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Box CEO Aaron Levie cosies up with AWS and IBM with Box Zones

Tamlin Magee | April 12, 2016
Product launch faces up to contradictions between global digital business and regional data laws

Taking into account the reality that some countries have more strict data provisions than others, Box has launched a product that will allow customers to pick and choose where they operate their cloud services

Speaking at Box World Tour 2016 in London, CEO Aaron Levie today launched a new service, Box Zones, which will allow customers to choose the location of their cloud data - with the intention of putting to rest customer worries about data sovereignty, regulation and residency.

aaronlevie box

The idea is that businesses which have to comply with stringent data regulations - and thereby host their data locally and securely - will be encouraged into taking up Box's various offerings.

Box Zones will launch this May in four countries. Customers will be able to pick from Ireland, Germany, Japan or Singapore, with Amazon S3 AWS regions providing the locations. The service will function as an add-on for existing Box tiers.

A variety with IBM Cloud will follow, and senior VP of IBM Cloud Robert LeBlanc hinted to Computerworld UK that early locations might include London, Frankfurt and Tokyo.

There's no indication of a partnership with Microsoft on the Azure platform yet.

This new service will spin locations with more stringent data privacy and security regulations as a potential positive - as well as allowing customers to keep their data local if they should so desire.

Several years in the making, Box decided on Ireland, Germany, Japan and Singapore because these countries had the blend of international traction and some of the largest hurdles in data privacy and regulation.

"We also wanted to choose areas that were fairly neutral to a lot of the different data residency requirements," he told Computerworld UK. That's what drove the first four locations - but he adds that there's a "fairly extensive" roadmap to add more countries at a later date.

Levie said that there are swelling contradictions between the interests of global digital businesses and the countries they operate in.

It makes sense, then, to offer up services that allow businesses to pick exactly which jurisdictions their data falls under and to cope with other regulations.

Several years ago, Levie warned against the prospect of a 'balkanized' cloud, where individual clouds are siloed off on a national basis. 

"This idea that there are regionally specific, government specific, or country specific clouds - that'd be a very bad outcome," he said at the time. "Not only does this not make technological sense, it's just bad for where things are going from an economy standpoint."

With data regulations and agreements notably varying between countries, there's still a stark contrast between the needs of businesses and the interests of nations. 


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