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Shared U-M Box Accounts

What Is a Shared Account?

Shared U-M Box accounts are available for departments, projects, student groups, and other functions requiring collaborative storage. Shared accounts allow files to stay with the group or function, even when individuals move on. Shared accounts are also ideal for sensitive data.

Note that Box Sync is not available for shared accounts. However, folders in shared accounts can be synced by individual accounts that are invited as collaborators with editor or co-owner permissions.

While you can log in to the shared U-M Box account as the account owner, it is not required. Shared U-M Box accounts are set up with a standard folder that is shared among co-owners. The standard shared folder appears in the co-owners' individual U-M Box accounts, allowing co-owners to manage it without a separate login. Files placed in shared U-M Box account folders are owned by the shared account and not the users' individual accounts.

Why Should I Use a Shared Account?

If you retire or graduate from U-M, your U-M Box account will be converted to a personal Box account. (NOTE: Personal Box accounts are no longer covered by U-M's contract with Box.) If your affiliation with U-M ends completely, your U-M Box account will be deleted. In either case, that means others could lose access to information they might still need. Shared accounts are not owned by individuals so documents stored in these folders don't have that risk. Even if all the collaborators on the shared account leave the university, the account still resides in the U-M Box contract-protected enterprise, and new collaborators can be assigned and old ones removed.

Shared accounts are also recommended for storing sensitive data and are required for accounts holding Protected Health Information (PHI) or data subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). See Using U-M Box Securely with Sensitive Data.

How Do I Get a Shared Account?

A shared U-M Box account uses an MCommunity group account to log in. You may use an existing MCommunity group account, however we recommend letting us set up a new group specifically for the shared account.

Request a shared account by completing the Shared Account Request Form. (NOTE: You can only access this form from your UMICH account.) If you have trouble launching this form, please make sure you are logged out of any non-UMICH accounts.

You will need the following information to complete the Shared Account Request Form:

Note: Changing the ownership or membership of the MCommunity group after the shared account has been created will NOT update the information in U-M Box. Collaborations must be managed from within Box and the membership of the MCommunity group and collaborators on the shared account folder can quickly get out of sync, causing confusion.

New or Existing MCommunity Group?

When a shared U-M Box account is requested through the web form, users must decide whether to use an existing MCommunity group or one set up specifically for a shared account. We strongly recommend that users let the Shared Account creation process create an MCommunity group made specifically for a shared account.

Our recommendation

  1. Choose to set up a new MCommunity group for your shared account - this means the group would be created as a result of submitting the Request Form and does not need to be created by you.
  2. Designate at least two (but preferably no more than 6) people to be owners and members of the MCommunity group

The relationship between MCommunity Group and U-M Box Account

Why we do not recommend using an existing MCommunity Group

If you use an existing MCommunity Group, the following unnecessary (and likely unwanted) behaviors will occur:

If you are creating a U-M Google Shared Account in addition to the U-M Box Shared Account, please see the additional unintended consequences on the Google experience at Sharing Behaviors of Synced MCommunity Groups and U-M Google Shared Accounts.

How Do I Manage My Shared Account?

Logging in to the shared U-M Box account as the owner

You can do most management of the shared account through the shared folder in your individual account. However, if you need to login to the account as the owner, you'll need a UMICH password.

When your shared U-M Box account is set up, you receive an email and UMICH password for the account. If you are managing the shared account through the shared folder in your individual account (recommended) you do not need to use the UMICH password.

Start setting up your sharing and file structure. You can do this from your individual account as the co-owner of the folder that shows up or if needed you can log into the U-M Box shared account. See Owners and Co-owners for more information.

Note: if you have a Box shared account created before August 1, 2016, and you do not have a UMICH password, contact the ITS Service Center.

Removing a shared U-M Box account

We recommend that you request removal of shared U-M Box accounts when they are no longer needed. Please specify if you wish to have the account deleted to remove data that is no longer relevant and should no longer be accessed or simply inactivated, which allows future access to the content in the account should it be necessary. Before deleting a shared U-M Box account, you can move the files you need to save to another U-M Box account, to your local hard drive or to another storage location.

Send a request to the ITS Service Center with the name of the account to be deleted or inactivated. If there is also a shared U-M Google account associated with the MCommunity group, indicate whether the associated shared U-M Google account should also be removed. The request for removal will be verified via email to the co-owners of the shared account root folders.

See the More About Shared U-M Box Accounts page for more information about shared U-M Box accounts, including: