The enterprise file, sync and share battle between Dropbox and Box is heating up as each EFSS provider debuted new capabilities within a week of one another.
Five days after Dropbox debuted a feature called “file requests,” Box unveiled Box Governance.
Dropbox’s feature allows users to send out a link to users or non-users and thereby gather files, photos and other documents. Box’s add-on capability helps users to comply with regulatory policies, satisfy e-discovery requests and manage sensitive business information.
Compliance at Core
Box targets compliance with its latest add-on service. It announced this week that it supports FINRA and SEC 17a-4 compliance regulations for financial services firms.
Box officials said the new service solves the problem of using costly legacy solutions not designed for external and mobile access.
“Many of these solutions are also fragmented, meaning content needs to be moved at various stages during its lifecycle,” Box’s Annie Pearl blogged. “This results in misplaced documents and inconsistent adherence to policies, significantly increasing the risk of regulatory and financial penalties.”
According to Pearl, Box Governance offers three key capabilities:
- Retention management: Set automated policies to control the preservation and deletion schedules of your business documents
- Content security policies: Prevent or flag downloads, uploads or sharing of sensitive information
- Defensible E-Discovery: Identify and preserve documents and metadata while also preventing deletion of information to comply with discovery requests
The major strength of the platform is really about the user centricity and experience, said Chris Walker, an independent information management/governance consultant.
"Putting the 'rules' in the back-end, invisible to the users," he said, "just lets people get on with their work."
Walker sees an issue, though, with administrators having "no elegant way," to configure that back-end. For now.
"They’ll have to get help," he said, "from Box’s consulting team. I also think that holistic visibility into all of an organization’s electronic content repositories is a bit of a gap, but aside from hooking up enterprise search Box is in much the same boat as any of the other ECM vendors out there."
The release allows Box to deliver a platform that satisfies IT from a security perspective, satisfies users from a content creation/consumption/collaboration perspective and lets legal/regulatory sleep at night, Walker added.
"I also think," he said, "in light of the recent O365 thing (Box for Office Online announced June 16) that there will be some orgs happy about not being tied to Dropbox or OneDrive. Box provides the access to the authoring tools and imposes the requisite governance. That’s huge."
Got a File?
Dropbox’s release, meanwhile, deals with sharing files. It promises to allow users to get files from anyone, easily receive large files (as large as 2 GB) and organize everything in one place. “Whether you’re collecting from one person or one hundred, all the files you receive are organized into a single folder, available on all your devices,” Dropbox’s Mindy Zhang blogged.
One industry analyst has this Dropbox release putting it ahead of Box.
“With, in my opinion, Box and Dropbox being the pure-play name brands in the space, having a differentiator like this is undeniably a competitive advantage,” wrote Dallas Salazar.
Using Dropbox, Salazar pointed out, users do not have to confirm a file sharing transaction. The file is either in the location I selected or it isn't.
“I'll be able to clearly see the file in its place or clearly see that it isn't in its place,” he wrote. “Prior to this upgrade, using either service, I would have had to send an email asking for the file to be sent to me -- assuming a non-user is sending the file -- and I would have had to confirm that user enrolled in the platform, successfully sent the file, and that receipt was good on my end.”