Category Archives: Box

IBM and Box announce global enterprise cloud partnership

US enterprise tech giant IBM has revealed a new global partnership with cloud storage outfit Box to integrate their products and sell into vertically targeted enterprise markets.

More specifically the strategic alliance will combine Box’s cloud collaboration platform with a number of IBM solutions, including analytics, cloud and security. Both companies will sell the combined products.

“Today’s digital enterprises demand world-class technologies that transform how their organizations operate both internally and externally,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box. “This extensive alliance between Box and IBM opens up an exciting opportunity for both companies to reach new markets and deliver unified solutions and services that can redefine industries, advance secure collaboration and revolutionize enterprise mobility.”

“This partnership will transform the way work is done in industries and professions that shape our experience every day,” said Bob Picciano, SVP of IBM Analytics. “The impact will be felt by experts and professionals in industries such as healthcare, financial services, law, and engineering who are overwhelmed by today’s digital data and seek better solutions to manage large volumes of information more intelligently and securely. The integration of IBM and Box technologies, combined with our global cloud capabilities and the ability to enrich content with analytics, will help unlock actionable insights for use across the enterprise.”

The alliance will focus on three main areas: content management and social collaboration; enterprise cloud, security and consulting; and custom app development for industries. The general thread of the announcement seems to be a desire to bring cloud applications to regions and industries that are not currently making the most of them and is just the latest in a sequence of collaborations by both Box and IBM.

Box to tap NTT’s VPN in Japan

Box is teaming up with NTT Com to launch Box over VPN

Box is teaming up with NTT Com to launch Box over VPN

Box and NTT Com have announced a partnership that will see the cloud storage incumbent offer access to its services through NTT’s VPN service. The companies said the move will improve confidence in cloud services among Japanese enterprises and expand the reach of both companies in the local IT services market.

Box also said the ‘Box over VPN’ scheme would improve network security for users and broaden the range of enterprise customers it caters to in the region, in particular enabling it to tap into government and financial services institutions.

“We’re thrilled to partner with NTT Com to help create transformative software for Japanese businesses in every industry,” said Box chief executive and founder Aaron Levie.

“This partnership will help more organizations to benefit from entirely new ways of working by elevating technology to enable secure collaboration and content management across geographical boundaries, while still meeting demands for robust control.”

Hidemune Sugawara, head of application & contents service, senior vice president of NTT Com, said: “By delivering added value based on NTT Com’s expertise in network security, we look forward to providing Box over VPN to a wide range of Japanese businesses. The partnership will enable Box to be combined with ID Federation1 and Salesforce over VPN2, both of which are provided by NTT Com, which will help to expand our file-collaboration businesses targeting large enterprises.”

Japan has one of the most mature cloud services markets in the Asia Pacific region, which as a whole is expected to generate about $7.4bn in 2015 according to Gartner.

US Department of Justice taps Box for file sharing and collaboration

The US DoJ is deploying Box as the company pushes forward in the public sector

The US DoJ is deploying Box as the company pushes forward in the public sector

The US Department of Justice is deploying Box in a bid to improve content sharing and collaboration. The company also said it will shortly receive Agency Authorization to Operate, which means the solution can be deployed across all DoJ agencies.

The DoJ said it is deploying Box to simplify internal and external collaboration between other federal government agencies and third-party organisations, improve support of mobile devices for content sharing and collaboration, and reduce its increasingly fragmented landscape of document storage and the tools used to manage content.

“There is an increasing need to securely connect and enable processes across agencies and jurisdictions as well as to connect government employees with their data, content, and stakeholders,” said Aaron Levie co-founder and chief executive officer at Box.

“Innovative government agencies, like DOJ, are deeply committed to leveraging emerging cloud technologies to better serve the American people, while ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive information. We are thrilled to support the DOJ’s technology efforts, helping to transform the way they manage and share information,” Levie said.

Box said it has over 40 federal government customers, over 34 million users and 45,000 organisations globally using its service, and the company is planning a big push into the public sector. The company recently brought on Sonny Hashmi, former chief information officer for the US General Services Administration to help it penetrate further into the public sector, and it is also currently pursuing FedRAMP compliance in a bid to certify the service for use across all US federal government agencies.

Box touts new customers as the battle to differentiate continues

Box co-founder and chief executive Aaron Levie briefing journalists and analysts in London this week

Box co-founder and chief executive Aaron Levie briefing journalists and analysts in London this week

Cloud storage incumbent Box announced a slew of new customers this week as the company, which was recently taken public, continues to nudge its balance sheet into the black. Despite strong competition in the segment and the added pressure that comes with being a public company Box continues to differentiate from both traditional and non-traditional competition, said co-founder and chief executive officer Aaron Levie.

Box announced this week it had inked large deployment deals with home and body cosmetics brand Rituals Cosmetics, the University of Dundee and Lancaster University, which cumulatively total close to 50,000 new seats on the cloud storage and collaboration platform.

“You’re seeing all of this disruption from new devices, new employees entering the workforce, new ways of working, new customer and consumer expectations about how they want to interact with your services. Customers really have to go digital with their enterprises,” said Levie said.

“From the inside, companies need to get more collaborative, move more quickly, make decisions faster, be able to have better technology for the workforce. It also means you’re going to have all new digital experiences to create your products, and offer an omnichannel customer experience – if you’re in retail, healthcare, this will drive fundamentally new business models.”

The company said it now has over 34 million users and 45,000 organisations globally using its service, with those companies belonging to a broad range of sectors – transportation, logistics utilities, healthcare, retail, the charity sector, and many more.

It’s planning a big push into Europe. Its UK office its fastest growing outfit with over 140 employees, and it recently hired former Microsoft cloud sales exec Jeremy Grinbaum to lead the company’s commercial expansion efforts in France and southern Europe. It’s also looking to deploy international datacentres to power its services outside the US within the next 12 to 18 months.

One of the big areas it’s trying to break into is financial services. The company recently introduced Box for Financial Services as part of its Box for Industries offerings, a growing portfolio of vertically-integrated cloud-based storage and collaboration platforms that bake industry-specific data management, security capabilities and workflow management requirements right into the service.

“Financial services has been slower to adopt the cloud, mostly because of an unclear regulatory environment,” Levie told BCN. “We’ve been working with financial services customers around the regulatory and compliance aspect, and with our encryption key technology we’ve gotten much farther along in terms of giving financial services firms the ability to adhere to their data security controls.”

Levie said the company has recently had some fairly big wins in the financial services space – none that he can mention publicly yet, of course – but some of the company’s customers in the sector already include US AA, US Bank, and T. Rowe Price to name a few.

Box for Industries (it already offers Box for Healthcare and Box for Retail) is central to how the company intends to differentiate itself among a growing sea of competitors – that, and its security investments. Levie said Box is more enterprise-y than Dropbox, widely viewed as one of its largest competitors, and more vertically-integrated than UK-based Huddle. But when asked about competition from non-traditional competitors like banks, some of which are using their substantial datacentre, security and digital service UX investments to provide their own cloud-based storage services to customers, he said he sees Box as more of a partner than rival.

The company recently launched Box Developer Edition, a software development kit that lets partners and customers use APIs to integrate Box’s technology into their own applications, Levie said banks can become Box partners and effectively white label its offering.

“Box ends up being a natural back-end service in that process. So instead of them having to build out all of the infrastructure, manage all the systems and then essentially recreate what our hundreds of engineers are doing,” he said. “The value proposition for [banks] is going to be the digital experience that allows them to interact with their customers.”

Box eyes retail manufacturers, engineering, construction firms with Verold acquisition

Box is looking to bolster its pitch to niche verticals

Box is looking to bolster its pitch to niche verticals

Box has acquired Verold, a Toronto-based 3D modelling and WebGL specialist, in a bid to bolster its appeal to retail manufacturers, engineering and construction firms.

Verold, which was founded in 2010, offers WebGL-based 3D modelling technology that lets users preview and edit 3D content without much computational overhead.

As part of the acquisition Box will move to integrate Verold’s technology into its platform. Verold’s teams with also become Box employees.

“At Verold, we believe interactive 3D web content has the power to transform a wide range of industries and applications, from manufacturing to ecommerce, and we believe the tools to build the 3D web should be broadly accessible,” said Ross McKegney, chief executive officer of Verold.

“Box’s incredible success in building an enterprise content platform that already reaches 45,000 businesses presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for us to bring the future of 3D content to millions of people around the world. We’re thrilled to be joining Box and can’t wait to get started,” McKegney said.

The cloud-based storage incumbent said the acquisition would enhance its ability to provide more solutions specifically tailored to various industries. Last year the company launched Box for Industries, a collection of Box offerings tailored to a range of niche verticals.

Box chief executive Aaron Levie discussed some of the drivers for the acquisition on the company’s blog, and hinted at where the next Box for Industries solutions might appear: “We’re finding that nearly every industry is experiencing information-driven transformation in unique ways, and the acquisition of Verold will allow us to go even farther than ever imagined.”

“Take for example a commercial construction contractor, faced with the challenge of collaborating on multiple projects at once with partners and contractors, or previewing detailed design drawings when in the field. Or an athletic wear retailer tasked with delivering the latest product design iterations across geographically dispersed teams. Being able to perform these workflows, right from a web browser, without having to download any additional software is a game-changing proposition in many industries,” he said.

The move comes just one month after Box’s latest acquisition. It recently purchased Subspace, a mobile security startup, for an undisclosed sum.

Box hires ex-Microsoft exec to bolster business in France

Jeremy Grinbaum,  regional vice president for France and southern Europe, Box

Jeremy Grinbaum, regional vice president for France and southern Europe, Box

Box has hired former Microsoft cloud sales exec Jeremy Grinbaum to lead the company’s commercial expansion efforts in France and southern Europe.

Grinbaum, who will be based in Box’s Paris office, has been broad on board as regional vice president for France and southern Europe to drive the cloud storage incumbent’s business in the region, which includes setting up a local sales team.

“We are seeing significant traction in France and southern Europe as businesses in these regions begin to adopt cloud systems to drive efficiency and collaboration,” said David Quantrell, senior vice president and general manager of EMEA at Box.

“We are excited to accelerate our growth in southern Europe, and Jeremy’s leadership and expertise are exactly what we need to drive the adoption of Box’s content and collaboration platform.”

Before joining Box Grinbaum spent the past few years as a senior sales executive at Microsoft, focusing on the company’s cloud services including Yammer and Office 265. He founded a cloud-based collaboration start up in 2007, PersonAll, and has also held senior sales roles at Google, IBM, and TRSB.

“France and southern Europe are moving quickly in the adoption of new technologies. Enterprises are looking for solutions that will allow them to move off of expensive, legacy architecture and create more agile and iterative environments for employees,” Grinbaum said. “I am excited to join this innovative company and play a role in helping organizations transform the way they work.”

Last month Box revealed its quarterly results to the public for the first time, which showed promise. Billings in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 were $82m, a 33 per cent year on year increase. But the company has over the years spent hundreds of millions of dollars bolstering its sales and marketing efforts, accumulating a significant amount of debt in the process, so it’s likely Box’s main focus will be on delivering the return shareholders are looking for from its southern European expansion.

Amazon follows Box, Microsoft in removing cloud storage caps

Amazon, Box and Microsoft are also offering unlimited cloud storage plans now

Amazon, Box and Microsoft are also offering unlimited cloud storage plans now

Following a move to give unlimited cloud storage to Amazon Prime customers the company has now announced unlimited cloud storage plans for its Amazon Cloud Drive service. The move comes some time after a number of the company’s competitors in the cloud storage space made similar moves.

The company announced two new cloud storage plans – Unlimited Photos Plan, which allows users to store an unlimited number of photos and includes 5GB for other file types, and an Unlimited Everything Plan, which includes unlimited storage for any file type.

The Unlimited Everything Plan costs $60 per year; the Unlimited Photos Plan, $12 per year.

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, director of Amazon Cloud Drive in prepared remarks.

“With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place,” he said.

The move may be a sign Amazon is starting to feel the heat from competitors in the cloud storage space. Box, which recently went public, had last year announced that it would remove storage limits for enterprise users of the popular storage suite, with Microsoft following suit with its Unlimited OneDrive storage offering soon after.

How an Adwords Campaign Accidentally Exposed Dropbox and Box User’s Confidential Files

We previously reported on a Dropbox Security Snafu (and their correction for it). Now we’re learning more about how it came about, and how it was discovered.

There are several ways users can inadvertently leak confidential files, but the one that is the real head-scratcher is a combination of a user entering the URL of a Dropbox or Box file-sharing link in their browser’s “search box” rather than the “URL box”, combined with Google AdWords campaigns by competitors who want their ads to appear with people “search” for Dropbox or Box (pretty standard stuff).

The sites running such a campaign then — completely innocently — see what users are searching for, and what they are “searching for” turns out to be fully-clickable URLs to files that often contain sensitive personal or company data.

If you think that’s too rare a scenario to worry about, think again:

In one short and entirely innocently designed ad campaign alone, we found that about 5 per cent of hits represented full links to shared files, half of which required no password to download. This amounted to over 300 documents from a small campaign, including several tax returns, a mortgage application, bank information and personal photos. In one case, corporate information including a business plan was uncovered.

That’s from Richard Anstey of Intralink, the people who stumbled on the issue.

Look at this to see (redacted) images of one person’s tax return, and another’s mortgage application. Identity theft, anyone?

Read more about how Intralink discovered all this, along with some good advice on protecting yourself.

TL;DR: sensitive file? Use a sharing application that offers a password or PIN option.

The Notion of the File is Fading Away

The most interesting takeaway from a Wired article on Box’s move to include collaborative editing in its file sharing service:

“…what’s happening now is that the applications are becoming the primary portals to our data, and the notion of the file is fading away. As Levie indicates, you never browse a PC-like file system on your phone. You access your data through applications, and so often, that data resides not on your local device, but on a cloud service somewhere across the net.”

Read the article.


Google, Amazon Outages a Real Threat For Those Who Rely On Cloud Storage

Guest Post by Simon Bain, CEO of SearchYourCloud.

It was only for a few minutes, however Google was down. This follows hot on the heels of the other major cloud provider Amazon being down for a couple of hours earlier in August. This even relatively short outage could be a real problem for organizations that rely on these services to store their enterprise information. I am not a great lover of multi-device synchronization, I mean all those versions kicking around your systems! However if done well, it could be one of the technologies that help save ‘Cloud Stores’ from the idiosyncrasies of the Internet and a connected life.

We seem to be currently in the silly season of outages, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google all stating that their problems were cause by a switch being replaced or an update going wrong.

These outages may seem small for the supplier. But they are massive for the customer, who is unable to access sales data or invoices for a few hours.

This however, should not stop people using these services. But it should make them shop around, and look at what is really on offer. A service that does not have synchronization may well sound great. But if you do not have a local copy of your document on the device that you are actually working on, and your connection goes down, for whatever reason, then your work will stop.

SearchYourCloud Inc. has recently launched SearchYourCloud, a new application that enables people to securely find and access information stored in Dropbox, Box, GDrive, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint or with a single search. Using either a Windows PC or any IOS device, SearchYourCloud will also be available for other clouds later in the year.

SearchYourCloud enables users to not only find what they are searching for, but also protects their data and privacy in the cloud.

Simon Bain

Simon Bain is Chief Architect and CEO of SearchYourCloud, and also serves on the Board of the Sun Microsystems User Group.