Using the Box cloud storage service

What is Box?

Campus has an agreement with Box to provide storage for Berkeley faculty, staff, and students. This enables to freely upload your documents and data sets to Box and share those files with collaborators. According to the bConnected project page, this service provides:

  • Unlimited (as of August 2015) free, secured, and encrypted content storage of files with a maximum file size of 15 Gb (However other information provided by campus indicates a maximum upload size of 5 GB using the Web and 200 MB when using smart phones)
  • Encrypted storage of all files
  • File preview for many formats (i.e., PDF, Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Access to content via desktop and laptop browsers, and through mobile devices running iOS and Android
  • Secure synchronization of files between desktops and laptops
  • Collaboration and file sharing with anyone who has an email address — inside or outside the University
  • File and folder access control with a range of user/group permissions from preview-only to full editing and collaboration rights
  • Permissions control for access, preview, editing, download, and sharing
  • Capacity to password-protect confidential documents and set expiration dates for file access
  • Ability to edit MS Office documents online
  • Ability to create simple workflows, task assignments, and comment on files

Connecting to Box

To access this service via your CalNet credentials, please visit the UC Berkeley Box landing page.

You can download software for your personal computers so that you do not need to transfer files exclusively through the web interface. This software has been installed on SCF managed Macs and can be accessed through System Preferences > Box Sync.

You can transfer files between SCF Linux machines (or Savio) and Box using lftp from the UNIX command line. See the Savio instructions on how to do this. Simply replace with the name of an SCF Linux machine. To copy entire directories:

# to upload a dir from the current wording directory on the local machine
mirror -R mydir
# to download a dir from Box to the current working directory on the local machine
mirror mydir .

Collaborator Uploads

In addition to being able to share large datasets with your collaborators over this service, you can also enable them to upload data to your Box storage.

  • Once logged in to, click the New... button and choose to create a new folder.
  • When prompted, invite your collaborators to upload files to that folder. Their access type should be set to "Uploader".
  • Your collaborators will receive an email letting them know that they can upload files to your Box storage. If they do not already have a Box account, Box will prompt them to establish one before they can upload.

Storage and your SCF Home Directory

If you have or plan to have a lot of files in your Box account and you would like to keep a Box-synced folder on SCF machines, you may wish to locate this folder outside of your home directory. For example, you might consider running:

mkdir /var/tmp/$USERNAME
chmod 700 /var/tmp/$USERNAME

(where $USERNAME is your SCF user name) on whichever SCF machine you use most often and specify that directory as the one to sync with. This would prevent your Box storage from overflowing your SCF home directory. You would also benefit from increased access to local disk without having to worry about backups or the machine getting reinstalled.

This is only a suggestion however, not a requirement.