Box has typically been at the forefront of enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) needs, delivering features and benefits to customers months, if not years, ahead of the competition. 

So it might appear, to some, as if Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie was caught off guard last year when the European Union (EU) announced the strengthening of its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to address the export of personal data outside of the EU. In simple terms, the regulation requires personally identifiable information (PII) to be stored locally. 

This has been a problem for Box because its storage cloud is in the United States.

Until today, that is.

Go Global with Zones

This morning at the London stop of Box Tour Europe, Levie announced Box Zones, a feature that gives Box customers the option of storing their most critical content locally. Instead of building its own infrastructure, as it has in the US, Box has partnered with Amazon Cloud Services (AWS) and IBM to provide Box-like the capabilities in Europe and Asia.

Now a would-be Box customer doing business in Germany, for example, will be able to use Box's service to manage, collaborate and store content and other files according to EU rules.

“This (capability) truly positions Box as an Enterprise player,” Alan Pelz-Sharpe, vice president and managing director, Digital Clarity Group, told CMSWire. It is a a check-in a requirements box that used to be left empty.

New to Who?

It's worth noting that would-be competitors like Microsoft One Drive for Business, Google for Work, Syncplicity and Egnyte, among others, already offer this capability

While Box may suggest that getting to market late isn’t that big a deal, it just lost a record-breaking 330,000 seat deal to Syncplicity. Of course, Syncplicity has had the benefit of being owned and now partnered with storage giant EMC. 

Egnyte, for its part, leverages Google Cloud. Pelz-Sharpe called Syncplicity a “small player” and Egnyte “interesting." But at the end of the day, the file sharing game is between two vendors, he said, Dropbox and Box.

Box, for its part, has outgrown its EFSS roots. Pelz-Sharpe told CMSWire that when he talks to clients about acquiring Enterprise Content Management (ECM) products, the conversation centers on Box, EMC Documentum, IBM, OpenText and others. “Box is absolutely turning up,” he said.

'Wanted to Do It Right'

Why did it take Box so long to come up with Zones? “

It’s not as simple as making a deal with IBM and Amazon and then flipping a switch, Jon Fan, Box’s director of product management, explained.

“This is something that we’ve been working on for a while,” he said. “We wanted to do it right, in a transparent way so that customers could have as much choice as possible.”