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.
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:
- creating case folders to hold electronic information on a case in the cloud,
- inviting team members (“collaborators”) to help them get access to the cloud data, and,
- 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 (Carl Adams or Alex Roberts). 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:
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.