Is Box Solving Its CloudOnly Problem BoxWorks

Box CEO Aaron Levie loves the cloud. He wears cloud socks, his license plate said “GoCloud” and he knocks on-prem storage as if it were an artifact from the Flintstone era anytime he gets the chance.

Hip and forward thinking as he may be, being “cloud only” is one of Box’s biggest problems. In its most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Gartner wrote:

Despite implementations in proprietary data centers, Box's offering is available only in a public cloud model. No hybrid model for data storage on-premises is supported. The movement or replication of corporate content in Box's cloud repository is not a viable option for some IT organizations."

The reality is that Levie’s stance is costing Box business because many, many enterprises aren’t willing to store their most precious, most sensitive, most strategic information on the public cloud.

Recognizing the Issue

In the past, Box’s strategy has been to focus on two things. The first: winning business from enterprises that don’t see “public cloud only” storage as that big of an issue. And the second: to convince enterprises that the security Box provides is as good as what can be found in corporate data centers.

Now it seems Box has come to realize that the lack of an on-prem alternative is costing it business.

And it's doing something about it.

Today at BoxWorks, Box’s annual user conference, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Whitney Bouck, announced an extended partnership with AT&T. She, together with Abhi Ingle, AT&T’s senior vice president for advanced solutions, said they intend to provide AT&T NetBond (SM) as a highly secure on-ramp to the Box cloud.

In a Box blog post supplementing the on-stage announcement, Box’s VP of Business Development Jamie Perlman wrote:

With AT&T NetBond, customers can connect to their mission-critical cloud services via their AT&T MPLS, which delivers highly secure connections with high reliability and performance capabilities rather than relying on access via the public Internet. This means our joint AT&T and Box customers can now access Box as if it were on their own corporate network and with the bandwidth and level of service they desire.”


Deeper Integration

Earlier this year Box announced that its customers who use AT&T’s BYOD solution, AT&T Toggle, would be able to manage Box mobile apps via the service. Today on the BoxWorks stage Bouck said that the companies would be jointly working together to seamlessly integrate Box into the main AT&T Toggle workspace.

“Available in early 2015, this deeper integration will enable AT&T Toggle users to even more easily access and save their business-related Box content — such as documents, presentations, images and videos — without ever leaving the Toggle environment,” wrote Perlman.

While it’s clear that not every would-be Box customer does business with AT&T and vice versa, its one good way in which Box can eliminate a major obstacle or clear a hurdle. More arrangements like this would help.

There were other third party partnerships that attempt solving the problem in different way, which we will cover later.