the new activity stream will pull information from a host of third-party apps and services, allowing users to complete more tasks directly from within the Box platform.

"Our new and enhanced activity stream adds additional visibility into how content is being leveraged across the organization, by bringing third party app activity happening around a file into Box," Faizan Buzdar, senior director of platform product management at Box, said in a blog post. "This means users can easily see all updates on that file across related apps, and quickly take action in those apps."

Positioned on the right of the Box suite, users will be able to click on an update shown in the stream and jump straight to the third-party application responsible for the activity. There’s also the new Recommended Apps feature which will display a list of applications that can be used for each file stored within Box. Upon previewing a file, users will be shown a list of recommended apps to use from within the platform – a function the cloud storage firm says will eliminate the wasted time spent switching between various services.

There’s currently no rollout date for the new features - but both will be available in the coming months, Box said.

16/03/2018: AI upgrade makes it easier to find files in Google Drive

It is now easier to find and organise your shared files within Google Drive thanks to an overhaul of the cloud storage service's artificial intelligence, Google has announced.

In a blog post, the tech giant revealed that freshly revamped G Suite interface will now predict which files you are looking for before you actually search for them.

Instead of using filters, Google Drive's "Shared with Me" section will now intelligently organise documents that have been shared with you by other users - with the interface now displaying the file owners as well as the files they have shared.

"Searching for content by owner is the most popular way to search for content in Drive today," Google said. "The new interface will use artificial intelligence to predict the people and files that you're most likely to search for and make them more visible.

"We hope that this will help you find the files you're looking for more quickly."

Google says these suggestions will also improve over time as the new artificial intelligence learns and adapts to how each individual uses Google Drive.

"We're also working on more features which will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make it easier to find files and collaborate more efficiently in Drive," the company added. "Look out for more over the next few months."

20/02/2018: Google Drive adds preview commenting for Microsoft docs

Google Drive users can now add comments to Microsoft documents and PDFs from within the service's preview feature, eliminating the need to open up their native apps to do so.

The changes work in much the same way as commenting on Google Docs, allowing you to highlight sections of text and then add an accompanying comment. Any changes made will also be reflected in the document's native application - making the process more fluid and less cluttered with windows and apps.

In a blog post, Google revealed document management company AODocs has been trialling the feature for the last few months.

"We frequently use the comments feature in Google Docs and Slides when preparing specification documents, reviewing project proposals and creating marketing materials," said Stéphane Donzé, CEO and founder of AODocs. "With commenting in Drive Preview feature, we can now extend the same collaboration, review and validation processes to Microsoft Office Applications, images and PDFs."

Google added that the addition of preview comments is "just one example of interoperability between G Suite and Microsoft Office products" - and that users can also take advantage of a Drive plugin for Microsoft Outlook that enables smoother integration between the two.

25/01/2018: Dropbox now lets you preview Adobe XD files  

Dropbox users can now preview Adobe XD files thanks to a new Adobe Creative Cloud integration, the cloud storage firm has announced.

Building on the companies’ existing partnership, the new integration eliminates the need to download XD files first - instead displaying each design’s home artboard within Dropbox.

”Adobe XD is an innovative all-in-one tool for UX designers,” Daniel Wagner, engineering lead at Dropbox Previews, said in a blog post. “Our goal is to unleash creative energy through an expanding partner ecosystem, and connect design tools like Adobe XD with core Dropbox mobile, web and desktop products.”

The integration makes it quicker and easier for users to find their required XD document, the company says, and allows UX/UI designers to share their work with collaborators via Dropbox web, Android and iOS. Those same team members can also utilise Dropbox’s comments and annotations features to keep communication flowing.

“Our aim is to make the design process more efficient with Adobe XD,” explained Kate Eom, senior product manager at Adobe XD. “That’s why we’re excited to bring Dropbox native file preview to our users.

“Now, designers and their extended team members can preview XD from Dropbox without opening the file.”

The announcement is part of Dropbox’s efforts to expand the number partnerships and integrations it supports, which includes tie-ups with Microsoft’s Office 365 suite and other key business software products.

07/12/2017 - Dropbox acquires team from publishing startup Verst

Dropbox has acquired the team behind New York startup Verst, a blogging platform designed to help publishers and creators optimise revenue.  

The publishing firm will officially shut down on 21 December, at which point its team will join Dropbox in an as-yet undisclosed capacity.

“In short, we will be shutting down the platform on 12/21 so that we can apply everything we’ve learned towards Dropbox’s mission to simplify the way people work together,” said Verst CEO AJ Frank in a blog post.

Dropbox has not disclosed financial terms of the deal or even revealed what the Vert team will be working on, but told TechCrunch: “We’re excited to welcome the Verst team to Dropbox. Their talent in building simple, powerful publishing tools will help us create new product experiences that unleash our users’ creative energy.”

Prior to its current guise, Verst began as DWNLD – a platform for turning full websites into mobile apps complete with customisable features and analytical services.

The service previously secured a $12 million investment from Greylock Partners, before evolving into Verst and shifting its focus onto generating revenue for publishers and creators.

28/11/2017: Dropbox announces partnership with Autodesk

Dropbox has announced a new partnership with Autodesk that allows users to share large design files straight from AutoCAD desktop applications.

A new integrated desktop app enables users to open and save their .DWG files to Dropbox without having to leave AutoCAD – helping teams to collaborate more efficiently, Dropbox says.

From 2018, users that don’t own Autodesk will also be able to view and comment on .DWG files from within Dropbox thanks to a new CAD Previews feature across select Dropbox subscription plans.

The partnership means users will have access to their entire .DWG library across all devices, Dropbox says – eliminating the need to keep syncing devices or store copies locally.

“AutoCAD is one of the most widely used applications among architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing professionals, and with more than 1.5 billion .DWG files stored in Dropbox, we’ve built one of the largest collaboration networks of Autodesk design files in the world,” said Billy Blau, global head of business development and partnerships at Dropbox.

“Dropbox brings teams together by making content collaboration simple and efficient. Our technology partnership with Autodesk is an exciting step in delivering innovative features that our customers have been asking for.”

Users can download the free Dropbox for AutoCAD app from the Autodesk App Store now. 

25/10/2017

Dropbox announces Dropbox Professional for individual workers

Dropbox has launched a new subscription option, Dropbox Professional, which brings Smart Sync business features to individual workers for the first time.

The addition allows users to store and access their files in the cloud -- without the need to back them up on their hard drive.

Announcing the new subscription in a blog post, Dropbox said Professional users will be able to store, share and track their work from one place -- as well as take advantage of brand new feature Dropbox Showcase.

"Showcase gives you a new way to present your work in a single, professionally branded page--a great tool for designers, salespeople, and marketing pros," Dropbox said. "Instead of burying your work in a pile of links or email attachments, Showcase lets you tell a story."

With Showcase, users can stamp their brand on the service by adding their logo and an introduction, whilst visual previews, customised layouts and captions allow for a clear and informative portfolio.

"What's more, Showcase lets you track how people interact with your work, so you can see things like who has--and hasn't--taken a look," Dropbox added. "Instead of following up with countless emails, you can rest easy knowing exactly what your clients have seen."

Windows and Mac users can upgrade to Dropbox Professional with 1TB of space for £19.99 per month - or a yearly subscription of £199.

Privacy measures

The Safe Harbour agreement guaranteeing the protection of EU data transferred to the US has been ruled invalid, after the European Court of Justice decided that America would value anti-terrorism measures over user privacy.

While data transfers from the EU to the US remain legal, US companies are now striving to re-examine how they can win customer trust by providing guarantees that EU citizens' data will not end up in the hands of the authorities.

The EU and US have until 31 January 2016 to agree on a new Safe Harbour deal, but Stephen Attree, managing partner at MLP Law, warns that in the meantime, even providing EU datacentres to store customers' data may not prove adequate if Microsoft does not overturn a court ruling that demands it give up emails stored on Dublin servers to the US authorities.

“This could mean any arrangements to replace the Safe Harbour arrangements, which were already under review before the ruling was made, may not be enough,” Attree says. “Guidance is awaited, but to be safe, businesses need to counsel caution as the cloud may not be the best place for their data.”

Box

CEO Aaron Levie has already come out to assure customers his company should be able to offer an EU storage facility by next year.

His company may leverage its partnership with IBM to use one or more of the latter's EU datacentres to store customer data.

Dropbox

Despite previously stating that an EU datacentre was not in its plans, Dropbox now says it is reviewing the consequences of the Safe Harbour ruling.

A statement from the company reads: “Dropbox is committed to upholding the security and privacy of customer data. We are currently reviewing the court’s decision in detail, and will continue partnering with our EU users and customers on their ongoing usage of our services.”

Google Drive

Google will rely on its European datacentres to provide adequate protection for customers without a valid Safe Harbour agreement. Just as for Box, this could prove mistaken if Microsoft's appeal against its own court ruling fails, but if a new Safe Harbour agreement is reached by the January deadline, it will prove a satisfactory stopgap.

Dropbox vs Box vs Google Drive: an overview

More and more people are choosing to store their files in the cloud, where they are often more secure than they would be sitting on a desktop hard drive, safe from computer crashes, and easier to share with colleagues and friends.

In fact, collaboration is one of the main drivers behind the adoption of file-sync-and-share services in the workplace, with many tools starting off being used by a few colleagues on a freemium basis, before they are adopted more widely.

But with plenty of products on the market, how do you know which one best meets your needs?

Read on to find out as Channel Pro compares three of the giants in the file-sharing space, Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, to see which one suits you the most.

Company backgrounds and funding

Box

Founded by young entrepreneur Aaron Levie in 2005, Box targeted the enterprise space from the start. It went public at the beginning of 2015, raising upwards of $175m to grow the business. Revenue stood at £42.4m in June 2015, though the business also made a net loss of £30m.

It counts 47,000 paying customers, including 51 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and some 37m users worldwide.

Dropbox

Credited as the company that popularised the concept of file-sharing, Dropbox started in 2007, working on a freemium model to hit 400m users around the globe in 2015, while its enterprise product, Dropbox Business, counted 150,000 paying customers as of September 2015.

Investors have poured a total $1.1bn into the business over six rounds, according to Crunchbase.

Google Drive

Google’s own cloud storage project launched relatively late, in 2012, but became an extremely popular tool partly thanks to the tech giant’s high profile as well as integrations with a wealth of other Google products.

As of September 2014, Drive had 240m users, according to Fortune, and Google claimed it has a million organisations paying for Drive in September 2015.

Dropbox vs Box vs Google Drive: storage tiers and pricing

Box

Box’s services are focused on the enterprise, but it also understands that enterprise take-up can start with individuals using the service for free.

Its most basic service, Personal, offers a generous 10GB of storage along with a 250MB cap on any file size - plenty for files, but more of an issue for those saving videos and seriously hi-res images to their account. Personal Pro – at £7 a month – offers users 100GB storage and a maximum file size of 5GB.

Business users have a choice of three offerings, with a £3.50 per month Starter package giving 100GB of storage, a 2GB max file transfer size, and mobile sync and share capabilities.

Aimed at groups of three to 10 people, it also offers document encryption, external collaboration, and gives IT the ability to manage users and decide who can access what files.

Its Business offering, meanwhile, is for a minimum three users, and for £11 per user per month gives you unlimited storage, a 5GB cap on file transfers, enterprise mobility management capabilities, and integrates with Microsoft Office 365.

If you need even more from your file-sharing tool, Enterprise may be for you. This is Box's premium offering, and includes all Business-level features as well as Box's highest level of content security and management software, workflow automation and control of users' metadata. Instead of standard pricing, anyone interested should contact Box to find out costs.

Dropbox

Dropbox Basic starts with 2GB of free storage, but you can grab yourself up to 16GB more space by referring friends to the service. A big bonus on Dropbox is that its apps don't put any size restrictions on file transfers – even the browser version will allow anything up to 10GB through in one go.

For £7.99 per month (or £79 per year), Pro will give you a whole terabyte of storage space, and will share file links with anyone - whether they have Dropbox or not. It also boasts Office 365 integration and a remote wipe function for lost devices.

Meanwhile, you can set passwords and expiry dates for shared links, as well as managing permissions for any shared folders you control, giving you an extra layer of security on top of the Basic offering.

In September 2015, both these products benefitted from a ‘for work’ facelift that will let you create team folders, switch between personal and work accounts, and create custom lists of users to share files with.

Dropbox for Business now has 150,000 users, the company claims, and is designed for businesses where upwards of 100 people will use the service.

Starting at £11 per month for each of at least five users, extra functionality includes unlimited storage, the ability to manage employee accounts, limit who can access what folders, and the ability to connect personal and work accounts.

Google Drive

Drive gives you 15GB free storage – such a generous amount that it might meet your needs entirely - but if you find you do need more, it offers tiered pricing here on out (though only in US dollars). For 100GB, you'll pay $1.99 a month, 1TB is $9.99 per month, 10TB comes at $99.99 per month, 20TB is priced at $199.99 per month and 30TB will set you back $299.99 per month.

There is no annual pricing, but the big benefit of Drive is its integration with Google Docs - an online set of document editing tools, including a word processor, spreadsheet software, and PowerPoint-esque application.

Google Photos is another integration, letting you throw photos into albums, but it's worth bearing in mind that Drive shares its initial 15TB allowance with Photos and Gmail.

Any user with a Google Apps for Work account gets a default 30GB of storage, while those who upgrade to Google Apps Unlimited get unlimited storage, or 1TB per user for four or less individuals.

Apps for Work admins can buy extra Drive storage licenses, assigning them to specific users, and individuals can buy more storage space for themselves.

Dropbox vs Box vs Google Drive: Channel strategy

Box

The enterprise file-sharing company inked a deal with IBM in June 2015 to offer IBM customers access to Box, and to give Box customers access to IBM’s supercomputer-powered Watson Analytics.

The pair have plans to develop new products aimed at specific verticals, too, and let developers integrate Box APIs into enterprise apps and web services under IBM's MobileFirst initiative.

When it comes to Box’s own approach to the channel, it has two main models, its VP of sales and alliances, Wayne Cook, tells Channel Pro.

Firstly, it offers “significant margins” to sales partners who either resell Box or refer opportunities to Box that the company then closes directly.

Its other model is aimed at resellers like service partners and systems integrators who offer their own services on top of the file-sharing product.

“It could be change management around new processes as businesses transform into digital businesses,” says Cook. “A lot of that requires services around improving processes for efficiency, so a partner can start that change process, help them deploy new automated processes within Box as a platform, new applications built on top of Box on the content layer, integrations into existing systems and the like.”

Another approach has been to wrap Box into other offerings.

“We've just been able to get into partners actually providing services to third-party customers based on Box. They will develop an application of which Box is a component of that app,”Cook explains.

“You talk about O2, they have a bundle of digital services they sell wrapped around their mobile offerings, they would be very interested in the resell component of that.”

Dropbox

Dropbox declined to share its channel plans with Channel Pro, but the company’s quick rise came partly thanks to giving free storage to users who persuaded their friends to use the service, something it still does today.

The firm has also relied on deals with the likes of Samsung and Vodafone to pre-load its app onto their new phone models in order to grow in other markets.

However, it will focus on its in-house sales teams, rather than partners, to grow its European business user base, Fortune reported in April 2015.

Google Drive

Drive is also sold through the Google Apps for Work partner programme, with 10,000 resellers already distributing the toolset.

They are encouraged to provide add-on services to Apps for Work, such as consulting, deployment, training, support, vendor integration, security management, mobile-device management.

While Google bills customers directly, it doesn't interfere with partners’ pricing of their own services.

Premier partners, who get exclusive sales and marketing opportunities, must show competency in Google Apps through consistent customer success, an investment in certified professionals and joint marketing.

What’s the best cloud storage?

Previous news

25/09/2017

Google is retiring its Google Drive desktop app

Google is officially shutting down its Google Drive desktop app on 12 March 2018, with support to be cut off on 11 December, the company has confirmed.

If you're a Drive user, from October you will begin to receive notifications about the change - along with options to switch to either the Backup & Sync app or Google's new Drive File Stream for enterprise users.

Released back in July, the relatively new Backup & Sync app provides general users with a direct replacement for both the old Google Drive and Google Photos apps, offering all the functionality and tools as its predecessors.

The second option is the new Drive File Stream app, which will be fully available from 26 September. Drive File Stream is designed to save storage space on your device, whilst also providing quick access to all of your Google Drive-stored files - without long syncing times.

"[The Google Drive app] will no longer be supported starting on December 11th, 2017, and it will shut down completely on March 12th, 2018," Google said in a blog post earlier this month.

"We encourage you to use Drive File Stream. As an alternative to or in addition to installing Drive File Stream, you can upgrade to the new version of Drive for Mac/PC, called Backup and Sync."

08/09/2017

Dropbox Paper now includes document previews and other updates

Dropbox Paper users can now preview documents before opening them and utilise a host of new design tool integrations, following the latest round of updates to the service.

As well as previewing files, users of the collaborative note-taking tool can also now move Paper documents to and from freshly created folders on their mobile device, as well as delete and archive files straight from their phone or tablet.

The company has also made it possible to embed Invision and Figma content into Paper documents, whilst a new API endpoint makes it easy for developers to create and edit Paper documents in third party applications.

In addition, Dropbox has refreshed its homepage to further improve document tracking and organisation. Users will now see more information regarding their documents -- including unread activity such as comments, mentions and shares.

The homepage now also displays files and Paper documents that have been recently uploaded, edited, viewed or starred, regardless of the platform the actions where performed on.

The Dropbox enhancements follow hot on the heels of rival service G Suite from Google, which recently rolled out improved collaborative tools and a refreshed version control bar.

24/08/2017

New Google integration brings AI to Box

Cloud storage service Box has announced a new partnership with Google Cloud Vision, bringing advanced machine learning and image recognition to enterprise content.

Available now in private beta, Box says this integration allows businesses to improve their workflows and take advantage of advanced insights into unstructured content.

"Organisations today have no way to extract insights from the massive amounts of unstructured data that are essential to their business, missing a huge opportunity to drive innovation, efficiency, and cost savings," said Box CEO Aaron Levie.

"By combining the machine learning capabilities of Google Cloud with the critical data businesses manage and secure in Box, we are enabling our customers - for the first time - to unlock tremendous new value from their content, digitise manual workflows, and accelerate business processes."

Images are the fastest-growing category of unstructured content stored using Box and the new, Google-powered AI allows businesses to "revolutionise" how they manage them, Box said.

Users can leverage the technology to retrieve important data from images, including individual objects and text through optimal character recognition (OCR) - as well as the ability to add notes and keyword labels for improved filtering.

It also offers faster detection of any quality control issues, Box said, along with enhanced team collaboration through a single project search stream and the creation of digital asset management (DAM) repositories using metadata and saved searches.

08/05/2017

Dropbox announces end of Hackpad service

Dropbox has announced it is closing its browser-based document editor Hackpad, the start-up it acquired back in 2014.

The cloud storage firm says its new Dropbox Paper service is effectively replacing Hackpad by building on its best features and adding new tools, such as improved security, faster searching and improved team visibility.

The collaboration service will close permanently on 19th July, with all Hackpad documents set to be automatically transferred to Dropbox Paper before that date. Users can also choose to migrate sooner or, alternatively, export everything to a zip file.

Those that no longer wish to use the service at all can simply opt out and have their data deleted on Hackpad's closing date.

In a message to users, Hackpad founder and Dropbox Paper lead Igor Kofman said user input has helped shape Dropbox Paper.

"That feedback has been really helpful for designing Dropbox Paper - a product inspired by the Hackpad community," he said. "With millions of docs created by teams around the world, Paper is off to an exciting start.

"Paper takes many of Hackpad's best features - like instant collaboration, comments, and real-time editing - and adds a lot more, including additional security features, faster search and more visibility for teams."

27/04/2017

Box introduces flexible new pricing tiers

Box has revised its Box Platform storage prices in a bid to help developers and businesses better predict their monthly storage costs.

Customers will now be able to choose between three tier options - Starter, Pro and Custom - that Box believes will provide better scalability, customisability and predictability for companies.

Each subscription choice offers different levels of resources for a fixed monthly cost - incorporating MAUs, API calls, bandwidth and storage use - while different subscription lengths can also be chosen.

Box said the revamped pricing options allow Platform to better cater for a range of businesses, from start-ups to larger, more established companies.

"We've combined the best qualities from various pricing models to reduce the friction for businesses of any size to start building on Box Platform," said Jeetu Patel, senior vice-president at Box Platform. "On the one hand, emerging businesses and startups need flexible pricing that makes it easy to scale as their company grows. On the other hand, enterprise buyers prefer predictability to simplify planning."

He added: "Box platform now offers the best of both worlds, changing the game in cloud content management and making it easier than ever before for developers to create engaging and immersive new experiences around content in their applications."

Box will continue to offer its free Developer tier, so developers are able to experiment with its APIs.

10/04/2017

Dropbox launches new and improved website

Dropbox has rolled out a redesigned website that places greater emphasis on collaboration and team conversations.

Announcing the interface overhaul in a blog post, the company detailed a number of key new elements designed to improve user experience and enhance "sharing relationships".

"Dropbox.com is designed to bring your files to life with team-first functionality - so it's not just a place for your files, but for people and conversations, too," Dropbox said.

A new, simplified navigation system now makes it easier to share files and Paper documents, leave feedback and track changes to documents, minimising time spent tracking edits via email. The toolbar has also been redesigned to show only the relevant steps for the file selected.

More information about each document is now available at a glance, with a new thumbnail view allowing users to browse visually - whilst each file and folder also displays the names of other collaborators. Improvements to the search function also make it easier to find required files and Dropbox Paper documents.

Improved account separation now makes it simpler to switch between work and personal accounts, too, with users now only seeing notifications and search results for the account there are working in.

Dropbox additionally teased a refresh of its admin console that will be launching "soon". With a cleaner and more streamlined design, the console will "simplify the way Dropbox Business admins manage their team," the company said.

28/12/2016

Google Drive adds annual payment with discounts

Google Drive has now added yearly subscription options.

Until now, users of the cloud service have only had the option to pay for their storage allowance on a monthly basis. Now, customers can save 16-17 percent by switching to the new annual payment plans.

The annual subscription option is available for the 100GB ($19.99 per year) and 1TB ($99.99 per year) plans, meaning customers save $3.89 and $19.89 respectively. However, users requiring the larger 10, 20 or 30TB options will still need to pay monthly.

The new discounted prices mean that Google Drive now offers the same rates as rival Dropbox for the two storage options.  

As Android Police notes, however, the Google Drive support page has not yet been updated to show the new yearly payment pricing – and the plans are not yet appearing on Google Apps accounts just yet either.

Users currently paying for their storage on a monthly plan can switch to annual payments via their Google Account settings.

09/12/2016

Offline folders rolling out for Dropbox mobile

Dropbox has announced new offline folder support for its mobile apps.

It means premium users will soon be able to save documents locally for easy offline access, eliminating problems that can arise in areas of poor connectivity.

The feature aims to boost productivity when working in remote locations - with users simply needing to select the new "Make Available Offline" option for files or folders. Once selected, the app will then sync the requested file or folder to the users' device.

"This feature has been a top request from users," Dropbox explained in a blog post, "so we're excited to bring it to our Dropbox Pro, Business and Enterprise customers."

It added: "With mobile offline folders, you can tag an entire folder to have its contents automatically synced to your phone or tablet - no need to mark individual files for download. Just open Dropbox while you're connected to the internet, and the app will take care of the rest. "

The addition will also allow the cloud storage company to better compete with rival services - such as Google Drive - that already include the function on their apps.

Offline folders will roll out to Dropbox Pro and Business users on Android over the next few days, the company says, while iOS users will receive the feature "early next year".

10/11/2016

Box partners with Skyhigh Networks

Box has announced a new partnership with cloud security firm Skyhigh Networks.

The two will work together to provide greater control for users storing data in the cloud, allowing them to identify and automatically classify sensitive data. Thanks to the new partnership, it will also be possible to implement collaboration control policies - with no change in customer behaviour required.

John Fran, Senior Director at of Product management at Box, said: "As Box Trust Partner of the Year, Skyhigh helps our joint customers address security and compliance challenges at scale.

"Skyhigh's integration with Box for security classification is a powerful solution that enables businesses to enforce granular policy decisions across thousands of users and millions of documents globally."

Research from Skyhigh Networks found that 18 percent of files uploaded to Box contained sensitive data - such as credit card details and health information.

Now, Skyhigh is able to apply data classification to files uploaded to Box (including those previously stored). For example, if a document being uploaded contains protected health information, it is classified automatically -- preventing those without the required authorisation to access the file.

Chris Cesio, VP of Business Development and Channel at Skyhigh Networks, said: "Companies are flocking to Box not only for a powerful work tool, but for superior security.

"With Skyhigh and Box Governance, our joint customers can create a secure collaboration platform that the security and compliance teams love just as much as business users."

More previous news

04/11/2016: Google Drive to end XP and Vista support

Google Drive will no longer support Windows XP or Vista, the company has announced.

The desktop app will cease support for the older Windows iterations on 1st January 2017 - as well as Windows Server 2003.

Google has encouraged users to upgrade to a newer version of Windows in order to take advantage of a maintained Google Drive. The current app will continue to work for XP and Vista users, but potential security flaws will no longer be fixed.

Should users not wish to upgrade, the website version of Google Drive can still be used, as long as the browser supports its features.

In a blog post, Google said: "Today, we're announcing that on January 1, 2017 we will discontinue support for the Google Drive desktop app on Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 since these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft.

"The Google Drive desktop app (officially: "Google Drive for Mac/PC") will continue to function on these platforms, but will not be actively tested or maintained.

"If you are still on one of these unsupported platforms, we encourage you to move to a newer version of Windows to continue using Google Drive desktop app."

The move follows Dropbox's decision to end support for the operating systems back in April.

11/10/2016: Privacy Shield certification for Dropbox

Dropbox now has Privacy Shield certification, the company has announced.

The accreditation means customers' data will now be protected when transferred from the EU to the United States.

Dropbox had previously relied upon the former EU-US data transfer agreement, Safe Harbour, but the guidelines were scrapped in October 2015 after being declared invalid.

After lengthy negotiations, the new Privacy Shield framework was introduced back in July - and companies have been able to certify themselves since 1st August.

Philip Lacor, EMEA Vice President at Dropbox, said: "Dropbox is committed to protecting the privacy and security of customer data, which is why we welcomed the adoption of the new EU-US Privacy Shield framework providing another mechanism for the transfer of personal data from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the US.

"We applied early to be certified under Privacy Shield and are delighted to announce that we have now received certification."

The European Commission has, however, stated that companies that transfer data from the EU to the US must also abide by the EU's own data protection laws.

Lacor continued: "Protecting our customers' privacy and keeping data secure is our highest priority. In addition to offering technical measures like encrypting files in transit and at rest, we were also one of the first major cloud service providers to achieve the ISO 27018 certification, a global standard for cloud privacy and data protection."

"We will work hard to maintain our Privacy Shield commitments and look forward to the success of the program," Lacor said.

"We support the new framework as a means to protect individual privacy while enabling users and businesses to benefit from the free flow of data that is so critical to the global economy."

16/09/2016: Box announces new Google and Microsoft partnerships

Box has announced improvements for its storage app, with new Google and Microsoft partnerships allowing for a more streamlined user experience.

The cloud-based file storage company is incorporating improved integration of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides to the platform – meaning users will be able to edit documents within the Box app and save them to the cloud.

Support for Google’s enterprise search engine Springboard will also be included within the app and will allow users to search through Gmail, Docs, Calendar and Drive. Additionally, the new partnership means that users can also search through their own Box documents. 

Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie said at the company’s BoxWorks conference: “New, simple and powerful connections between Box, Google Docs and Google can power better ways to work in the cloud.

“The combination of Box’s enterprise content platform with Google’s world-class cloud technology will help businesses of all sizes unlock productivity across their organisations.”

Box has also built on its existing Microsoft Office 365 support, with users now able to annotate documents from within the Box application.

Users will also be able to view a timeline of activity for each document – meaning easier tracking and improved transparency.

There is also a new viewer for Excel documents, similarly allowing for editing within the Box app. 

In a company blog post, Levie said: “Instead of having different experiences and tools for all of your content, now all of this information can come together in a central place - the all new Box.

“You don't have to worry about losing great work to a battle with version control or important processes being disconnected from the documents and the teams responsible for them, or important ideas being inaccessible by the right people, at the right time.”

18/08/2016: Dropbox looks to go public following $600 million cash injection

Dropbox is apparently planning to float on the stock market in 2017 after announcing it has raised $600 million from various investors in the last few years.

The news comes after Bloomberg spoke to people "familiar with the matter", who told the news agency Dropbox has met with advisors to talk about the possibility of an IPO.

"The conversations were exploratory and no final decision has been made on a potential IPO, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private," Bloomberg said.

Despite having a strong customer base, Dropbox is yet to make a profit. It's free cash-flow-positive, meaning it's in a strong position, but many critics say it's not worth the $10 billion valuation.

With a business customer base of 200,000, the future looks bright for Dropbox, whether it makes the decision to float on the stock market or not.

08/08/2016: Google Drive goes down

Google Drive's cloud storage and file backup service has gone down for many of its customers, although it said only around 1.5 per cent of its customers were affected.

The service was down for around three hours and Google hasn't yet revealed why those users were unable to access their files.

"We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support," the company said. "Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

26/04/16

Dropbox debuts Project Infinite to allow easier desktop access to files

Dropbox has unveiled Project Infinite, which it claims “fundamentally reimagines how teams find, access, and collaborate with large amounts of data in their Dropbox.”

The firm says the tools that many people use on to access their data like corporate file servers and newer, browser-based solutions aren’t suited to the way modern collaborative teams work. Project Infinite, it says, will allow users will be able to access all their company files in Dropbox from the desktop, regardless of the size of their hard drives.

“The amount of information being created and shared has exploded, but most people still work on devices with limited storage capacity,” says Genevieve Sheehan, Dropbox project manager. “While teams can store terabyte upon terabyte in the cloud, most individuals’ laptops can only store a small fraction of that. Getting secure access to all the team’s data usually means jumping over to a web browser, a clunky user experience at best.

“Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives. Everything in the company’s Dropbox that you’re given access to, whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, will show up in Dropbox on your desktop. If it’s synced locally, you’ll see the familiar green checkmark, while everything else will have a new cloud icon.”

With project Infinite, every file you’ve been given access to—even ones that aren’t stored locally—will appear in Windows File Explorer and Mac OS X Finder. The firm claims you can drill down through folders to find what you need, without the lag of a network drive or the inconvenience of a web app. Plus, you can view key info like file size, and creation and modification dates through your desktop file system, no downloading required.

Files and folders stored in the cloud can be organised via drag-and-drop from the desktop. And when you need to open something from the cloud, just double-click it like any other file. Dropbox will automatically sync and open the file for you.

Project Infinite also supports cross-platform access and backwards-compatibility on any computer running Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.9 and up. IT teams can bring the power of Project Infinite to the systems they manage and you can share and collaborate with ease.

12/04/16

Box Zones unveiled to help European firms get around data storage laws

Box has announced Box Zones, which it says provide enterprises with the choice to store data regionally across Europe and Asia.

By tapping Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM Cloud, Box Zones will allow content in Box to be stored in Germany, Ireland, Singapore and Japan based on customer needs.

Box Zones is scheduled to be available in May for an additional fee and leverages Amazon S3 on AWS Regions in Germany, Ireland, Japan and Singapore. Box Zones is also scheduled to be available via IBM Cloud in Europe and Asia later this year for an additional fee.

“We believe customers should have the freedom to choose where and how their data is stored,” comments Terry Wise, VP of worldwide partner ecosystem, Amazon Web Services. “With Box Zones leveraging Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), customers can better meet the highest levels of security and regulatory compliance required in their respective geographies.”

“As enterprises turn to cloud as an innovation platform, data is at the center,” says Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud. “Box Zones on the IBM Cloud, with new technology from the recent acquisition of Cleversafe, will provide a platform for clients who prefer to store data in country for performance, security or other advantages. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Box and helping serve clients in Europe and Asia through our network of IBM Cloud Data Centers.”

08/03/16

OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive leading cloud storage pack in EMEA

According to a new survey that explores IT professionals’ use of cloud-based storage and collaboration, Microsoft OneDrive has been deployed by 31 percent of organisations in EMEA, followed by Dropbox at 30 percent and Google Drive at 21 percent.

The report by Spiceworks also says OneDrive will see the most growth in the next 12 months with an additional 22 percent of IT pros in EMEA considering it for use. When respondents in EMEA were asked to identify which cloud storage and file sharing providers their employees are using without IT approval, 72 percent said Dropbox, 60 percent said Google Drive, and 47 percent said OneDrive. 

When IT professionals in North America and EMEA were asked to detail how they perceive cloud providers, Google Drive was most frequently associated with the top two purchase drivers (cost-effectiveness and reliability), but Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox followed closely behind. When it comes to security, OneDrive and Google Drive tied for the lead.

Notably, a significant number of IT professionals didn’t strongly associate any brand with quality customer support.

16/02/16

Box lays off employees in efficiency drive

Box has reduced its UK workforce, as the cloud company tries to become “more efficient”.

Channel Pro’s sister title, Cloud Pro, reports the recent lay-offs amount to around 10 percent of its London-based staff.

As of December 2013, Box had 100 employees based in its London office, which first opened in 2012.

The file-sharing firm said a desire to realign resources was behind the reduction.

Says a Box spokesman: “We have decided to realign our resources between the global and regional offices to be more efficient in our go-to-market strategy. The restructure has resulted in us reducing some regional positions in the UK office.”

Cloud Pro understands the redundancies affect all divisions, including sales and marketing.

Read more here.

15/02/16

Dropbox invests in European business

Dropbox has announced a series of investments in its European business

The firm announced in December it planned to start hosting customer data in local markets in 2016 – it has just confirmed that the data will be hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Germany from Q3 of this year.

In his blog, Thomas Hansen, global VP of sales & channel at Dropbox, said the vendor was committed to the security and privacy of customer data. “We appreciate the hard work of the US and European negotiators to reach a deal regarding transatlantic data transfers and we look forward to hearing more about the “Privacy Shield” agreement in the coming weeks.”

Approximately 75 percent of Dropbox users are outside of the US and the firm says “a significant portion” of that usage is by European businesses and consumers.

Dropbox has also opened a new office in Amsterdam, following its Dublin HQ and offices in London in Paris opened in 2015. In addition it plans to open an office in Hamburg to serve the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) market.

27/01/16

Dropbox announces MS Office integration

Dropbox has announced further integration with Microsoft.

As of today Dropbox users can start working with collaborators on the same Office document – right from their browser. Using Office Online, they’ll be able to see what changes team-mates are making as they make them and communicate with them using comments.

They can also share Dropbox docs straight from Outlook. Files stored in Dropbox will soon be available as attachments within the new Outlook.com. Files can be sent as traditional attachments, or as links to Dropbox.

Office Online co-authoring integration is live today, and Dropbox sharing in the new Outlook.com will be available in the next few weeks.

19/01/16

Box expands IBM deal; Dropbox offers users P2P

In December 2015, Box extended its strategic partnership with IBM (first signed in June 2015) to ensure the pair can work together for at least 10 years.

“IBM and Box are committed to delivering world-class solutions that transform how businesses work,” said Box CEO Aaron Levie.

Big Blue is bringing Box’s expertise to bear on its latest product, IBM Case Manager, which gives case workers access to all sorts of data - from within their company but also including social media and other information.

Box also helped develop IBM Datacap, which is able to lift information from images of documents for users to use them in other applications.

Meanwhile, Dropbox has successfully applied for a patent for peer-to-peer synchronisation, allowing people to bypass its storage servers to share files directly with one another.

Users can collaborate on the files too without them needing to be hosted by Dropbox, under the patent.

Dropbox explained: “Peer-to-peer distributed sharing of the content items in such an online content management system can eliminate bottlenecks, thereby increasing the speed at which the content items can be shared among the individuals.”

It also mitigates the risk of external parties, like hackers or governments, being able to steal files stored with a cloud service.

However, the nature of P2P means that any file changes made by one person would not automatically be visible to the person they were collaborating with.

Dropbox's patent tries to solve this issue by including details of a cryptographic key, which would let them see if they have the latest version of the file or not.

07/12/15

Dropbox claims 5x faster sync time than rivals

Dropbox is claiming a technical lead over its competitors with an independent technology assessment firm finding it is 5x faster than the other solutions evaluated. When comparing averaged sync times head to head, Dropbox for Business was 9.7x faster than Box, 4.7x faster than OneDrive for Business and 2.3x faster than Google Drive.

17/11/15

Box releases Windows 10 version

Box has now released a Windows 10 version of its app, with new features including the ability to receive updates on document changes as they happen, via the Windows notification centre.

Available in the Windows store for PCs and tablets, the app will also have a smartphone version available once Microsoft releases a Windows 10 operating system for mobile.

Dropbox has also signed a deal for Hewlett Packard Enterprise to become a premier reseller, while Ingram Micro and Synnax are now distribution partners.

It has also launched the Dropbox Partner Network to grow its presence in the enterprise space. It allows partners to connect their own applications to Dropbox, offering them APIs to do so.

The network also offers Premier partners enhanced technical resources, marketing development funds, and lead referral bonuses.

Dropbox launches Enterprise storage

Dropbox has also introduced a new tier of cloud storage, titled Enterprise.

Designed to compete with Box's own Enterprise offering, the service boasts more deployment tools, more advanced controls, as well as the features offered in the Dropbox Business product.

An API integrates Enterprise with a company's existing IT systems, while the company's own platform team will help with any custom integrations required. Administrators can migrate existing Dropbox users from their current tiers over to Enterprise with domain verification and account capture tools.

28/10/15

Schools given Dropbox guidance

According to the BBC, some schools in London are being issued advice about using Dropbox and other cloud products among fears about using them following the Safe Harbour ruling (below).

“There’s no new and immediate threat to individuals’ personal data that's suddenly arisen that we need to act quickly to prevent,” the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) told the BBC.

Confusion over what is and is not permitted caused Lewisham Council’s information and communications technology chief to email his colleagues last week.

“If you still use Dropbox as a quick-win cloud storage solution for your school please consider that recent changes in rulings regarding the validity of the Safe Harbour Agreement means that data stored outside the EU is now officially at risk for EU based Data Owners - ie schools in the UK!” wrote Neil Iles.

“Please do consider the prompt migration of your data away from Dropbox or other non-EU cloud data services (watch out for iPad Apps that store data in the cloud too!) Currently your data and your ability to demonstrate compliance with the Data Protection Act are at risk by using these non-EU services.”

Dropbox, however, says it has adopted model clause contracts to ensure its EU customers can continue using its service

“We were one of the first, and are still one of the only, major cloud service providers to achieve ISO 27018 certification – a global standard for cloud privacy and data protection,” says a spokesman.

“Along with the rest of the industry, we eagerly await guidance from the European Commission on the revised Safe Harbour framework, which will help determine the most effective long-term solutions.”

20/09/2016

Box Zones unveiled to help European firms get around data storage laws 

Box has announced Box Zones, which it says provide enterprises with the choice to store data regionally across Europe and Asia.

By tapping Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM Cloud, Box Zones will allow content in Box to be stored in Germany, Ireland, Singapore and Japan based on customer needs.

Box Zones is scheduled to be available in May for an additional fee and leverages Amazon S3 on AWS Regions in Germany, Ireland, Japan and Singapore. Box Zones is also scheduled to be available via IBM Cloud in Europe and Asia later this year for an additional fee.

“We believe customers should have the freedom to choose where and how their data is stored,” comments Terry Wise, VP of worldwide partner ecosystem, Amazon Web Services. “With Box Zones leveraging Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), customers can better meet the highest levels of security and regulatory compliance required in their respective geographies.”

“As enterprises turn to cloud as an innovation platform, data is at the center,” says Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud. “Box Zones on the IBM Cloud, with new technology from the recent acquisition of Cleversafe, will provide a platform for clients who prefer to store data in country for performance, security or other advantages. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Box and helping serve clients in Europe and Asia through our network of IBM Cloud Data Centers.”

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