FDA selects Box to help it modernize IT infrastructure

The deal is strategically important for Box as it grows its business in both the government and life sciences sectors.

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Box on Wednesday announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has selected the cloud content management company to help it modernize its technical infrastructure.

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While the Box deployment will not be agency-wide, it is a strategically important deal for Box, given its growing presence in both the government and life sciences sectors. For the life sciences in particular, "We feel Box could become that connective tissue between industry and regulatory bodies like the FDA," Sonny Hashmi, managing director of Global Government at Box, told ZDNet.

Initially, Box will work with the FDA on specific uses cases, including digitizing and automating processes, so FDA staff can use Box as a central content portal for internal collaboration.

Box is also helping the agency improve external collaboration with third-party partners. That includes external experts who may help in audits and reviews, as well as private entities like pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers that need FDA approval for their products. These third-party stakeholders, along with consumers, "expect to work in new digital ways, and the FDA has to meet them where they are," Hashmi said.

The FDA is "not only looking for tools to improve business collaboration," Hashmi said, but "they also wanted a platform they could build future capabilities on top of and integrate into customer and stakeholder-facing systems."

The initial deployment should be relatively quick, but Box plans to work with the FDA as it develops new integration requirements and new Box use cases evolve. The life sciences industry is a "huge strategic vertical" for Box, Hashmi said. Creating a seamless and secure connection between the industry and regulatory bodies could help improve processes like FDA product reviews.

Meanwhile, the FDA is just one of more than 10,000 government agencies from around the globe now using Box. Within the US, Box customers include other major agencies like NASA, the Justice Department, and the Defense Department.

These agencies often work together to handle major challenges facing the nation, and "we're increasingly seeing that legacy technology is not designed for this cross-agency collaboration," Hashmi said. Traditional, monolithic technology stacks, he said, face compliance challenges and are not designed for implementing capabilities like two-factor authentication or keeping data at rest encrypted.

"Many customers are asking us to become that connective tissue so people across agencies can work securely with each other, and have situational awareness where and when they need it," Hashmi continued. "We're excited to be a part of this market as agencies start to rethink their stack moving forward."

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