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

Non-personal Box accounts enable groups, teams, departments, and organizations to leverage 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 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 belongs to the university or to 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
Who is eligible
Student organizations, project teams, and departments who, in consultation with their IT and Data Managers, feel that a stand-alone Box account is the best fit
Top-level university organizations such as the College of Arts & Sciences, a regional campus, a school, or a core administrative unit
Who may request
Anyone may request, but group account owner must approve request
Registered IT Manager of organization
Storage allocation Unlimited Unlimited
Best practice account setup Account owner responsibility UITS Box team
Account maintenance responsibility, including designating co-owners
Account owner responsibility
Registered IT Manager of organization
Policy compliance responsibility
Account owner responsibility
Registered IT Manager of organization

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Group Accounts

Student organizations, project teams, and smaller university units leverage 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, but must be requested and approved before they are enabled. They will also be 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 the corresponding Box group account.

Requesting an account

  • Anyone may request a group account be enabled for Box, but the account owner must approve the request. The request form facilitates this process.
  • Once approved, the GA will be auto-provisioned by logging into https://box.iu.edu with the group account username and passphrase.

Submit your request via the Box Group Account request form; log into the form with your personal credentials, not the group account.

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Best practices

In order to ensure orderly maintenance and security of the Box GA, owners will be asked to adhere to the following best practices:

  • Immediately upon first login to https://box.iu.edu with the group credentials, ensure the account's profile information is up to date. The account name is the name that 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 held inside this folder. This is the folder that the co-owners will see in their personal Box accounts.
  • Invite a minimum of two GA co-owners (GACOs) to that root-level folder, including at least one full-time IU employee (faculty or staff), preferably the account owner.
  • Log out of the Box GA and have a GACO log into his or her personal account to manage subfolder creation, collaborations, and content creation. A Box GA should not be managed on a day-to-day basis through direct login with the group account credentials.
  • A passphrase for a group account may be shared only among that account's GACOs. It must be changed whenever any of the GACOs leaves that role, job, or functional unit, or every two years, whichever comes first. All policies, standards, and best practices for protecting passphrases apply.
  • GACOs will be responsible for maintenance of membership changes and transfer of ownership when there is a change in co-owners. In cases where both GACOs must change, IU Box administration can assist in their removal from the GA, and in assignment of new GACOs. To request assistance, contact the Support Center.
  • If the group currently has content in folders owned by personal Box accounts, transfer ownership of those folders to the group account; see In Box, how do I transfer ownership of content to an organizational or group Box account?

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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.
  • It is the OACOs' responsibility to educate their organizational users as to the appropriate use of the OA.

Submit your request via the Box Organizational Account request form, completing these required fields:

  • Organization name
  • Organization campus
  • Organization FTE count
  • IT Manager name
  • IT Manager IU email address
  • OA co-owner name
  • OA co-owner IU email address

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

Note: 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 boxinfo@iu.edu. The UITS Support Center is still the contact point for all Box support issues.

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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 boxinfo@iu.edu.
  • 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.

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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.

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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, leveraging 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, innovation, and productivity in the organization. This would defeat the underlying purpose of Box.

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

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This is document bdhb in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-03-11.

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