Cloud-based storage provider Box on Thursday released new features aimed at enterprise customers, offering storage management tools for IT administrators and a new enterprise licensing agreement it says will lessen the cost of using the service in large deployments.
The additions include several tools to help administrators manage storage deployments while giving users easier, secure access to files and data.
"Everything is geared to large-scale deployments, to make it easy to deploy and easy to administer," said Whitney Tidmarsh Bouck, general manager of Box Enterprise.
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Los Altos, Calif.-based Box said it will offer a console that gives administrators more control and visibility for folder and file access.
The company will also provide capabilities to search, view and manage files and folders across the organization and to see how files are shared inside and outside the company. Managers will have more security controls over content and authority to grant or not grant access to content.
Box also tightened mobile security by introducing security settings for Android, with plans to do likewise for iOS. In addition, admins will be able to use passcode locks and enhanced permissions for offline file access for Box’s mobile apps. Box is also providing email archiving and discovery related to regulated industries such as health care and finance.
Box unveiled an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) for customers using Box throughout an organization. The ELA allows businesses to manage pricing over the lifetime of a long-term contract. Box said the ELA will reduce licensing costs overall.
Box also offers a free personal storage plan and a business plan that is $15 per user.
The Box administrator’s features are available in beta Thursday for the company’s enterprise users.
Competition in the cloud-based storage market is intense as Box battles Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and others for consumers and business users, the latter of which is increasing as cloud adoption grows.
One analyst said upgrades from Box appeared to be well timed. "The opportunity is sizeable, and I would expect the existing large vendors with big IT portfolios to get first dibs as the market moves in a more strategic direction," said Al Hilwa, program director for applications development software with IDC.
Box says it has more than 11 million users, including 120,000 businesses.