Get 'em while they're young. That seems to be adage cloud collaboration service provider Box has been taking in bringing its services to the higher education crowd. The company now has more than 85 universities using Box for collaboration between students, faculty and administrators.

Box, one of the many competitors of Dropbox and others in the file syncing and cloud collaboration space, has seen strong growth in the last year in the education space. According to the company, its customers in the education space has more than doubled since the beginning of 2012.

The reason for this growth is directly connected to Box's partnership with the Internet2 networking consortium that was formed to provide "top institutions" with a simple way to deploy Box across their entire campuses. It looks like the partnership has so far been quite the success, as more than 1 million Box accounts have been purchased within participating universities since the program launched in April 2012.

Some of the universities that have adopted Box include Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford and UC Berkeley. That's a fairly impressive list, and it almost certainly gives Box a leg up in pursuing other universities across the country.

It probably gives Box an edge over its competitors, not just in the education space but also in various vertical and horizontal markets. All of these young students one day will (hopefully) graduate and enter the workforce already knowing the Box service and taking that knowledge with them to future employers.

Naturally, this won't complete overrun the likes of Dropbox, which has found a very strong following in the consumer market and is finding its way into the workplace (with permission or not) because of consumer interest.

Box, however, is pushing ahead into the enterprise space with partnerships with Teambox. It's seeing plenty of competition, though. Look at newcomer Cubby, as well as existing services like FileLocker and Chatterbox, among others.