By Nico Zulli and Allyssa Schoonover
Baylor Box Service is a newly available cloud-based service system that provides greater storage and security of data for students, faculty and staff.
Baylor Information Technology Systems (ITS) partnered with Box to use their enterprise content collaboration and user management capability.
“Box offered an enterprise solution that makes it easy for the university to store, protect, and manage data of both students and faculty and staff,” Gerik said.
Although Box can be used for personal use, similar to Drop Box, the ITS team said a major determining factor in selecting Box over Drop Box was its security function.
Students can now access Box by going to baylor.box.com and logging in with their Bear ID and password. After accessing their account, students can then download the Box app for free on the iTunes app store or Google Play.
Box has established a successful presence on many university campuses across the country as a primary source for storage of data and information.
“Cloud-service technology is the future and we want to give students the opportunity to use the newest technology as a resource,” said Micah Lamb, assistant director of systems support.
Lamb worked with Vicky Gerik, assistant vice president for client services, and Mark Mastin, project manager and manager of software, operating system services, and server support, to implement this new storage technology available to the Baylor community.
Aside from security and storage, Box’s most distinguished feature may be its availability in app form, so users can access it on their mobile devices.
Though Bearspace has served as the go-to portal for storage at Baylor, the ITS team said Box not only allows more online storage capacity and stringent security, but can be accessed through any iOS or Android mobile device. The most recent improvements to the Box app for iOS were made on Jan. 15.
“The use of Bearspace was pre-mobile device explosion.” Lamb said, “It has now become an older technology.”
Gerik said although the Electronic Library Group plans keep the existing contract with Bearspace through 2015, ITS hopes to ultimately transition students to the Baylor Box Service.
Bearspace only allows users to upload a maximum of five gigabytes total. With Box, a single file can be up to five GB and users can load up to a total of 50 GB. This means that Box has 10 times the storage space of Bearspace.
Mastin said Box also ensures faculty and staff maximum security of day-to-day confidential data with its use of the Shibboleth software package.
He said Shibboleth is a commonly recognized software package within the realm of ITS, particularly as it relates to education.
“Shibboleth allows ITS to interact and manage the Box storage system on the Baylor campus,” he said. “Essentially, when students, faculty, and staff use their password and Bear ID, the software authenticates them through a server on the Baylor campus. They are then able to access their documents and files stored on the off-site Box system server.”
Lamb said the likelihood of encountering data malfunctions or server issues with cloud-based service technology is low.
“The information stored on the Box server is replicated in multiple data centers, and that is the job of these cloud-service companies—to protect your data,” Lamb said. “So, this is not to say that an issue could never occur, but the probability is highly unlikely.”
With regard to the use of the Baylor Box Service following attendance or employment at Baylor, the ITS team affirmed the future possibility of converting student, faculty and staff accounts into personal accounts.