7 min

Box provides a business cloud-based content management solution to help organizations in the workflow of their business processes. It also wants employees to work together and brings together all kinds of business applications in one cloud-based solution. Recently, Techzine was updated on how the company sees its platform as a cultural change for companies and what developments are in store.

The provider of the cloud content management service, which is actually a platform, began its existence as a provider of storage and synchronization services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. Since then, the range of services has been extended to include content management and collaboration applications. In concrete terms, the platform provides storage and access to all types of files that employees within a company or organisation can use.

Integration of frequently used applications

The platform also ensures that all tools that employees use for their work or that enable them to communicate with their colleagues are available in one place. These are often SaaS tools such as Microsoft Office or G-Suite tools, but also tools for collaboration such as e-mail clients or Slack. The platform also integrates other business tools for a better workflow, including Salesforce or ServiceNow. The Box platform now integrates with more than 1,400 applications from various vendors. So Box has grown from a single solution to actually an entire ecosystem.

It’s not just these cloud-based applications from these suppliers that matter. The business content management platform also provides integration with proprietary or other custom applications and solutions. In addition to centralizing all the various workflow and collaboration tools, the platform also ensures that with specific APIs – the added products of Box – all content within the applications can be managed and structured. This can be done by adding metadata, among other things. Also, the entire workflow can be managed, and collaboration can take place. In addition, research and searches can be carried out on a platform-wide basis. All these things can be carried out with the Box Relay, which was renewed earlier this year.

Finally, the cloud-based content management system provides various options for setting up the right settings for data residency, policies, compliance, analytics, governance and encryption for all business workflow and content processes. The latter tasks can be performed with Box Governance, among others.

Changing work processes within companies

According to Box himself, his platform is really something that companies are waiting for these days. As companies and organisations themselves are increasingly working with technology in a different way, senior vice president & general manager EMEA has indicated that Chris Baker is talking to Techzine. Nowadays, employees want to be able to decide for themselves which tools to use, organise their entire workflow process and be able to work together with colleagues. A platform that makes all this possible and brings everything together is essential. This way, all business content becomes available in one central place and not isolated in the various (application) silos.

Better compliance

Because this content and the associated data are present in only one place, it is also easier to comply with compliance from the point of view of data governance. It is also easier to add various metadata to the content. This, in turn, prevents the presence of unstructured data that could otherwise be found everywhere, such as on the personal disks of individual employees on various file servers.

Companies can then use this metadata to automate certain processes, with or without the help of artificial intelligence. This makes it possible, for example, to quickly and easily compare ten different contracts with a particular party and distil one general standardized contract from them. You can only do this if you place all these contracts in a single platform for content management.

Spreading the vision

In addition to offering the right tools, Box also provides consultancy services on this vision of the new (cooperation) within organisations. Box finds it important to share its own vision on the use of its technology as much as possible and to bring about a cultural change within large companies. Baker thinks that younger employees in particular are open to this, but he thinks it is necessary for everyone to realise that the use of these kinds of tools in their business work processes can bring a lot of benefits.

Box has the Box Consulting department at its disposal to promote the culture surrounding the introduction of digital work processes. In addition, this department helps large business customers with the actual implementation of the Box technology at customers, e.g. by training employees.

More attention to artificial intelligence

Box also discussed other developments around his platform. Important focus points are artificial intelligence and machine learning. In the words of CEO Aaron Levie, the main goal of this is that customers with this technology can get the most value out of the content and data they have placed in the platform.

Especially when it comes to classifying the unstructured data mentioned above and for security purposes. Machine learning technology helps to structure this data better. This helps customers with the management of this data, to make it more secure and to apply better governance.

Levie indicates that Box will invest more in artificial intelligence and machine learning over the next three to five years. Especially since, according to him, these two areas are regarded as the ‘holy grail’ for the entire IT industry.

More attention to security

In addition to a strong focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, the cloud content management specialist also has a greater focus on security. Chief Product Officer Jeetu Patel tells us that Box wants to be able to protect his platform even better in the coming period. The Box Shield solution was developed for this purpose. This solution will be released soon. The solution is native to the Box platform but is also available as a stand-alone solution or as part of a bundle of solutions.

Box Shield aims to make it even easier to protect valuable content within companies, especially the Box platform. In addition, it must also prevent unwanted data leaks from occurring. All this without these measures slowing down the business processes and making it more difficult for people to do their work.

Using artificial intelligence and the built-in native technology, the tool provides companies and organizations with generated reports and insights into the security status of the stored content. As a result, they should be able to take the necessary security measures and respond to potential threats within a very short period of time. The tool actually offers a kind of ‘guard rails’ that have to protect the content and data both inside and outside the platform.

Two clear applications

More specifically, Box Shield provides two applications, Patel continues. Firstly, the solution detects abnormal and malicious behaviour inside and outside the organisation. Based on machine learning, the tool automatically detects anonymous downloads of content, among other things. In addition, the solution ‘sees’ suspicious sessions and the locations where a compromised account has been discovered. For example, if an employee is in New York, only half an hour later, access is sought from London with his account. This is not technically correct, so an alert is automatically issued.

The second functionality that Box Shield brings applies to the prevention of data leaks already mentioned above. The tool gives administrators the possibility of ‘adaptive controls’ to assign various security classifications to the content. These management options can be implemented either automatically or manually. According to Patel, this depends on the desired workflow around the content present in the Box platform.

Administrators can define and adjust the correct classification labels for this purpose. In this way you can, for example, impose certain restrictions on shared links that indicate who is allowed to view the content inside and outside the organisation. This also applies to matters such as downloads, opening applications within the platform and FTP transfers. These customizable controls can also be used to manage certain forms of collaboration, such as who has the right to change content or to share it with others.

Therefore, Box Shield must ensure problem-free user experience, reduce the risk of risks and relieve security experts by giving them more automated control options to prevent data loss and other attacks on the stored content.

Other announcements

The discussions with Box also showed that the company considers a trend like blockchain to be too early for itself for the time being. CEO Aaron Levie indicated that the company is not yet actively involved in finding out how the technology can be used. Box wants to see how this trend will develop further in the coming period, so the company does not yet have any specific blockchain-based products on the role. It only comes when customers find that this technology is valuable to them.

Finally, in addition to selling separate products, Box will also start delivering bundled solutions or suites. For the time being, these are a bundle of solutions for the digital workplace and a bundle for digital business processes. The exact solutions of these bundles are not yet known.

Well on track

Box provides a complete cloud-based business tool for all content. Not only to store them, but also to manage the associated activities from a single environment, if necessary automatically, and to process them in a workflow. And, of course, it offers all the possibilities for collaboration. This clearly sets the company apart from other tools that focus mainly on storage and synchronisation.

Because of the specific focus on improving its services and applications with the help of artificial intelligence or machine learning and the focus on security, Box is running ‘on par’ with many other large IT companies and service providers at the moment. This is especially true because the company is not afraid to make choices.

To conclude, Box’s applications are attractive for companies and sectors for which continuous protection of content and associated data is of utmost importance. Examples include the banking and insurance sectors or government institutions. We are therefore curious to see what other solutions Box will come up with.