Data Portability: Box.net and SnapLogic

Data portability is a pretty hot topic these days, largely thanks to Facebook’s claims that users own their own information. Posterous is pushing for data portability through a new 15-day campaign where they’re unveiling a new tool each day that helps users to easily migrate their blog from another site to Posterous. The Data Portability Project has also begun its crusade to help people to use and protect the data they create on networked services, and to advocate for compliance with the values of DataPortability.

But what about data portability in the enterprise? This is a major concern for businesses that want to ensure that they still have ownership of their content, even when its storage is outsourced to a cloud vendor. At Box.net, we believe wholeheartedly in data portability, both as a safeguard for businesses, but also as a driver for vendors to build a better product. If you build a superior service in line with your customers’ needs, data portability can only help you; if your product is lacking, your customers and their data should have the freedom to go elsewhere.

This is why we’re excited to be working with SnapLogic. Their integration platform makes it easy to connect services and – if we’re doing our job right – it will encourage more users to move their content to Box by greatly simplifying data migration. But data portability is not just about moving files off of one platform and onto another; it’s also about maximizing the value of content by sharing it between services. Box is already integrated with popular cloud services like salesforce.com, Google Apps and NetSuite, but there are a multitude of applications that we have yet to integrate with, or that serve very specific use cases. We want our customers to be able to extend the content they manage on Box to any business application, and by using the Box Snap, they can easily connect Box with other platforms on their own. Of course, all of the tools that make it easy to move content onto our platform also make it easy to move it off of Box. Our APIs are open to the public, so businesses can use them to move and share their content as they see fit – even if that means taking it to a competitor. This drives us to constantly innovate and build a better product. We’d rather invest our engineers’ time and effort in constantly improving our product, not designing tricky ways to prevent users from leaving.

So remember, good companies don’t trap users by holding their data hostage. Good companies keep users by giving them the best features and service as they don’t make users stay, they make users want to stay.

-Alex Willen
Business Analyst for Box.net


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