Box introduces data offshoring in the cloud with ‘Zones’


Enterprise cloud collaboration pure-play Box has announced a new addition to its platform. Box Zones allows content within the Box environment to be stored in data centres in Germany, Ireland, Singapore, and/or Japan based on customer needs. This ability to store data regionally across Europe and Asia will help organisations to “centralise critical content […] while addressing local data storage requirements,” said the company.

The announcement was made at the ‘Box World Tour: Europe’ event in London.

The context for the move could hardly be more politically charged or significant, as arguments rage internationally over a number of interconnected issues. These include: US Safe Harbor regulations; the cultural and regulatory differences in the US and European approaches to digital business, privacy, and data security; data storage and security across the European Union; the UK’s place within Europe (and the possible ‘Brexit’); and the UK’s surveillance plans, which may begin breaking apart the internet into separately policed data fiefdoms.

Offering organisations the ability to – in effect – move their data to different parts of the globe in order to benefit from (or avoid) regional differences is both a timely and comprehensive rebuff to any legislators that are trying to create ‘national internets’.

However, the move also reveals the myth behind ‘the’ cloud; in reality, there is no single, free-flowing, transnational cloud – no fog of egalitarian code – but thousands of different clouds, based in real-world data centres within national jurisdictions. In short, the 21st Century’s data battles are not being fought in the air, but on land, and are as much about hardware as they are about code.

Welcome to offshoring your data on demand.

“Businesses today are more connected, collaborative and global thanks to the power of the cloud,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. “Yet for many companies, local laws and regulations have forced them to make technology tradeoffs that limit their success and place a drag on employee productivity and collaboration. Box Zones will help power digital transformation for enterprise customers across Europe and Asia and accelerate our international presence.”

Terry Wise, Vice President of Worldwide Partner Ecosystem, Amazon Web Services, Inc., added: “We believe customers should have the freedom to choose where and how their data is stored. With Box Zones leveraging Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), customers can better meet the highest levels of security and regulatory compliance required in their respective geographies.”

“As enterprises turn to cloud as an innovation platform, data is at the centre,” added Robert LeBlanc, senior VP, IBM Cloud. “Box Zones on the IBM Cloud, with new technology from the recent acquisition of Cleversafe, will provide a platform for clients who prefer to store data in country for performance, security, or other advantages. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Box and helping serve clients in Europe and Asia through our network of IBM Cloud Data Centres.”

Box Zones joins other recent offerings, such as Box Governance, in helping to differentiate Box as an enterprise provider from competitors such as Dropbox, which have focused on free consumer services.

About Author

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton is a widely respected business and technology journalist, author, and magazine editor. In recent years he has been Editor of Computing (where he remains Consulting Editor); co-founder and Managing Editor of Professional Outsourcing – a magazine he developed from scratch and grew to be the leading magazine in its field; Editor of CBR in its most successful year; and co-founder and launch Editor of Today, he is co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, and founder, designer, and Editor in Chief of Strategist magazine (UK), the boardroom magazine that provides strategic insight for business leaders, and of its mobile-first digital edition at He is also co-founding Editor of Child Internet Safety magazine, and a contributing Editor of Over the years Chris has also written for, among many others, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and Computer Weekly. He is the author of several successful books on digital media, and a commissioning editor of more than 50 books.