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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Box Migrations Ramp Up Next Month

Effective Date: January 24, 2022

The University’s transition from Box accelerates next month when more than 11,000 Box accounts will migrate to Microsoft's OneDrive and SharePoint cloud storage solutions. The multi-year Box Transition Project began in August 2020. After extensive planning, migrations started last November and will continue on a rolling basis and conclude before the Box annual contract expires on August 31, 2022.

Taking advantage of Microsoft’s file-storage solutions introduces greater security, offers anywhere access across devices, and can enhance team collaboration. To date, nearly 20 percent of data has been migrated from Box to OneDrive and SharePoint.

Understanding that technology changes can be disruptive, Northwestern IT is partnered with campus migration leaders to implement this service change as smoothly as possible. 

"It’s a massive undertaking that affects everyone University-wide. The Division of Student Affairs IT group is using this effort as a launching point for learning about the business processes of our staff at the individual level and how to automate, streamline, and make their lives easier using the technology tools available to us, including the numerous tools that the Microsoft suite offers," said Jacob Wade, business analyst, Student Affairs Information Technology, and a Box migration leader.  

Moving to OneDrive and SharePoint for cloud storage leverages the University’s strategic partnership with Microsoft and enables seamless integration with other powerful Microsoft 365 collaboration tools.

"The Microsoft platform allows us to interact with email, documents, and chat—way beyond just a place to store files, which is what Box offered," added Wade. "It also allows us to educate our users on the best practices for storing their information, such as separating personal from institutional. We’ve been able to share the benefits of the new tools proactively, and once they get into it, they realize it isn’t so intimidating."

Tips for Settling In

Whether you are preparing to migrate or have already seen your Box content move, acquainting yourself with OneDrive and SharePoint's collaborative benefits will help you settle into the new cloud-storage environments. Here are a few ways to ease your transition:
  • Familiarize yourself with OneDrive and SharePoint – Spending just an hour in a webinar training can give you the firm footing you need to be comfortable with the new storage solutions. Registration is open for three different webinars, and recorded versions exist for two of them, so you can learn at a time that is convenient for you. View dates and registration details.
  • Sharing content with users outside Northwestern – This is a popular topic amongst users. Documents can be shared with external users via OneDrive. However, anonymous sharing (to anyone with the link) is possible only via SharePoint for security purposes. If anonymous access to a file is required to meet a business need, the file should be stored in SharePoint. Learn about transferring items between OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Version history – If versioning is important to you, know that every file in SharePoint has a version history that saves changes made to the file. You can track, reverse, or make changes. Email notifications provide real-time updates when someone makes a change. You can also go back to the original version in Word to restore a version and compare it with the latest file version.
  • Choosing where to save a file – Put simply, OneDrive is available for storing items for personal use, while SharePoint is ideal for files and folders that need to be available to a broader group. It is also important to remember that OneDrive accounts and their contents are removed when an individual leaves the University and their NetID is deactivated. Learn more about sharing.

Learn and Explore

In addition to webinar details, the Support and Education Resources web page offers you access to how-to guides, video tutorials, LinkedIn Learning offerings, and the Knowledge Base’s most commonly asked questions. You can also view the Frequently Asked Questions page, which addresses general questions about the project and specific questions on Box, OneDrive, and SharePoint.