Introducing Box for Education: Moving Higher Education to the Cloud

When I think of which industries have witnessed the greatest technological changes over the years, ‘universities’ don’t immediately come to mind. But the first university was founded nearly 1,000 years ago, which means hundreds of years of evolving their practices to serve the most modern and cutting edge audience on the planet - students and academics! The newest generation of students is the most technologically advanced, and the oldest institutions still must find out how best to serve their needs.

This is why, today, we are excited to introduce Box for Education, bringing tailored solutions and partnerships to the education industry.

The importance of ‘Unlimited Storage’ grows as educational institutions become increasingly content-driven.

You only need look as far as the recent rise of open-access educational content to see an example of the challenges faced by educational IT. Online coursework, new eLearning tools and the general digitization and accessibility of content have significantly increased the need for a flexible IT infrastructure. According to a recent McGraw-Hill study1, 81% of students use their mobile devices to study. As new technologies come into broader use, institutions of higher education must enable the effectiveness and productivity of their students while adapting to changing workstyles of faculty and staff. When it comes to content, two crucial pieces of the puzzle are storage and collaboration.

Today, we also announced new unlimited storage for universities and their students through the Internet2 NET+ initiative. We're making sure there are no hurdles for IT, educators or students to create learning materials, manage classrooms and facilitate communication in a secure environment. Major research universities like Pennsylvania State University can easily store, edit and share large datasets with their research affiliates while a University of Michigan kinesiology professor can receive, organize, review, tag, and comment on student work, including 3D video files that are too large to be supported by other cloud solutions.

Enhanced security features are more critical than ever

Not surprisingly, information security and governance are top priorities for every educational institution. Schools and universities must not only comply with specific industry requirements like HIPAA, PCI and FERPA but must also manage the portability, mobility and broad distribution of sensitive information. This is not only nearly impossible to accomplish with legacy IT systems, but risky if choosing to use consumer-centric cloud tools.

For Morehouse’s C.I.O, Clifford L. Russell, managing and securing remote and mobile access to content was a challenge he knew all too well. To ensure the security and availability of all of their content, he turned to Box. “We now have true security controls”, adding that Box “radically reduced the overhead of providing file services and took the worry out of wondering if back-ups run and critical files are available.” Russell shares, “I sleep much better knowing the data is securely on Box”.

With the recent rollout of Box Governance and Enterprise Key Management, education institutions have even more confidence in its commitment to security.

Both Penn State and Emerson College were beta testers for one of the new capabilities, retention management. At Penn State, their finance department leveraged the new capability to clean out their monthly folders and to automate the process of deleting documents once the retention period is over. Emerson College’s record office, like many institutions and organizations, has file retention challenges – especially when it comes to digital files. Box made it super simple to audit which files and records they were going to retain and which ones were getting deleted.

“Unlike a lot of consumer-grade storage solutions, Box clearly has a strategy for higher education and for enterprise environments, balancing usability, security and user autonomy. Box was the first product that really met our needs,” said Francis Frain, director of networking and telecommunications at Emerson College.

Box for Education

In the case of more than 150 higher educational institutions, Box provides enterprise-level security while promoting the speed and simplicity of sharing information between faculty, students, staff and outside vendors. To take the words directly from Russell’s mouth, “It’s one of the most powerful collaborative tools that I’ve ever seen”. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.