Students can now keep their files safer than ever before.
Hillsdale College information technology services made a storage system called Box available campus-wide at the beginning of the spring semester. Box is a cloud-like storage system similar to Dropbox and Google Drive. It will be replacing the campus P Drive, which currently provides 10 gigabytes of space to students.
“The biggest difference between Box and Google Drive is that Box is a more corporate-style infrastructure,” Executive Director of ITS Jason Sherrill said. “So we have the ability to be able to implement better security on Box. It integrates more with the software and tools that we use here, but at its core it is very similar to Google Drive or Dropbox.”
Sherrill said the switch has been a long time coming.
“One of the things that we’ve realized though, and this has been this way for a long time, is that most of us are accessing our data on more than just our computer,” Sherrill said. “What Box allows you to be able to do is put your files in Box and then access them on your phone, on your tablet, whether you’re on campus or off campus.”
Sherrill said he recognizes the 10-gigabyte limit of the P Drive is too small for current students
“Now you have unlimited storage,” Sherrill said. “You can easily share those files with others and easily access them on any device.”
That unlimited storage doesn’t go away when a student leaves campus. Once students graduate, they are able to take the account with them.
“The deal that we negotiated with Box for students is that you get to take that account with you when you leave,” Sherrill said. “Anything that you’ve created when still a student here, you’ll have access to that. Once you leave you can convert it into a Box personal account.”
ITS employees pilot-tested Box for six months before deciding to implement the system campus-wide. A few different groups on campus have tested Box as well, including Teacher of Art Bryan Springer’s graphic design classes.
“It’s been great,” Springer said. “What I like about Box is I can leave notes. I can leave a Box Notes, which is basically a text file, and I leave instruction or specs for certain projects in the folder.
Peter Blum, chair of the Academic Technology Committee, says Box is necessary for students to backup their important files.
“I’ve actually been preaching for a couple of years — even before I knew that we were going to get Box — that students need to use one of these services,” Blum said. “Students will come near the end of a semester with a catastrophe. Something terrible happens, and they just don’t have their paper because it wasn’t anywhere besides that.”
Sherrill echoed Blum’s sentiment, saying that if students only use it for one reason it should be to keep their files safe and secure.
“When you’re working on documents or files, if you put them in Box, then you always have access to that,” Sherrill said. “If your computer dies, Box is taking care of that backup for you. If there’s no other reason, it’s for that. You’re going to prevent losing something really important.”
To access Box, go to box.hillsdale.edu.