Project Management

Take collaboration internal again with Teambox On-Premise

If collaborating in the cloud doesn't seem like the right fit for your business, see whether Teambox On-Premise might be a better collaboration option.

While many industries are moving collaboration to the cloud, there are still organizations that want a collaboration platform inside their own enterprise. Teambox got that feedback from its customers and took the bold move to release Teambox On-Premise.

Teambox On-Premise includes the same features and user experience as Teambox's Software as a Service (SaaS) version, though the features are packed into a virtual appliance that can be installed on a virtual machine behind a firewall. If you've never worked with Teambox, it includes calendaring, group chat, task management, and notes; it also enables simple file sharing using Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. Teambox On-Premise includes an API for integrating the solution with your other enterprise applications.

Taking Teambox inside the enterprise means:

  • Storing data internally on corporate owned and secured machines versus the cloud;
  • Using your existing enterprise network and security infrastructure under your management; and
  • Using your existing hardware.

Teambox On-Premise also means that companies can meet the stringent requirements of compliance programs, including HIPAA, Data Privacy (European Union), Sarbanes-Oxley, and PCI (credit card processing). Then there is also the case of IT departments that want complete control over the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) they have with internal customers and don't want a third-party cloud provider of any stripe. The minimum Teambox On-Premise purchase is 25 seats.

Installation and configuration

The challenge for Teambox is to keep the Teambox On-Premise installation simple so as not to tax IT resources. In fact, I rank installation and configuration tasks as make-or-break for this solution.

After installing an Oracle VirtualBox on one of my home office test machines (a no-name brand desktop running Windows 8), I downloaded a copy of the Teambox On-Premise virtual appliance to the test machine. It's a 1.3 GB download. You then have to import it into Virtual Box. Figure A shows the Import Virtual Appliance dialog box. Figure A

Import Virtual Appliance Appliance Settings dialog box (Click the image to enlarge.)
Teambox On-Premise has easy to follow installation documentation, even if you have little or no experience with virtual appliances. (My experience with VirtualBox up to this point was using it on one of my Macs to run Windows or Linux for other writing projects.) Don't overthink the installation because VirtualBox and the Teambox On-Premise virtual appliance do most of the work as long as you follow the instructions. Teambox On-Premise also supports VMware as a virtual machine. Figure B shows an example of the Oracle VirtualBox Manager running Teambox On-Premise. Figure B

Oracle VirtualBox Manager running Teambox On-Premise (Click the image to enlarge.)

After completing the import of Teambox On-Premise to Oracle VirtualBox, I went over to another PC in my home, accepted the license agreement, and requested authentication.

When I was configuring outgoing email, only SMTP was available with no IMAP option. That's not really a showstopper though. The good news was that I was able to configure it with my Google Apps for Business email. Then I had no issues configuring it to my personal web domain. The Teambox On-Premise installation more than lives up to its promises (at least using VirtualBox). Figure C shows the Teambox On-Premise Manager. Figure C

Teambox On-Premise Manager (Click the image to enlarge.)

Setting up the rest of the workspace will be familiar to any Teambox user. If you've never set up a Teambox site, it's a step-by-step that's easy to follow. After getting the site fully live on my home network, I was even able to access it with the Teambox iPhone app.

All in all, I was impressed with how Teambox packaged the installation. A power user with the right access could perform the installation without taxing the IT department. This easy install and off-the-shelf hardware requirements also make Teambox On-Premise ideal for SMBs or larger organizations rolling out Teambox on the department level.

Security

Security is the one area where you would need to seek IT department cooperation and support to ensure that your Teambox On-Premise installation is secure. There is support for standard enterprise security tools, including LDAP, oAuth, and Active Directory.

Testing security should definitely be on your list of action items if you pilot Teambox On-Premise for use inside your enterprise. Unfortunately, my current home network setup wouldn't let me fully test the Teambox On-Premise's enterprise security features.

Take collaboration back inside the enterprise

If you want to bring collaboration out of the cloud, I recommend exploring Teambox On-Premise as an option. It brings together the best of Teambox collaboration features, offers an easy to follow install, and provides support for standard enterprise security features without shortchanging users.

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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