Box Zones remove data sovereignty obstacles for cloud users in Europe and Asia

Box recently announced a new in-region data storage product called Box Zones, which will allow businesses using Box to choose where their data is to be stored.

Image: Box

On Tuesday, cloud storage provider Box announced Box Zones, which allow Box users to store data locally in specific parts of Europe and Asia. The effort includes a partnership with both AWS and IBM, and will initially be available in Germany, Ireland, Singapore, and Japan.

The goal of the new product is to help new and existing companies overcome some of the roadblocks that exist to cloud adoption on a global scale. For many companies, especially in Europe and Asia, issues surrounding data regulation and governance are key in determining how, if at all, they will pursue the cloud.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy Template (Tech Pro Research)

Geographical issues around data have come to a head over the past year, with Microsoft's battle against the US Department of Justice taking center stage toward the end of 2015. The issue here is that certain countries require that regional companies physically store their data within the borders of that country. This is typically difficult for tech companies to oblige, as they often may not have data centers in that area, or cannot guarantee that the data will stay in that region.

If Box can guarantee serious data governance and sovereignty issues are taken care of with Box Zones, it could make it a lot easier for Box to do business with companies outside the US, and could mean a lot more customers for Box. It also could give many of their existing customers the flexibility they need to deploy Box more deeply within their organizations.

Box extended its existing partnerships with AWS and IBM to bring them in on Box Zones--potentially bringing in more partners in the future. Box and IBM have been partners since the summer of 2015, and Box Zones will be using IBM's Cloud Object Storage services (recently acquired from Cleversafe) and will connect on hybrid cloud deployments as well.

Forrester analyst TJ Keitt said that, in addition to improving its ability to handle data sovereignty issues, these partnerships also give Box more clout among enterprise partners.

"Box partnering with a company like IBM gives it access to a massive enterprise customer base, a massive sales force and a broad technology portfolio that enterprises currently use," Keitt said. "On that last point, it allows Box to integrate with IBM's ECM technology and security technologies, as well as participate in the IBM/Apple partnership. All of those things allow Box to quickly develop capabilities that appeal to the enterprise market they hope to serve."

SEE: How Aaron Levie and his childhood friends built Box into a $2 billion business, without stabbing each other in the back (TechRepublic)

According to the blog post announcing the system, Box Zones has been in the works for the past couple of years, and it will continue to open up to new regions in the future. Box will continue to handle its own data center operations in the US, as the partner companies help with the international expansion.

In addition to Box Zones, Box recently announced a policy and compliance product called Box Governance, as well as an encryption key management service called Box KeySafe. Box Zones is simply the company's next step in trying to provide new tools to address these growing needs.

Box Zones will launch on AWS early this summer and will come to IBM Cloud later in the year.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Box announced Box Zones, a new system that will allow customers to store data in specific regions throughout Asia and Europe in order to comply with international data regulations.
  2. Box has partnered with IBM and AWS on Box Zones, which will help them garner attention from more customers outside the US, as well as give them more sway among enterprise customers.
  3. Box also recently announced Box KeySafe and Box Governance, meaning that the company is seriously targeting more large, multinational corporations as potential customers.

Also see