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Box Platform Now Available in Microsoft Azure

The Box collaboration and enterprise content management (ECM) service is now available in Microsoft's Azure public cloud, marking the latest integration points between the two companies in recent years. Box and Microsoft, which are also competitors with overlapping collaboration capabilities, found it in their respective best interests two years ago to work together, staring with basic Office 365 integration.

Both companies extended their partnership in June and elaborated on their extended roadmap at last month's BoxWorks 2017 conference. Box had indicated then that the first new capability would start when it began offering its service in all of Microsoft's Azure global regions. The service that Box made available last week allows Box customers to use Azure as their primary storage for Box content, said Sanjay Manchanda, in an interview last week.

"It's Box content management capabilities with the content being stored in Azure," he said. Box historically has run its own datacenter operations throughout the world, but decided its best route to scaling would be to partner with the large global cloud providers. In addition to its arrangement with Microsoft, Box has partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM. Manchanda, who worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years before joining Box, said the partnership with his former employer is similar to its relationship with IBM, where both include technical and comarketing pacts.

Manchanda noted that giving Box customers access to its service in Azure will simplify cross-organization collaboration among employees and their external partners, suppliers and customers. It will also provide secure content management by tapping Box's integrations with more than 1,400 SaaS-based applications, including those offered via Office 365, and will allow organizations to do the same when building custom applications.

The roadmap calls for Box to use Microsoft's Azure Key Vault service, which lets organizations bring and manage their own encryption keys. While Box offers its own encryption service called Box Key Safe, which uses a hardware security module (HSM) for encryption, it won't be making it into the new service. "We plan to use the service that Azure Key Vault provides," he said.

Box also plans, as part of its roadmap, to integrate Microsoft Cognitive Services with its service, allowing customers to automatically identify content, categorize it, run workflows and make it easier for users to find information.

Now available in the United States, Box intends to roll it out throughout Microsoft's 40 Azure regions, and allow customers with data sovereignty requirements to ensure their data doesn't leave the confines of a specific country or locale, Manchanda explained. Asked whether Box plans to support Azure Stack, either deployed on a customer's premises or via a third party managed services provider, Manchanda said that isn't part of the current roadmap -- but didn't rule it out if there's customer demand.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/29/2017 at 1:47 PM


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