How to set up your folders in Box to maximize access and minimize confusion
How to determine whether an open or a closed folder structure will best suit your needs
At Box, we understand that every organization has unique requirements that influence the way they structure and operate their business. The needs of your organization will likely affect the way you set up and manage your Box account -- and, more specifically, how you define the folder taxonomy that is deployed to your team.
Box folders are the foundation from which your users work. Defining a folder taxonomy that is intuitive and easy to navigate will greatly increase user adoption and maximize productivity.
To help you determine the folder structure that best meets your organization’s needs, we’ve put together some evaluation criteria and best practices that have helped bring success to other Box customers.
What is the best folder structure for your team?
As you transition into Box, it is important to ensure that poor practices and inefficient workflows from previous content management systems are not repeated. Understanding Box’s folder permissions and collaboration features will help your team get the most out of Box.
Questions to help you evaluate:
Do your Admins and co-admins need full control of users and their content?
Will the Admin team determine which department, region, or groups will use Box?
Can you clearly define your company's need for Box? This includes: large file transfer, data room, internal/external collaboration, etc.
Does your organization prefer to give users the ability to create and manage their own top-level folders? Or does your organization prefer to own (and control) all root level folders?
Folder Structure Basics:
Generally speaking, there are two basic folder structures to choose from: open folder taxonomy and closed folder taxonomy. The model you choose is largely based on your internal security protocols and workflows. We’ll get into the details of each structure as we go.
Open Folder Taxonomy: Users can create their own root folders. By default, a user can provision collaborators and freely share files from the folders they own. This option requires less involvement from your administrators.
Closed Folder Taxonomy: Admins will create and own all root level folders. This option requires planning and heavy involvement from the administrative team. Users will not be able to create root level folders or private folders, and will need to be provisioned access to folders by Admins.
Admin Tip: Folder storage only counts against the user who owns the top-level folder (not the collaborators). Be sure to provide the right users with enough storage to meet their needs.
Creating Closed Folder Taxonomy relies on the Business or Enterprise Setting found via the Admin Console > Settings > Content & Sharing > Restrict Content Creation.
Building an Open Folder Structure:
The open folder structure is ideal for users who need to create and manage individual workspaces on demand, and is often deployed by organizations that don’t require strict IT oversight or handle highly-sensitive information.
For example, sales professionals use Box to establish private folders (or workspaces) where they can collaborate with prospects by sharing sales collateral, or negotiating contracts in a secure virtual deal room. Similarly, project managers often need to share and collaborate with those in remote offices and with external third parties by creating folders as needed. This ensures that information is organized and easily accessible by all.
Building a Closed Folder Structure:
Choosing this option indicates the administrative team wants control of the users and their content. This is a specific use case that will require heavy provisioning by the administrative team such as folder setup, new user creation, and the assignment of groups and/or folders. The following are different use cases to consider:
This is a common folder structure for larger, enterprise accounts. In most instances, Box is replacing or phasing out another content management system (i.e. SharePoint). The administrative team will create a specific folder structure on the main account page.
The end user will only see and have access to folders beginning at the level which they were granted access—in this case, a root level folder.
Private Workspaces for Users
Private workspaces are most often provided to users working with in an open folder structure. This means users have the option to create a private folder for their own use. The manila folder icon denotes a private workspace, denoting that no one has been invited to this folder.