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12/15/2011
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Box Expands Filesharing Security Options

Security-conscious organizations can limit forwarding of filesharing links, track and limit access from different devices, incorporate Intel single sign-on

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Cloud document management specialist Box added several new security features Thursday, tightening control over how files are shared and adding two new integration options.

Box positions itself as a filesharing service that is easy and inexpensive enough for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), yet capable enough for the enterprise, including some big customers like Proctor & Gamble.

An emphasis on security has always been part of Box's story. "McAfee, one of the most security conscious businesses in the world, has gone through and certified and checked through our systems, and now they have Box and they threw out SharePoint," boasted Robin Daniels, head of enterprise product marketing at Box.

Box executives make a habit of taking jabs at SharePoint and Microsoft in general, but one element in this round of security updates is better integration with Microsoft Active Directory. Box will now be able to synchronize security parameters with Active Directory user groups, inheriting permissions and restrictions set by corporate security managers. Box is also integrating with Intel Expressway Cloud Access 360, a single sign-on product designed for cloud computing. Box customers using ECA 360 will have the option of using two-factor authentication, with a one-time password delivered to the user's phone as a text message.

[ Check out InformationWeek's new ValleyView Web show, featuring hot trends in IT. Our first episode featured Box.net CEO Aaron Levie taking on Microsoft. ]

Filesharing controls are also being enhanced. One of the easiest and most popular ways for Box users to share files and folders is by emailing a coded link to a collaborator. However, until now there was no way to prevent users from forwarding that link to anyone in the world, or posting it to a hacker message board. Now, a "smart shared link" feature makes it possible to restrict access to collaborators within a specific domain. With that setting, the link can still be forwarded, but access to the file or folder will not be granted unless the recipient has a verified email address associated with the specified domain.

Box also has updated a feature that tracks user access by device, browser, and IP address. "You can now track and manage all connections an end user has to Box," Daniels said. Previously, Box could log access by IP address. Now, administrators can impose restrictions on the number and type of devices a user can use to access company content, such as allowing access from a PC, a company-issued laptop, or an iPhone, but not from a home computer.

Also as part of this platform update, Box is increasing the pool of storage allocated to business account customers from 500 GB to 1 TB. "We want to make it easy not to worry about storage anymore," Daniels said. Enterprise customers already get unlimited storage on Box servers.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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