Box to Google Drive Migration

Since 2015, Emerson staff and faculty have relied on Box to store and share files, particularly those pertaining to confidential or sensitive business. Throughout that same time, Google Drive has also been available to all community members, which doubles as file storage, and includes widely used collaboration tools like Google Docs and Sheets and does not have individual file size limits, making it a preferred location for media.

We have seen increased Google Drive usage after our move to Gmail in 2017, and since then, have received feedback that consolidating on one file storage platform would reduce confusion and be easier for users.

For that reason, we have decided to sunset the use of Box and standardize on Google Drive.

Timeline

August 30th, 2023 is our target date by which all files currently stored on Box are moved to Google Drive. We understand that, for many of you, this migration will require careful coordination and need to be done outside of peak business, so we want to provide ample time.

We ask that to start, over the next few months, if you have new file storage initiatives or needs, that you develop them on Google Drive rather than on Box. Please also use this opportunity to clean your storage footprint by deleting (or simply not migrating) unneeded files from both Box and Google Drive.

Email records_management@emerson.edu or contact your Data Retention Officer (DRO) with any questions about what may need to be retained per the College's record retention schedules.

Accessing and Using Google Drive

To log into Emerson’s Google Drive, simply visit drive.emerson.edu in a web browser or, from your Emerson Gmail, click the 9 dots in the top right and click Drive. See Google’s guides on using, uploading, and sharing files and folders through Google Drive.

If you prefer to use a desktop application to work with your files, such as Box Drive, download and install Google Drive for desktop. If you are new to Google Drive for desktop, see Google’s instructions for Drive.

Migrating Files and Folders from Box to Google Drive

To migrate files (or entire folders/subfolders) from Box to Google Drive via a web browser:

  1. Log into Box via the web.
  2. Download the files/folders to your computer.
  3. Log into Google Drive via the web.
  4. Upload the files/folders to Google Drive. If you want to upload them to a specific destination, open that folder in Google Drive first and then upload. Alternatively, you can move or reorganize Google Drive files/folders at any time.

To migrate files (or entire folders/subfolders) from Box to Google Drive using desktop applications:

  1. If you have not already, download and install Box Drive.
  2. Download and install Google Drive for desktop. If you are new to Google Drive for desktop, see Google’s instructions for Drive.
  3. Open Box Drive, navigate to the files/folders you want to copy from Box, select them (hold ⌘ on a Mac or Ctrl on a Windows machine to select multiple non-contiguous files/folders, or hold shift to select a contiguous series of files/folders).
  4. Copy and paste the contents to Google Drive. For reliable results, do not Move or Cut the contents — be sure to perform a copy, so that any data that the data can be reconciled against what was formerly in Box.

When complete, be sure to uninstall Box Drive.

Migrating Folder Permissions from Box to Google Drive
After you have copied data from Box to Google Drive, you will have to reapply folder permissions. These are permissions that apply to folders and all of their subfolders, and not to be confused with Share Links, which we describe below. To do this:
  1. Log into Box via the web.
  2. In Box, right-click (or on a Mac, Ctrl+click or two-finger click) the folder for which you need to copy permissions, hover over More Actions, and click Manage Collaborators.
  3. Make note of the permissions. A simple way to do this is highlight all of the text and copy and paste it to a Google or Microsoft Excel sheet.
  4. Log into Google Drive via the web, right-click (or on a Mac, Ctrl+click or two-finger click) the folder for which you are migrating permissions, and click Share.
  5. Add each individual, and set their permissions to the equivalent level as was in Box. Note that Viewer Uploader, Preview Uploader, Previewer, and Uploader were unique to Box, and the only equivalent for those is Viewer in Google Drive.
Migrating Share (and Web) Links from Box to Google Drive
Share Links are URLs created for direct access to a file or folder. They are more frequently used with Google Drive, but many Emerson faculty and staff use Box Share Links to quickly email a file or publish to the web.

To see where you are using Share Links in Box:

  1. Log into Box via the web.
  2. Any file or folder with a blue chain link icon with a circle has a share link enabled. To review the link permissions, click the blue icon, and below the URL, note if says People with the link, People in your company, or Invited people only.
  3. If you no longer need the Share Link enabled, toggle it off. If you need it, make note of the share permission described in Step 2 and log into Google Drive via the web.
  4. Unlike Box, all Google Drive files and folders come with a URL. To retrieve it, navigate to the file or folder, right-click (or on a Mac, Ctrl+click or two-finger click) and click Share.
  5. Under the Get Link section, click where it says Share with Emerson College or Change, and set to the equivalent access level set in Box.
  6. Redistribute the new link to your collaborators, or update your website with the new link.

Please note that you can set expirations for Share links, but they are not applied by default as they were in Box.

Department Folders and Shared Drives

For department folders, we will be instating the use of Google Shared Drives so that department data survives employee turnover, much like it does with Box department folders. Typically, when a user creates a folder and shares it with other users, that data remains owned by the original creator. Shared Drives, however, are owned by the Google Workspace system itself. At this time, we have replicated the existing Box department folders as Shared Drives and shared them with the Box co-owners.

When logged into Google Drive, you will find a Shared Drives link under My Drive.

Note: Only Managers with access to the topmost level of the Shared Drive will see anything here. Users who have access to subfolders within a Shared Drive will simply see them under the Shared with me link on the left. When designing the folder and permissions hierarchy for a Shared Drive, start with the least amount of access (VP and admin assistant, for instance) and then add additional users for subfolders. You cannot remove a user from a subfolder who already has access at a higher level. Only Managers are able to adjust access at any level of a Shared Drive. Additionally, Managers can right-click the Shared Drive, click Manage Members, and click the Settings Gear to toggle options to disallow sharing to non-Emerson accounts. Additionally, users of Google Drive for Desktop will not see Shared Folders or Files (data under "Shared With Me") by default (not to be confused with Shared Drives). To see Shared Folders or Files, users must right-click the files or folders they want to see in the desktop application, click Add Shortcut to Drive, and choose a place for the shortcut under My Drive or Shared Drives.


If you or your colleagues already have departmental files/folders in Google Drive, this migration is an excellent opportunity to move them into your department's Shared Drive rather than leaving them scattered across individual Google Drive accounts. Assuming you have access to both the original files and the Shared Drive, simply right-click the file, click Move, and navigate to the Shared Drive. If you need to migrate a Folder, please contact us for permission..

Security Standards

Until now, we have instructed users via the Data Governance Policy that Box is an authorized storage location for High and Moderate risk data, and that Google Drive was not. Our new agreement for Google Workspace for Education Plus allows us the confidence to name Google Drive an authorized location for that data.

When migrating data, please be comprehensive in reinstating all necessary security permissions, which may involve tightening permissions where you find them lax in Box.

What Will NOT Migrate

Email enabled folders: Box had a feature where a folder could be “email enabled,” where a user could send an attachment to that email address and the Box folder would receive it. Google Drive does not have an equivalent feature, so these workflows will have to be rethought.

File request: Box allowed users to create a “file request” form. To request permission to a file in Google Drive, simply follow a share link and click Request permission.

Retention policies on folders: Box allowed administrators to set retention times on folders, in which files within specified folders would delete after a certain period. Google allows us to set retention on our data site wide, but we do not currently have plans to implement global retention policies. Instead, staff and faculty should comply with the Records Management Policy for their data.

Upload widget: Box allowed users to create embed widgets for websites, to invite users to upload data in a form. Google Drive has third party solutions for this that can be explored as needed.


Password Protection for Share Links: Box allowed users to password protect a Share link, in addition to restricting it by folder permissions. Google Drive only allows you to restrict files and folders to Google accounts, not with individual passwords. Simply share your file with a Google account if you want to secure it.

Email notifications for deletions, new uploads, etc.: By default, Box sent email notifications when users deleted or uploaded new files to shared folders. The only email notifications Google Drive will sent is if a user shares or requests access to a file/folder, or if a user comments on or assigns a task in a document.

 

Storage Limits
As announced last year, Google Drive no longer offers unlimited storage to our campus. After reviewing usage metrics, we have found that the average user needs less than 100GB of storage, and we will therefore enforce a default quota of 100GB per user. Again, for this reason, please be thoughtful and deliberate in what you choose to migrate from Box to Google Drive.


For Shared Drives (departmental storage), it is our intention to have higher or no limits on storage. Across the entire campus, we are constrained to 223TB total, so we may employ retention settings and quotas for departments that store a great deal of media.

Other Questions

Will we be able to scan documents from scanners/copiers directly to Google Drive like we did on Box?

We are currently exploring a workflow that will utilize the bizhub Connector for Google Drive app offered by Konica Minolta.

How can I work with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) files in Google Drive?

You can upload Microsoft Office files to your Google Drive. To edit them, you can do one of the following:

1. Right-click the file and download it to your desktop and edit it with your Microsoft Office application, and re-upload it to Google Drive once done. When you overwrite the file in Google Drive, it will ask if you'd like to replace the existing file or keep both. If you choose Replace, you can see the former version by right-clicking the file and going to Manage Versions.

2. Open the file in Google Docs or Google Sheets by double-clicking the file. This will NOT convert the file to a Google Docs file - it will simply open your Microsoft Office file in Google Docs, where you can take full advantage of the collaboration tools (simultaneous editing, commenting, etc.) offered through Google Workspace. If you do want to convert the file to a Google file, click File > Save as Google Sheets.

In Box, I used to be able to create a Share link and set an expiration. Can I do that in Google Drive?

Yes, please see the instructions for setting expirations on Share links.

For additional questions, special requirements, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at helpdesk@emerson.edu.

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