What is Box?
Box is an document management system for a wide range of businesses interested in powerful automated workflow features and document storage. Over 100,000+ businesses have used Box for their document management needs. Its standout feature is its workflow automations.
Table of Contents
- What is Box?
- Box Review Summary
- Box Pricing & Cost
- Box Features
- Box Integrations
- Box Customer Service
- Box Alternatives & Competitors
- Is Box Right For You?
Box Review Summary
Box was launched in 2005 by Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith. Since then, the company has gone on to service over 100,000 businesses from its offices in North America, Asia, and Europe.
Box’ features are similar to most document management tools. Its strongest feature is its workflow automations. Box, however, does not feature document creation capabilities like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365.
Box’s pricing starts at $7 per month per user. It is in the average range of pricing for document management systems.
Overall, Box is a powerful document management solution best for businesses interested more so in maximizing their workflow efficiency and storing their documents. Medium sized businesses will particularly find Box helpful.
Box Pricing & Cost
Box pricing starts at $7 per month per user. Its Starter plan comes with 100 GB of overall storage. Annual plans are 25% more affordable than monthly plans.
|Plan||Price per User||Single File Upload||Storage||Features|
|Starter||$7||2 GB||100 GB|
|Business Plus||$33||15 GB||Unlimited|
Let’s discuss the major features that Box offers and how they can help your business with document management. Product screenshots are included to add context and demonstrate the user interface.
Box offers an adequate admin console for administrators to manage their teams. Its biggest limitation is that important security settings are only available in Box’s most expensive plan. If affordability and flexible security are priorities for you, consider alternatives like Dropbox Business.
Box’s team member dashboard is user friendly and comes with helpful team management features.
Adding and organizing team members is easy in Box. You can sort your members using filters such as their role, date added, and space used. You can also edit and add all your contacts in bulk. Additionally, permissions can be set in this dashboard. These are all very helpful for your workflow.
You can edit member permissions for individual folders and files from the admin console. Editing permissions is user friendly and flexible.
As you can see, you can edit permissions for both user accounts and user access. The most important user account permissions you can set are storage amounts and status. You can edit the following options for a user’s account status:
- Transfer content
- Cannot delete and edit
- Cannot delete, edit, and upload
Security in Box is adequate but only customizable with Box’s most expensive plan. This means that in many plans you cannot edit important security features related to your team and their account information.
Although Box already has fairly strong permissions that can help ensure your team content is protected, not being able to require two-factor authentication or perform a global password reset in lower payment plans is limiting. Box does, however, support removing lost or stolen devices with any plan.
Cloud storage options are decent in Box. Offline access is easy to set up and your file recovery deadline can be set to an unlimited period of time. These features are countered by Box’s weak version history. Box’s cloud storage capabilities are ideal for businesses who want to store and access files rather than check specific edits in documents through version history.
Accessing files offline in Box is simple to set up. You must download the desktop version of Box in order to do so.
You can access and sync files on the following systems:
Note that Google Workspace files, such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides, are not accessible offline. This is actually a feature that is included in Workspace itself. If offline access is important for these file types, we recommend you consider Workspace.
Box has one of the most flexible cutoff date options for restoring files. You can choose to never have files auto-delete and always be able to restore them from your trash. However, Box’s version history is weaker than alternatives like Google Workspace.
Basic information about version histories is available. It is still not as robust as Google Workspace. Even in Box’s native document creator, exact differences between versions are not highlighted like they are in Google Workspace.
This means that visualizing edits over time is more difficult in Box. This will especially be a concern for your business if your team handles many documents and goes through many edit cycles.
Box’s file management is adequate. Its document creation capabilities are one of its weakest features, though. Consider Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 if both creating and storing documents in the same document management system is a priority for you.
Creating and editing documents in Box is very limiting. You can create simple documents with Box Notes. This feature will be discussed more in the collaboration section.
Box supports native integration with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 to directly create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows and automatically save these files to your Box account.
Ultimately, this adds an unnecessary step to your workflow. You additionally have to purchase either Workspace or Microsoft 365 to integrate them. These two issues could be solved by using one of the alternative software solutions instead.
Organizing files in Box is easy to do. The primary way you organize files is through folders.
Folders do not drop down and preview subfolders like they do in Dropbox Business. Still, Box has a very helpful list and grid view that visualizes your files clearly. You can also sort files by type, name, owner, and date updated.
Collaboration in Box is one of its strongest features. You can collaborate by using Box Notes, adding comments to documents, sharing files of any size, and requesting electronic signatures. This means that your company has a wide range of opportunities to successfully collaborate with each other and with clients and outside users.
Box Notes is one of the primary collaboration features in Box. It is similar to Dropbox Paper as a hub where your team can collaborate and set project deadlines.
As you can see, Box Notes comes with adequate features to coordinate projects. You can create tables, checklists, and upload media from your Box account.
Facilitating collaboration in Box Notes is adequate. Dropbox Business, however, comes with more features such as adding media from native integrations as well as project timelines.
Box Paper also offers a variety of templates for your team:
- Meeting Agenda
- Project Plan
- Project Status
Comments in Box are better than Dropbox Business because you can comment directly on text instead of strictly highlighting sections. Still, Google Workspace allows you to see exact changes and edit text directly.
As you can see above, you can highlight direct text and sections you want to comment on. This means that commenting is intuitive for both text and images.
Box’s biggest weakness in this category is that comments and documents are not dynamic. This means that once changes are made and a new document is uploaded, the differences between each version are not highlighted. Consider Google Workspace if editing and commenting on the same document is important for your team.
You can share any number of files in Box. Although individual file upload sizes depend on your plan, you can link entire folders to share however many files you wish at once. Creating a share link is easy to do, and its shareable with anyone with or without a Box account.
Box does not come with a dedicated landing page for your shared files like Dropbox Business. This means that companies who want to reinforce their branding to clients will find Dropbox Business more valuable.
Sending documents for electronic signatures is as easy as clicking the dedicated “Send with DocuSign” button that comes with supported files. Box is also planning on releasing its own native e-signature feature soon called Box Sign. This is particularly helpful considering that you still must purchase a DocuSign plan in order to use it with Box.
Box’s standout feature is its workflow automation tool: Box Relay. Relay allows you to create automations that streamline your company’s workflow. This is particularly helpful for businesses with a high volume of document uploads and complex processes.
As you can see above, automated workflows are comprised of triggers and outcomes. A trigger is an event that starts your workflow and an outcome is an event that follows. You can select the following triggers and outcomes for your automated workflows:
Box comes with a number of native integrations. These include integrations that streamline your collaboration or help you with document creation.
- Google Workspace
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft 365
Box Customer Service
Box’s customer support team is quick to respond and attentive. They are reachable through live chat and email.
Box has a blog primarily consistently of industry news and customer success stories. Box’s most helpful secondary resource is its forum page: Box Community. This is a very helpful resource to troubleshoot solutions and help out other Box members as well.
|Customer Support Channels||Live chat, email|
|Other Support Resources||Blog posts|
|Application Status Page||Yes|
Box Alternatives & Competitors
Box has a number of competitors on the market today. Its most comparable alternative is Dropbox Business.
Here’s a full list of Box competitors:
- Dropbox Business
- Google Workspace
- Microsoft 365
- Zoho WorkDrive
Is Box Right For You?
Overall, Box is a powerful document management solution used by a diverse range of businesses. It is ideal for businesses in need of automated workflow features and robust document storage. Still, businesses in need of a centralized management system with both document storage and creation capabilities will find Box limiting. These businesses should consider Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.
If you're interested, you can try Box today.