ITS launches cloud storage system

With its first foray into the realm of cloud computing, Yale Information Technology Services has made a storage service available to students many times larger than Google Drive or Dropbox.

Box, the new program, was rolled out to students, staff and faculty in late January and allows users to store up to 50 gigabytes of data — 10 times more than Google Drive and 25 times more than Dropbox. Student Technology Collaborative Assistant Manager Laura Tomas ’10 said Box will offer students a free, easy way to back up their files, and ITS Senior Change Management Specialist Kay Davis added that 2,500 people have signed up for Box at Yale, representing roughly 10 percent of the community. Students interviewed said they have already signed up for the new service or plan to do so soon.

“It’s important for people to have a single place to keep their files, and Box gives them much more space than, say, Drive,” Tomas said.

Davis said Box allows students, faculty and staff to work together regardless of their email service or the electronic device they are using, adding that the Box service is available on and off campus and offers applications for Windows and Apple computers and most mobile devices.

Tomas said a possible drawback of the new service is that users need to have Box already activated in order to receive shared documents and collaborate with others using the service, while Google Drive is available to everyone with a Google Account. Davis also said ITS has encountered problems with moving data from other storage systems to Box, but she added that these issues have been minimal and can be quickly addressed by the ITS Help Desk and Student Technology Collaborative. Students will still be able to access and use their Box accounts after they graduate, she said.

The collaborative has been working to promote the new service to students on campus in the past couple weeks, sending Gil Phish, the collaborative’s costumed mascot, to Commons rotunda to spread word to undergraduates.

Six students and staff interviewed said they are happy Yale introduced the service.

David Preschel, an ITS senior engineer, said he has already started using the Box service in order to collaborate with vendors and co-workers on projects and files remotely, as well as store and organize his notes securely.

Kevin Li ’14, who works at a lab in the Medical School, said he signed up for Box because he and his co-workers often share large files with each other, adding that he expects his lab to transition to Box.

Chris Brown ’15 said he appreciates the service but added that he does not think many students will use it immediately.

“I think that this is really cool, but I don’t think most people are going to use Box instead of Dropbox until it runs out of space, because everyone already has that,” he said.

Students, faculty and staff can sign up for the Box service at yale.box.com.

Correction: Feb. 8

A previous version of this article mistakenly suggested that the new Box service provided by ITS is an automated backup service when in fact it is only a cloud storage provider.

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