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There are a number of different options from which to choose in order to store and sync your data in the cloud. This guide is here to help you to decide which kind of storage is right for you.

Rutgers requires that all University Business be conducted on university approved services. For example, Faculty and Staff email must be conducted using Rutgers Connect.  In the case of storage, there are several categories of storage and different options within each category. This page will help you choose between the approved Cloud Sync Storage options of Box, OneDrive (Rutgers Connect), and Google Drive (ScarletApps).

Security and Compliance

The first consideration when choosing a service is determining which ones are appropriate, from a security and compliance standpoint. There are federal and state laws, as well as university policy, which govern where data can be stored. In general, information that is highly confidential and classified as restricted information can be stored in Rutgers’ Box and Rutgers Connect’s OneDrive. It is not appropriate to store this type of information in ScarletApps Google Drive. It is important to note that it is only appropriate to store this information in these services when using the accounts managed by Rutgers. It is not appropriate to use personal accounts in these or any other services to store university information.

For more detailed information about what can and cannot be stored in each type of storage service please see the Box Data Classification and Storage Matrix.

Box

Box is the newest addition to cloud sync storage services at Rutgers. It is available to all faculty, staff, students and guests (guests must be given permission to create an account by their delegated administrator or the help desk). Box allows for the storage of an unlimited amount of data, including restricted data like files containing PHI. Box supports all Windows, MacOS, Android, Apple Mobile iOS, and Linux and has a full featured web interface that can be used on other platforms. The service is used widely in higher education and can be used to share information with anyone.

Availability: All faculty, staff, students and guests
Storage Limit: Unlimited
File Size Limit: 15 gigabytes
File Limit: Unlimited (15,000 per limit  per folder recommended for performance)
Speed Limits: 4 files per second upload
Access Methods: Windows Client, MacOS Client, Android App*, Apple iOS App*, Linux (rclone), Web
Overall Performance: High
Ease of use: Very easy
Document Versions: Unlimited
PHI Permitted: Yes (in restricted folders managed by certified IT staff)

* Mobile Device Management required.

OneDrive (Rutgers Connect)

Microsoft’s OneDrive is part of the Rutgers Connect suite and is available to all faculty, staff and certain students. OneDrive allows for up to 5 terabytes of storage per user, including restricted data like files containing PHI. The OneDrive service supports all Windows, MacOS, Android, Apple Mobile iOS, Linux and has a full featured web interface that can be used on other platforms. OneDrive is also widely used in higher education.

But not as widely as Box or Google Drive. File sharing is currently restricted to only other users on Rutgers Connect.

Availability: All faculty and staff, selected students and guests
Storage Limit: 5 Terabytes
File Size Limit: 15 gigabytes
File Limit: 30 million documents (300,000 limit recommended for sync performance)
Speed Limits: Not documented (varies based on a number of factors, no issue has been experienced)
Access Methods: Windows Client, MacOS Client, Android App, Apple iOS App, Linux, Web
Overall Performance: Moderate
Ease of user: Easy
Document Versions: 500
PHI Permitted: Yes

*Mobile Device Management required

Google Drive (ScarletApps)

Google Drive is part of Rutgers’ Scarlet Apps suite and is available to all faculty, staff and students. Google Drive allows for an unlimited amount of storage, but cannot be used for storage of restricted data like files containing PHI. The Google Drive service supports all Windows, MacOS, Android, Apple Mobile iOS, Linux and has a full featured web interface that can be used on other platforms. The Google Drive service is also widely used in higher education and files can be shared with anyone who has an email address.

Availability: All faculty, staff, students and guests
Storage Limit: Unlimited
File Size Limit: 5 Terabytes
File Limit: None
Speed Limits: 750 GB per day (Single file in excess of 750GB will upload)
Access Methods: Windows Client, MacOS Client, Android App, Apple iOS App, Linux, Web
Overall Performance: High
Ease of user: Very easy
Document Versions: 100 revisions or 30 days (whichever is shorter)
PHI Permitted: No

Recommendations

After considering the security and compliance restrictions, multiple services can be used to provide data storage and sharing services concurrently. Before making a decision you should consult the IT support staff in your organization.

In general, OneDrive and Box are equivalent services in terms of what data can be stored.

Box is generally considered to be easier to use and would be recommended over OneDrive if:

  • You need to store more than 5TB of data
  • You will be frequently transferring large amounts of data because Box will typically be faster

Choose OneDrive Over Box If

  • You require seamless integration with Microsoft Office Software and Tools

Google Drive would be recommended over Box and OneDrive if:

  • You require seamless integration with Google Apps
  • You are sharing data with students (see below)

When sharing data (that isn’t restricted) with students, Google Drive is listed as preferred simply because all students automatically have a Google Apps account created when they are enrolled. For students to use Box, they must provision their own account first. This process is simple, but it requires an extra step on the part of the student. In OneDrive, student usage is much more limited, and generally only granted to students who are also employees or those that work with PHI data.

The services are similar in many respects, but performing certain tasks can be easier depending on the service. For example, since OneDrive is a Microsoft service, Microsoft Office apps easily support it. You can save and retrieve files easily and have recently accessed document lists sync between different computers. Box is a general storage service so all software, including Microsoft Office, can work with it, but without the additional features that Microsoft builds in. Feedback suggests that Box is faster and easier to use.

It’s also worth noting that these three products only represent one type of storage and that it is not appropriate for all purposes. This type of storage is not suited for the storage of databases that will be accessed by multiple people or for other software that requires very high speed access to files. If you have special needs that go beyond general file storage and retrieval, please consult your IT support professional to determine which service is right for you.

Helpful Links

File Types Ignored or Blocked by Box Sync and Box Drive

Using Metadata

Why Box?

Getting Started

12 Ways to Use Box