Box woos the enterprise with more security features, partnerships

Network 2011 - Aaron Levie - Co-Founder and CEO, Box

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 Salesforce.com, Microsoft et al.  Those are tough straits to navigate and Box relies on partnerships with big enterprise companies – IBM, Oracle 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.

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