Box unveils a new partner program to boost customer trust

It's a trust thing for customers

A lot of businesses trust cloud sync-and-store provider Box, but they trust a lot of other solutions, too, for things like identity, data loss protection and digital rights management.

But you can't always trust them to integrate very well without some help.

With that in mind, Box is reaching out to its most trusted developer partners -- including new partners Symantec, Splunk, Palo Alto Networks and OpenDNS -- with the introduction of Box Trust, a program to certify that those outside solutions can be trusted to work seamlessly with Box. It's kind of a trust thing. 

"[Because] Box is the platform that powers the information that touches every part of an enterprise's business and beyond, our customers often look to us to tell them how what services will help them best secure and protect their data,"  Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie wrote in a blog entry. 

To be clear, this is certainly not Box stepping back from the open API platform that made it big in the enterprise in the first place, said Box General Manager of Enterprise Whitney Bouck.

"Our API will always be open for anybody to integrate with Box," Bouck said.

Instead, Box Trust is simply certifying that a very select breed of products have been vetted to work well with the core Box platform. The Box Trust shield is meant to deliver  a little bit of extra confidence to large customers who need to make sure that they get more security, control and compliance than the off-the-digital-shelf Box product offers. 

In addition to the four new vendors in the fold mentioned above, Box Trust partners include 15 longer-term partners like Okta, Reccomind, Dell, Skyhigh Networks, Ping Identity and OneLogin. Getting invited to join the Box Trust program is "based on market leadership, the value and quality of its integration with Box and a demonstrated commitment towards joint customer success," according to the company's statement.

Bouck promises more companies are coming. 

It's probably not a coincidence that this move comes not long after perennial rival Dropbox announced the expansion of its platform efforts with a new API that lets third-party vendors hook into a business deployment. Dropbox's goal is to similar ends:  boosting security and supporting custom workflows.

But when it comes to Box Trust, Bouck said the work is already done -- and many customers are already using these apps in their business. It's more a recognition of work already done than a new and risky initiative. Bouck also said that Box is committed to being a more secure, more transparent, more completely manageable solution out of the, uh, box. 

"Box by itself has to have enough inherent controls to be a secure solution," Bouck said. 

Another part of this announcement is Box for EMM, a version of the Box app designed to be deployed via mobile management solutions from vendors like VMware's AirWatch, Dell, MaaS360 by Fiberlink and MobileIron. This specialized version supports EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) controls for sending data between apps and remote wiping of sensitive data. 

Before, Bouck said, Box had an individual app for each environment, meaning that any app updates and any new EMM players entering the market required a lot of work on the backend. Now, one codebase means rapid iteration and rapid adoption of new technologies. 

"It's a bit of a re-architecture," Bouck said. 

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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