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Box woos the enterprise with more security features, partnerships

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In what will no doubt be just one in a series of security-related news blasts coming out of the RSA Conference this week, Box is unveiling a new set of features for its business-class cloud storage and file-share offering on Monday.

One example of the new Box security features is a tool to allow account administrators to block individual users from sharing a document or documents or creating folders outside the company, said Whitney Bouck, GM of Enterprise for the Los Altos, Calif., company.

Also new from Box:

  • Device pinning: Lets administrators authorize a specific device for Box, making it eligible to receive and view company documents.
  • Integration with Samsung KNOX mobile device management: All of Samsung’s upcoming mobile devices will ship with KNOX MDM which enables them to run dual personas: One device will support both a work and a personal profile for a given user. The work persona integrates and runs with Box applications. If the owner leaves the company, just that data will be wiped clean.
  • Support for CipherCloud and Code Green Networks data loss protection: Box already integrated with ProofPoint on DLP, now it adds CipherCloud and Code Green to its roster.
  • Integration with GoodData: This tie-in gives customers a dashboard across multiple applications — now including Box.

Box is making a big effort to solve what some think is the unsolvable bring your own device (BYOD) problem. Companies want employees to use their devices of choice but also want to control what they do with those devices. IT’s nightmare scenario is an accountant emailing herself work documents to a Gmail or Hotmail account or uploading them to Dropbox where they disappear from IT view and control. That kind of stuff happens all the time and poses huge compliance and risk issues.

A crowded cloud file-share-and-sync field

Box competes with Accellion, Egnyte, OwnCloud and others that focus on cloud-based file sync, share and store,  but also with bigger, broader companies that are adding similar capabilities to their own roster — hello, Microsoft et al.  Those are tough straits to navigate and Box relies on partnerships with big enterprise companies — IBM(s ibm), Oracle(s orcl) etc.– to boost its credibility in large accounts. But many of those same companies have their own competitive offerings as well.

Box has raised a ton of venture capital but it remains unclear how many of its claimed 15 million users actually move beyond the freemium version. A recent article in Forbes raised some eyebrows when it reported that 3 percent of those 15 million are paying customers. A Box spokesman would not verify that number but said the company experienced 150 percent year-over-year sales growth.

At some point, Box will have to talk about profitability, not just revenue or sales gains.

3 Responses to “Box woos the enterprise with more security features, partnerships”

  1. millenniagroup

    It would be nice to see Box solve this issue. It would make sales easier for all cloud storage suppliers because it will start to make users and IT departments more comfortable. We do advocate an approach that says employees should not store any documents or data on a local or personal device – all information to be stored in the company sponsored document management application or on company servers/cloud servers. But, we do understand that it is not possible to control 100% of the employees habits.

    I am impressed that they have garnered so many users, but the Freemium percentage is Very High. We just entered the same basic space with a new application –, and we went back and forth over how to charge for it. Ultimately we went with a free test period and several paying options, one of which is only $20/mos. The results so far are that it is difficult to get people to sign up period, so I applaud them on somehow getting 15 mm users even if most are free.

  2. Indus Khaitan

    There are different patterns of adoption and deployment between consumer and enterprise.

    Even enterprise is split and what is termed enterprise is actually SMB or mid-market if not. Large enterprises are complex, ridden with systems built over-time, federated identities, etc. It’d be a matter of time before self e-mailing of attachments gets turned over with sync.

    In my conversations with CIOs we face the impediment and they face the predicament every day — whether to lock horns with their workforce or bring the security a few notches down.

    Fun space to play though!