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How does Box compare to other enterprise and commercial storage solutions?

The following information provides a brief comparison of enterprise Box and other commonly used online storage services.

Important: Box at Indiana University is a flexible storage service and collaboration tool that is appropriate for use with personal files and institutional information classified as "Public" or "University-internal". However, Box is not acceptable for storing or sharing any institutional data classified as "Restricted" or "Critical", including electronic protected health information (ePHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For more, see:

On this page:


Comparing Box to other online storage services

Note: Superscript numbers in the following table are hyperlinked to additional information in the endnotes.


Service Granular permissions Native mobile app integration Cross-platform Default allotment Maximum file size Inline preview Permanent storage Offline sync

Box Yes Yes Yes 50 GB 10 GB (1) Yes Yes Yes
SharePoint Yes (with IU accounts) Yes (third-party on some platforms) Yes  (2) 20 GB 1 GB Office files Yes Windows only (SharePoint Workspace)
Oncourse Yes Web only Yes 1 GB 200 MB No Yes No
Slashtmp Yes Web only Yes 4 GB 2 GB No 30 days No
Dropbox No Yes Yes 2 GB 2 GB  (3) Yes Yes Yes
Google Drive Yes Yes Yes 15 GB 10 GB Yes  (4) Yes Yes

Endnotes: The following notes are referenced in the above information:

1  You should only upload one file larger than 5 GB at a time. To upload files larger than 5 GB, you will need a business-class Internet connection with connection speeds of at least 50 mbps. Currently, IE 10 has a file size limit of 4 GB per file, and IE 9, 8, and 7 have a limitation of 2 GB if the Flash plug-in is installed. These limitations do not apply if the Java uploader is used instead.

2  Mac users may have performance and compatibility issues (see Known issues and changes for the implementation of SharePoint 2010 at IU.

3  Files you upload using the desktop application or mobile apps have no maximum size limit. The maximum size limit when uploading from the web site is 10 GB. No upload may exceed the size of your account's storage quota.

4  You can view any file you upload or sync to Google Drive as long as it's no larger than 25 MB.

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Further comparison of Box and Dropbox

In response to questions from the IU community, additional comparisons between the Box and Dropbox services are provided below:


Attribute Box Dropbox

256-bit encrypted storage and transfer x x
Approved for university-internal data x  
Single sign-on with IU credentials x  
Role-based access levels for sharing x  
User chooses folders to sync x x
Custom URLs for shared folders x  
Threaded commenting and task assignment x  
Quota impact of shared folders Folder owner All collaborators
Full-text search x  
Download stats tracking and real-time update notifications x  
Microsoft Office and Outlook plug-ins (Windows) x  
Email-to-folder functionality x  

Additional considerations for IU users include:

  • IU has contractual protections for the Box service, including a prohibition on mining of IU data.

  • Although Box and Dropbox both have multiple integrated third-party apps, Box provides some apps that are approved for use with university-internal data.

For help considering departmental needs, contact IT Community Partnerships.

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The enterprise Box support content available here is a result of a collaborative effort by the Internet2 early adopter institutions.

This is document bbrs in domains all and box-all.
Last modified on April 16, 2014.

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