Oxfam unwraps mobile collaboration benefits with Box’s cloud content service

The move to Box will mean that Oxfam workers will get mobile access to data on the move and at remote locations

UK charity Oxfam has chosen Box's cloud content sharing and collaboration platform for its teams working across 90 countries.

The move to Box means Oxfam workers will get mobile access to data on the move and at remote locations. Using cloud-based data sharing service will help Oxfam achieve its mission of mobilising the power of people against poverty.

Besides providing the cloud file sharing service to improve collaboration among employees across different countries at Oxfam, Box will centralise the management and security for Oxfam’s 17 international affiliates.

“We have teams across the globe working on hundreds of projects,” said Grant Holton-Picard, technical infrastructure manager at Oxfam. “Box will provide a smooth, unified, way of accessing content and a brilliant collaboration platform across the Oxfam family.”

Speaking at a Box’s Business without Boundaries event in London today, Box chief executive Aaron Levie said Oxfam is its recent customer in Europe. Other Box’s European and UK-specific customers include British Gas Group, Peterborough Council, Heathrow airport and FIFA.

“We have 240,000 businesses using Box’s service and there are about 45,000 developers in the ecosystem. Box has 99% reach within the Fortune 500 group,” Levie said. Some of its global customers include Toyota, Walmart, Schneider Electric and General Electric, among others.

“But Oxfam is interesting because it has a mobile-specific use case,” Levie said. “Box has increasingly become the underlying IT infrastructure at Oxfam.”

Oxfam’s deployment underscores the increased adoption Box has seen in Europe, as organisations and companies of all sizes move towards a more mobile and collaborative workforce, according to David Quantrell, Box’s senior vice-president and general manager of Europe.

Secure sharing

“Oxfam does incredible work in the world’s most vulnerable areas. Box helps enable secure content sharing, collaboration and mobility with robust admin controls to securely run the global organisation.”

Oxfam’s IT had put a strong emphasis on providing employees with the tools they needed to be efficient and productive. “Being able to share precious information instantaneously across continents – from capital cities to the remotest locations – is vital for improving staff collaboration and organisational impact,” Holton-Picard said.

Using Box’s cloud-based file sync and share service, Oxfam’s IT team makes it easy for its employees to share and collaborate on key issues in real-time.

UK-based Oxfam becomes the latest non-profit organisation to use Box’s cloud content technologies. Earlier this year, Box launched Box.org – an an initiative focused on empowering global non-profits to achieve their missions and deliver lasting social impact though technology. Big not-for-profit organisations using the service include International Rescue Committee, the UN Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation.

According to Karen Appleton, head of Box.org, there is enormous potential for innovation in the non-profit sector, but 87% of these organisations are without a dedicated IT department, and most are strapped for resources. 

“Organisations committed to doing good and serving others should have access to the innovative technologies they need to help them achieve their goals,” Appleton said.

Levie’s vision for Europe

Box does not have datacentres in Europe, it is considering building Europe-based datacentres in the next two to three years.

“There is a lot of noise around data protection and privacy especially in the wake of the recent US revelations [Prism scandal],” Levie said.

This has really put off a lot of already-paranoid companies from cloud-based file storing, sharing and syncing facilities, he added. But those that want to accelerate innovation and take advantage of mobility, they have a better, more pragmatic approach. 

“They are more concerned about content security and whether data is encrypted and less about where it is exactly residing,” said Levie.

According to Levie, physical location of data is “irrelevant” and only a geo-political issue. “That’s got nothing to do with data security,” Levie said. “Box service is something that enterprises use to share data globally and we have proper encryption processes.”

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