Working on something with a team? Put it in a box in the front of the office where anyone can pick it up, work on it and put it back. That’s the concept behind the Box collaboration service that Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) will soon roll out. Except that the box is in the “cloud,” accessible from any computer, tablet or phone, anywhere.

Box is intended to be a collaboration tool rather than online storage, said Chuck Jessop, manager of the Box project for CIT. The system creates a shared workspace where documents automatically open with the appropriate application, keeps copies of earlier versions, shows who’s been working on what and attaches comments. A “Sync” feature that keeps a copy on your device matched with the one in the cloud will be available as soon as this fall.

Box will be offered to a small initial group of faculty and members of the IT community at the end of April. It will become available to all faculty, staff and students this summer. Cornell’s contract with the vendor provides a total of 100 terabytes of storage and a maximum of 50,000 accounts. To keep within the storage limit, each Cornell user group will be limited to 10 gigabits of storage.

Box provides a high level of security, Jessop said, meeting the standards of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects student educational records, but is not yet adequate for health care records. See the policy at http://www.it.cornell.edu/services/box/policy.cfm.

Box — the name of both the service and the company — has some 10 million users in 120,000 businesses. A very favorable agreement between Box and a pilot group of seven universities was negotiated by the Internet 2 Net+ Services consortium, which leverages the buying power of the combined educational community.

For further information, contact the CIT HelpDesk, helpdesk@cornell.edu.

This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.