Box Follows Dropbox, Adds Two-Factor Authentication To Cloud Storage
Box says it is responding to customer requests not hack attacks
Young Dropbox rival Box is planning on adding two-factor authentication, the cloud storage company told TechWeekEurope today.
After a number of accounts were compromised, including one belonging to an employee, Dropbox decided to add two-factor authentication as an option for users earlier this week.
Box, which aims its storage and collaboration tools at enterprises, said it had not been compelled by any specific security event as Dropbox had, but customers had been asking for the additional protection.
The San Francisco company boasts is one of its key differentiators in the cloud space, where data protection is one of the most significant barriers to adoption. Adding two-factor authentication will give it more to brag about.
“Two-factor authentication is coming very shortly,” said Box’ vice president for platforms Chris Yeh.
It appears Box’s two-factor authentication will operate in a similar manner to Dropbox’s system, with a password and a pin sent to a mobile via SMS. That method – also offered by Google for Google Apps – is considered somewhat weak, however, as SMS is seen as an insecure channel because anyone working for the carrier can see view messages as they are stored without encryption on the short message service center (SMSC).
But Box expects its two-factor authentication method to change over time. “One of the solutions that came up at an event we looked at a few weeks ago… was a clever thing where two-factor authentication resulted in an application popping up on a phone and if you shook the phone it would log you in. That prevents the [security] code from showing up visibly on the phone,” Yeh said.
“I think there are other forms that this will take in the future, but think of it as pretty standard two-factor authentication.”
Meanwhile, one of Box’s chief rivals in the cloud storage space, Microsoft, launched its SkyDrive for Android app. Box sees its mobile compatibility as one of its biggest sells and recognises how strong a competitor Microsoft is in that space and in storage in general.
“Microsoft are increasingly strong as a competitor,” Yeh added. “I think they have a lot of interesting and competing priorities. They don’t always feel aligned to me. I think that’s one of the things that allows companies to come into market spaces and disrupt in certain areas.”
He said Box was keen to continue working with key partner Yammer, the collaboration platform recently acquired by Microsoft, and with the Redmond giant in other areas such as Windows Phone 7.
Box recently set up its second ever office, choosing London as its home away from home. Currently, the office is focusing on sales, but said there was potential for an engineering team to be developed in the capital.
“One of the reasons why I’m here [in London] today is to think about whether we want to put technologists on the ground too,” Yeh added. “This is a pretty rich area with lots of developers.”
Many tech firms from America’s west coast have set up development bases in London recently, including the social networking giant that is Facebook.
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