How can I create a group (non-personal) Box account?

Non-personal Box accounts enable groups, teams, departments, and organizations to use Box for collaboration on approved university data without tying ownership of the content to an individual's personal Box account.

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Non-personal accounts

In the context of Box, group accounts might be better described as "non-personal accounts", in that they refer to accounts that do not represent an individual user but rather a group, project, or collection of users. Non-personal accounts are designed to address issues of ownership and the quota impact of institutional data.

UITS has developed two types of non-personal Box accounts to provide departments, units, and groups a space to collaborate around data that belong to the university or a collection of people rather than to an individual. All institutional data in Box should be in folders owned by non-personal accounts.

  Group Account Organizational Account
Eligible groups Student organizations, project teams, and departments that, in consultation with their IT and Data Managers, decide a stand-alone, non-personal Box account is the best fit Top-level university organizations (e.g., the College of Arts & Sciences, a regional campus, a school, or a core administrative unit
Requesting an account Anyone may submit the request, but the group account owner must approve the request The organization's registered IT Manager must submit the request
Storage allocation Unlimited Unlimited
Best practice account setup Account owner's responsibility UITS Box team's responsibility
Account maintenance
(including designating co-owners)
Account owner's responsibility Registered IT Manager's responsibility
Policy compliance Account owner's responsibility Registered IT Manager's responsibility

Group Accounts

Student organizations, project teams, and smaller university units use standard university group computing accounts for a variety of reasons. The creation of Box accounts can be enabled for these accounts. Box Group Accounts (GAs) are not enabled by default; they must be requested and approved before they are enabled. They also are subject to usage review and may be disabled if they become inactive.

Box will send notifications to the email address associated with your group account. Ensure you can receive email at that account before you request a corresponding Box group account.

Requesting an account

Anyone may submit the request to enable a Box Group account, but the group account owner (e.g., the faculty sponsor or project lead) must approve the request.

  1. To submit a request, use the Box Group Account request form. If prompted, log in using your personal IU Network ID credentials (i.e., don't log in with your group account's username and passphrase).
  2. Once the request is approved, log into IU Box with the group account username and passphrase, which will automatically create the GA.

Best practices

To ensure orderly maintenance and security of Box GAs, owners should adhere to the following best practices:

  • Immediately after logging into the IU Box service with the group credentials for the first time, make sure the account's profile information is accurate. The account name is the name users will see as the owner of the group's content. See At IU, how do I update my Box profile information?
  • Create a root-level folder named for the group. All content for the organization should be stored inside this folder. This is the folder co-owners will see in their personal Box accounts.
  • Invite a minimum of two GA co-owners (GACOs) to your group's root-level folder. You should invite at least one full-time faculty or staff member, preferably the account owner.
  • GACOs should log into their personal Box accounts to create and manage subfolders, collaborations, and content. GACOs should avoid logging in with the group account credentials when performing routine management tasks for the Box GA.
  • GACOs are responsible for managing membership changes and transfers of ownership whenever a change in co-ownership occurs. If both GACOs must change, IU Box administrators can help you remove them from the GA and assign new GACOs. To request help, contact your campus Support Center.
  • The group account passphrase may be shared only among that account's GACOs. The passphrase must be changed every two years, at least, or whenever any of the GACOs vacates the relevant role, job, or functional unit. All policies, standards, and best practices for protecting IU passphrases apply; see At IU, how can I keep my passphrase secure?
  • If the group currently has content in folders owned by personal Box accounts, transfer ownership of those folders to the GA; see In Box, how do I transfer ownership of content to an organizational or group Box account?

Organizational Accounts

Box Organizational Accounts (OAs) are intended for use by top-level university organizations as a collaboration element within a complete organizational file management strategy while maintaining their data oversight responsibilities. Box OAs should not be used as a substitute for long-term departmental storage needs.

Requesting an account

  • A Box OA may only be requested by a registered IT Manager ("LA" as listed in the IT Pro Database) at IUB and IUPUI, or by the Executive IT Director at regional campuses.
  • Each IT Manager or IT Director may request only one OA for all units he or she oversees.
  • Each organization (regional campus, school, or administrative unit) may only request one OA.
  • Each OA will require two Organizational Account co-owners (OACOs) who are full-time employees, one of whom must be the IT Manager.
  • OACOs should create personal Box accounts prior to submitting the OA request.
  • The OACOs are responsible for educating their organizational users regarding the appropriate use of the OA.

Submit your request via the Box Organizational Account request form.

The OA will be created with a root-level folder based on the organization and campus name, with the IT Manager and second co-owner designee as OACOs.

The folder will show up immediately in the co-owners' personal Box accounts. Notification will be sent when the accounts are ready to use. OACOs will hold the same rights as any Box folder owner; UITS is unable to assign local administration rights.

UITS recommends each organization be deliberate in selecting the files that are moved to the Box OA. Eliminate duplicate files and earmark long-term storage files for other solutions such as the Scholarly Data Archive.

Direct questions about the OA account creation process to The UITS Support Center is still the contact point for all Box support issues.

Best practices

In order to ensure orderly maintenance of the OA, OACOs will be asked to adhere to the following best practices:

  • OACOs will create organizational folder structure by means of subfolders under the root-level folder. Collaborators should only be added at the level where access is needed, no higher. See below for usage examples.
  • OACOs should turn off their own Box notifications for the OA top-level folder and all folders below.
  • UITS recommends that OACOs not sync organizational folders.
  • OACOs should work with each individual department/unit to set up its Box folder.
  • OACOs should assign a minimum of two local co-owners to the departmental/unit subfolders for department-level management of subfolder creation and collaborations.
  • In accordance with university and organizational policy, OACOs and unit Data Managers should educate department/unit staff on appropriate use of Box, including Box acceptable use responsibilities and differentiating which files belong in the Box OA and which in personal Box accounts.
  • If members of the organization leave their positions, OACOs should ensure they are removed from all Box OA collaborations as part of regular account cleanup procedures.
  • The IT Managers will be given the option to restrict all collaborations in their OA to individuals inside IU. This is an administrative setting that can be applied at the full account level only by the Box administrator. Send requests to
  • OACOs will be responsible for transfer of folder co-ownership at each level when personnel changes occur. In cases where both OACOs leave, IU Box administrators can assist in their removal from the OA and assignment of new OACOs.
  • Once the folder structure is in place, UITS can assist OACOs in shifting ownership of folders containing university data to the appropriate folders in the OA. For directions on changing ownership, see In Box, how do I transfer ownership of content to an organizational or group Box account? To request assistance, contact the Support Center.

Usage examples

It is important to give thought to your folder structure in a Box OA or hybrid OA/GA situation. It is not recommended to equate Box folders with traditional hierarchical folders on a file server or to reflect an organizational hierarchy. Box employs a "waterfall" permission structure. This means that all collaborators on a folder have the same, or better, permission on any subfolders below. A large organization using an OA may wish to consider a hybrid OA/GA approach in order to maximize collaboration while not impeding innovation or creating content overload for leadership.

Organizational Account example

While folders may be used to organize subfolders, care should be taken when determining at which level collaborators are added. Only add collaborators at the lowest level in the folder structure where their access becomes necessary.

In the following example, the Robotics folder is only used to organize the other folders in the OA. Note the Robotics Department Chairs folder. This allows collaboration by that group without any overlapping permissions in the actual departmental folders. Box collaborative folders are best seen as working relationships. Different relationships require different folders.

This diagram shows how folders  might be organized for the Robotics department within the College of Technology.

Hybrid account example

Some large organizations may find the use of a single OA to be too restricting for their needs. They may have multiple groups that are heavy Box users, or simply have so many users that a more granular approach is necessary. In these cases, an organization could consider a hybrid approach, using both an OA and multiple GAs. In the example below, the organizational leadership structure, standing governance bodies, and administrative offices could be served in the Box OA, while individual groups, teams, or departments use Box GAs.

If the Box OA were built to reflect the organization's organizational chart, you would have the Vice President owning the top-level folder with his cabinet below him, each with their organization or directors, managers, and staff below them. The Vice President would potentially get notifications of all activity in the organization. Not only would this be overwhelming, but it could potentially stifle collaboration, defeating the underlying purpose of Box.

This diagram shows how folders might be organized within the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology.

This is document bdhb in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-11-17.

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