Live Documents has a really catchy hook with its invitation to: “Create like in Microsoft Office. Share like in Google Docs.

It’s a tempting invitation and a powerful thought. But what is this Live Documents feature? Let’s find out.

online document editor box

Live Documents feature: What is it?

According to Live Documents’ main page, it is:

“The Office suite for the Internet Generation — a set of web-enabled, feature-rich applications for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations that increase personal productivity and facilitate group collaboration.”

Basically, it’s an online document editor.

As the name suggests, it allows you to document edit online without having to deal with a number of irksome tasks like:

  • Downloading from the cloud to get ready to edit
  • Loading your doc into Office to get ready to edit
  • Editing in Office
  • Saving it again to your hard drive
  • Uploading it again into the cloud
  • Losing all your changes to formatting problems — Argh!!!

Bill Gates first announced Microsoft Office in August of 1988 —  33 years ago!

Google tried to break Microsoft’s venerable iron grip on document editing with Google Docs through more modern, mobile, and collaborative offerings but failed to harness the power of the internet adequately to overthrow Microsoft’s hegemony. Some reasons for this are:

  1. Google Docs was never able to offer the same suite of features users had grown to expect.
  2. Importing/exporting existing documents would result in the inevitable loss of data and fidelity.

Thus, in spite of Google’s underwhelming (some would say) showing, Microsoft felt compelled to reply with its own free online version of Office.

Was it a success?

Some might argue it was ultimately doomed by the very same core inadequacies as Google Docs — a lack of features, an inability to save to the original format, and size restrictions.

Yes, it’s free, but… if it doesn’t come equipped with the same capabilities, does it really matter?

Which brings us back full-circle to Live Documents with its powerful motto: “Create like in Microsoft Office. Share like in Google Docs.”

Benefits of online document editing

Editing with Live Documents is all about “Non-Lossy Round-Tripping”, where non-lossy means that none of your formatting is lost. This is the first benefit of online document editing with Live Documents. If you were to edit online with another platform, such as, say, Google Docs, you might not enjoy this benefit.

You would, however, still enjoy a core online editing benefit in not having to move back and forth between the cloud and your hard drive (round-tripping).

You could even use your imagination and say a sudden lightning strike causes an electrical surge and your computer to explode, but no worries because you were editing online, and everything was saved in the cloud. The example  could be less dramatic, but the message would be the same.

Imagination and force majeure aside, there is still a slew of advantages to working online, like:

  • Being able to access your docs from another computer/location
  • Being able to collaborate with other workers in real-time
  • Best of all, enjoying all these perks for free

Meet Box and its solutions for business

Box was founded in 2005 with a self-proclaimed goal of making it “easy to access information from anywhere and collaborate with anyone” through cloud content management and file-sharing services for businesses. offers a treasure trove of products and services from what a 2015 Time Magazine article predicted to become “Wall Street’s next Silicon Valley darling.”

Here’s a small sample regarding Security and Compliance:

  • Box Shield. Box Shield lets you define and manage security classification labels manually and automatically. Through the application of machine learning, it detects malware and restricts downloads and sharing to prevent cyberattacks and data leaks. It is easy to configure and integrate with third parties.
  • Box Governance. Box Governance provides in-place lifecycle management with retention schedules for financial documents, employee files, and customer engagements. It maintains compliance with regulations and keeps track of critical data. It searches, audits, and holds content relevant to litigation indefinitely in Box and integrates it into your eDiscovery process.
  • Box Zones. Box file storage addresses data residency obligations through the use of local data storage to store files in-region. It seeks to address regional and country-specific data privacy concerns and customer data residency concerns, among others. Where content is stored is determined by the admin and is invisible to the end-user.
  • Box KeySafe. Independent control over encryption keys includes a detailed record of key usage and the ability to track what keys are being accessed. In response to suspicious activity, your security team can cut off access to content at any time. Compliance with ITAR/EAR and IRS-1075 requirements is ensured as highly-sensitive workloads move into the cloud. It is deployable in a minimal amount of time, cost-effective, durable, and secure.

And Collaboration and Workflow:

  • Box Drive. Work with all of your files directly from your desktop regardless of size without taking up loads of drive space. Just open Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to locate every file. Edit as any local file and save it automatically to the cloud — all under the watchful eyes of business-grade security.
  • Box Relay. Box Relay boasts a simple, no-code design that anyone can use to create workflows in no time flat. It has a flexible interface with streamlined content review, standardized employee onboarding, and accelerated contract approvals. Finally, there is advanced security and compliance.
  • Box Sign. Native integration for e-signatures keeps it simple and seamless for critical business documents. Think: Sales contracts and offer letters. Managed all of your files, from authoring agreements to signatures to retainment post-execution in the cloud.
  • Box Notes. Box Notes is an online note-taking app intended to facilitate team communication. Meeting notes, business reviews, newsletters, and brainstorming — whatever it is, do it from any device securely and compliantly.
  • Box Platform. APIs to automate content, metadata, and policies. Work on content in your favorite app and let IT securely manage those files from a central place.

A veritable smorgasbord of products and services to help your business function effectively and grow.

How secure is live document sharing?

In 2019, more than 90 global companies, including juggernauts like Apple, inadvertently exposed hundreds of thousands of documents and terabytes of data through Box.

The list of exposed information included passports, social security numbers, bank account numbers, and all sorts of financial and IT data.

What makes the data breach most compelling is that  security was somehow faulty.

Document access via link is a viable sharing option. While the data shared is private, it turns out anyone with the link can make the information public.

Apparently, no one properly understood the implications.

Box came back by disabling public custom shared URLs by default. It also vowed to work more closely with companies to ensure they knew how to audit public and custom URLs to make them more secure. However, the fact that the blunder even occurred in the first place is a little surprising.

A standard data room might be a more secure and reliable way to store and share sensitive information. 

Not only does it protect us from ourselves, but it also protects us from more traditional third-party thieves.

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