Cloud content management company Box has announced a new set of security controls to make it harder for enterprise customers to accidentally leak data.

With Box Shield, customers of the US company now have a range of manual and automated tools at their disposal to reduce the likelihood of accidental data leaks and data thefts.

Customers will be able to restrict who a link can be shared with, such as by labelling a file ‘[internal]’ for internal or collaborators only.

Files can also limit external access to a file depending on its sensitivity. This could be by making it available only to trusted business partners.

Box users will also have more tools to restrict external file collaboration and the files that employees can download.

Customers can also specify which third-party apps can download sensitive content from the Box ecosystem.

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Box Shield launched as data fines rise

The additional security features come at a time when several major companies have been stung by record fines for data security issues.

“Organisations of all sizes are increasingly aware of the need to secure critical information and protect against threats without compromising user experience,” said Garrett Bekker, principal analyst for information security at 451 Research.

“Investments in native security controls by cloud platform vendors can provide useful and timely insights and serve as a valuable complement to an organization’s overall security portfolio.”

Box Shield also leverages machine learning to spot unusual behaviour that may indicate an attempted data theft. For example, if a user suddenly starts trying to download masses of files they would not normally access.

Box Shield can also spot suspicious location activity that may indicate a compromised account.

Keeping up with the pace of business

“At IU, sensitive information changes hands thousands of times each day on our campuses with over 100,000 users and thousands of collaborators around the world,” says Bob Flynn, manager of cloud technology support at Indiana University – a customer of Box.

“With the introduction of Box Shield, we can apply native data classifications and design policies aligned to our own business and compliance rules. By protecting content with precision, we can help IU reduce risk without compromising speed and collaboration.”

Box Shield is currently in private beta and will become generally available autumn this year. Around 95,000 companies use Box’s cloud content management system, which includes 70% of the Fortune 500 companies and NASA.

“The pace of business today demands that every enterprise move its content to the cloud to power collaboration and drive business processes both inside and outside the organisation,” said Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box.

“Box Shield is a huge advancement that will make it easier than ever to secure valuable content and prevent data leaks without slowing down the business or making it hard for people to get their work done.”

Read more: Box launches UK content storage zone in response to Brexit data fears