Big Data

Box Shield now scans and classifies files automatically based on content


Cloud platform Box is introducing automated file classification to Box Shield, its machine learning-powered security platform for preventing data leaks and compromises.

Box launched Shield in private beta back in August ahead of its full launch two months later. Initially, Box Shield shipped with a handful of core functionalities — “smart access,” which allows admins to define rules and access policies to control specific actions among employees, such as content and link sharing. And then there was automated threat and data breach detection alerts, followed by malware detection which launched back in April.

Now, with automated classification, Box is using machine learning to automatically scan files to detect personally identifiable information (PII) in files in real-time as they’re uploaded, or moved between folders. This helps businesses to safeguard all their files and documents, ensuring that confidential or private information is categorized with the correct access permissions.

Above: Box Shield: Categorizing content in real-time

This fits into a broader trend that has seen automation infiltrate the cybersecurity sphere, however it also comes at a time when more people are working from home due to the COVID-19 crisis, leading to a greater risk of external and internal threats across businesses.

With automated file classification, Box Shield classify files based on admin-defined policies, making it easier to enforce these policies at scale and ensure adherence to the growing number of data privacy laws such as GDPR, as well as long-standing regulations such as HIPAA.

For example, Box Shield can detect and classify files that contain social security numbers, bank account details, or driver license numbers, while admins can create custom terms so that Box Shield will automatically classify any document that contains phrases such as “Confidential” or “Internal use only”. Then Shield can enforce access controls, such as download restrictions or limiting external collaboration, based on the the classification.

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