Box.com Features

Box.com is a cloud-based repository that allows users to store, access, share and transfer electronic files. It also has features that allow for collaboration on the drafting of documents. We will touch on some of the key features here and more detailed information about each feature will be provided in future blog posts. Users can easily access files from different devices (such as computers, tablets and smartphones) anywhere they can connect to the internet. This allows federal defender offices and CJA panel attorneys to share discovery and work product easily and efficiently in a secure environment. With the national contract the National Litigation Support Team (NLST) has with Box.com, the security features emulates those of USAfX, the DOJ’s re-branded version of Box.com they use to disseminate discovery in many districts. If you are interested in using Box.com for one of your cases or have questions about its utility, please contact Kalei Achiu with the NLST at kalei_achiu@fd.org or 510-250-6310.

Box Drive, otherwise known as “Desktop, meets cloud”, allows users to access Box content from their desktop. Unlike Box Sync, Drive brings the entire universe of Box.com files to the desktop without taking up too much space on a hard drive since files are stored in the cloud instead of locally on a computer. However, it does not support offline access to content. Users will need an internet connection to access files. Box Drive can be easily accessed on a user’s desktop from Windows Explorer (Finder on a Mac) or the Windows System Tray (System Notification on a Mac). Documents can be created and/or edited from the desktop and changes will automatically be saved back to Box.com. Drive also gives users the option to “lock” shared files to keep other collaborators from overwriting edits.  Learn more about Box Drive and download it here:  https://www.box.com/resources/downloads/drive.

Box Sync allows users to mirror data stored on Box.com on their desktop or laptops. Unlike, Box Drive, users do not need an internet connection to access files once they are downloaded. Box Sync allows users to choose which files to sync so you don’t have to sync an entire folder. If any changes or edits are made, they will be synced back to Box.com the next time you connect to the internet. Box Sync allows the user syncing documents to choose the location where the synced folder resides. By default, synced folders live on the user’s local C: drive. However during the initial setup, the location can be changed to a shared network drive so that all those with access to that shared network drive can then access the synced folder.  Learn more about Box Sync and download it here:  https://community.box.com/t5/Using-Box-Sync/Installing-Box-Sync/ta-p/85.

Box Edit is a feature that makes collaboration even easier by allowing users to edit files directly from Box.com. Users no longer must download a file, make their changes and then upload it back to Box with a different name. Box Edit works with many programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat. Once Box Edit is installed on a computer that also has the program in which the file was originally created, users can access the file in Box, which will then launch the document in the original program. Revisions are made in the original program, the updated file is automatically saved directly back to Box because of the integration. Box Edit will track the version history of the documents so users don’t have to worry about saving files as different versions. Older versions of the documents can be accessed in the version history on Box. Box Edit also allows users to create new documents directly on Box. Users must “Select” New and choose the type of document they want to create. Once created, it is available to any collaborator with access to that folder for editing.  Learn more about Box Edit and download it here:  https://app.box.com/services/box_edit.

Box Notes is an easy to use tool that works on Box.com or as a separate “add-on” for your desktop. Box Notes allows users to quickly take notes, share ideas and collaborate with others. The live editing and collaboration feature allows everyone to see the same note and make changes or suggestions in real time. Users can see a list of all existing notes on Box and their associated folders as well as the last collaborator to update the note. The Box Notes desktop application is a separate add-on feature, but works the same way as Box Notes in your web browser. Once Notes is installed on the computer, a shortcut icon is created on the desktop. It can also be accessed from the list of programs installed on the computer. Users can edit and collaborate on notes as they would on Box.com. Any edits or changes made on the desktop application are available to collaborators in real time on Box.com.  Learn more about Box Notes and download it here:  https://www.box.com/notes.

Box.com FAQ’s

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To assist federal defender offices and CJA panel attorneys who need to share and transfer e-discovery in their cases, the National Litigation Support Team (NLST) has obtained (“cloud”) space from Box.com for the short-term storage and transfer of data.

Details

Box.com is a simple cloud-based collaboration program that allows users to store, access, share, and transfer electronic files and documents.  The service encrypts all data and has additional security features.  Users can store an unlimited number of files, for their own use or to share with others, without having to use remote access to office computers. Defense teams can use different devices (such as computers, tablets, or smartphones) to access case data anywhere they can connect to the internet.  This allows CJA panel attorneys to share discovery and work product easily and efficiently in a secure environment.

Box.com is being used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as their cloud service to distribute e-discovery to the defense. DOJ evaluated it against other similar products and concluded it best met their security standards.

Box.com is committed to ensuring that your data will remain as secure as possible, and providing strong customer support. They have worked closely with the NLST in designing a cloud service that effectively addresses CJA counsels’ growing problem of moving and sharing large volumes of data. The NLST will work directly with each defense team to set up their cloud case folders, and to provide ongoing support of their use of Box.com.

The NLST will manage:

  1. creating case folders to hold electronic information on a case in the cloud,
  2. inviting team members (“collaborators”) to help them get access to the cloud data, and,
  3. granting rights of different team members to get into specific folders.

Because cloud contracts like this store case information on servers owned by Box.com, attorneys remain ultimately responsible for the use of this service. Before using it, CJA members should review their local bar opinions regarding the use of cloud computing and storage.

Once approved, the NLST will send you a form asking for the case details including who will serve as the “point of contact” for each defense team, and who on the team should be given access to the what files that have been stored on the cloud. Note that additional team members can be added later. The NLST will set up a short session to show all those who will use this cloud service how to navigate the system, and how to upload and download data. The NLST will be the team’s first point of contact if there are any questions about using Box.com, technical questions, or any concerns regarding using this
cloud-based case information repository.

Please note that Box.com does not offer advanced e-discovery features found in online document review programs such as Relativity, Summation, or Catalyst. It does not have a database and other advanced tools for organizing, reviewing, and analyzing e-discovery. Rather, its purpose is for short-term storage and transfer of information in the “cloud.”

When the case has concluded, (or sooner if counsel no longer needs this service), the CJA lawyer must delete all case materials from Box.com. The NLST will help ensure the case files are deleted, and the case is properly closed. Counsel should always maintain a copy of all files on their office computer system (besides the information stored in the cloud), as only duplicate files should be stored on Box.com.

Below are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) in regards to this service:

What is the difference between Box.com and Dropbox?

Box.com and Dropbox are both cloud based repositories. The Department of Justice is using Box.com, renamed USAfx, to distribute discovery to defense counsel in many districts. Since the DOJ has approved of the security protocols of Box.com, we felt that it would be helpful to make Box.com available to federal defender offices and CJA panel attorneys on a national level. For that reason, the National Litigation Support Team (NLST) has a national contract with Box.com and not with DropBox. The NLST assists in creating and managing case folders on Box.com for the sharing of work product and discovery but we do not support the use of DropBox in any way.

Since USAfx is just Box.com rebranded, can I use my USAfx user ID to log in to a case folder that I have asked the NLST to create on Box.com?

Unfortunately, no. Your user ID and password for USAfx is unique to USAfx and will only work on USAfx. You will need to set up a regular Box.com account and use that user ID and password to access any case folder created by the NLST.

How do I request a new case folder to be set up?

If you think your case would benefit from having a case folder set up on Box.com, please contact the NLST (Kalei Achiu – kalei_achiu@fd.org, 510-250-6310; Alex Roberts – alex_roberts@fd.org, 510-637-1955; Kelly Scribner, 510-637-1952) Once it has been decided that Box.com is the way to go, fill out a request form at: http://survey.fd.org/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=boxrequest. You will be notified once your case folder is ready to be used.

What is a collaborator?

Every person invited to work within a folder on Box.com is known as a collaborator. Each collaborator needs to have their own Box.com account and needs to be invited to the folder by the NLST.  If you receive an invitation to collaborate on a folder and you don’t have a Box.com account yet, you will first need to set one up.

Can I invite other users to collaborate on a case folder myself?

Only the NLST can invite collaborators to a folder to ensure that only those who should have access to a folder are granted access.

We have an expert on our case. Can we give them access to just a specific folder under our case folder on Box.com

Box.com works well for sharing a subset of information with an expert. Each sub-folder can have a different set of collaborators so you can set up a folder that only you and your expert can access.

Can access to a folder be limited to “read only” for certain users?

Each person invited to collaborate on a folder can be set up with their own unique permission level. The permission levels options for Box collaborators are:
Box.com Permission Levels

How do I setup a Box.com account?

To set up a free, personal Box.com account, which is all you need to access any case folder created by the NLST, simply go to https://app.box.com/signup/n/personal and follow the instructions.

Can I access my Box.com folder on my phone or tablet?

Box.com is mobile device friendly. You can download the Box app to your phone or tablet and access your folders and documents using the same log in credentials you do on Box.com when sitting at your computer.

Why am I being asked verify my account with a text code?

We want to make sure that the data being shared is done so in a secure way. Asking for a text code in addition to your user name and password is one way of ensuring that the person who is logging in is in fact the person authorized to see the data. This two factor authentication process is just one of the many security measures that makes Box.com a safer way to transfer data between legal teams, clients and experts.

How do I upload items?

There are two ways to upload items into your case folder. You can either (1) drag and drop a file or folder from your computer into the folder or (2) click on the “Upload” button at the top of the page and browse to the filer or folder you want to upload.

How do I download items?

There are two ways to download items into your case folder. You can either (1) right click on the file or folder and choose the download option or (2) click on the ellipses […] next to the file or folder and choose download.  Folders are downloaded as .zip files so you have to extract the files to your computer once the download is complete.

Can I get notified when another collaborator adds or deletes documents from a folder?

You can set your user preferences to receive email notifications when another collaborator downloads, uploads, makes comments, previews or deletes items from your case folder. Click on the down arrow next to your name and select account settings. Then click on Notifications along the menu bar. From there, you can select when you receive email notifications based on the actions of other collaborators.

How do I setup a sub-folder within a case folder?

If you have a folder on your computer that you want to make a sub-folder in your Box.com case folder, drag and drop the folder from your computer into your case folder. If you want to create a new sub-folder, click on the “New” button and a sub-folder will appear.

What happens when something is deleted?

Items that are deleted are moved to your Box.com Trash folder.  Deleted items will stay in the Trash folder for 90 days, during which time you can go into your Trash folder and restore those items to your case folder. After 90 days, they will be permanently deleted.

Is there a maximum amount of data that I can use Box.com to share?  What if I have 75 gigs or 1 terabyte?

There is no limit to the number of files or folders that can be shared on Box.com. For most users, there is a 250MB per file upload limit.  If you need to upload files larger than 250MB, contact the NLST for assistance.

How do I edit a Microsoft Office document that has been shared on Box.com and track each version on Box.com?

Collaborators can use Box Edit to make changes to Microsoft Office documents.  The changes will be saved directly back to Box.com along with access to prior versions of the document (see: https://app.box.com/services/box_edit for details and requirements).

Why is “NLST Admin” the Owner of the folder I requested to be created?

The NLST has a national contract with Box.com and is responsible for the creation and management of case folders in order to ensure sure that the appropriate security settings and collaborator permissions are used.  We are responsible for the security of our hosted space on Box.com and we want to make sure that nobody is accidentally allowed access to any case data.

Can I use Box.com to store old case files?

While your personal Box.com space can be used for any purpose, the case folders set up on Box.com by the NSLT is not designed for the storage of old files long term.  Case folders are meant for the short term sharing and transfer of files and to allow for teams to collaboratively edit documents while tracking each version.