Dropbox launches local hosting for ANZ region to meet customer demand

Files will be located within the AWS Asia Pacific Sydney Region.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Dropbox announced at Dropbox Connect 2019 on Tuesday that Australian and New Zealand customers will be able to store their Dropbox files onshore.

The file storage company had announced its plans for local hosting in March.

Dropbox's director of security Rajan Kapoor told ZDNet that while providing local storage in the ANZ region won't necessarily improve how users do their work, the move to provide a data sovereignty option is a direct response to customer requests for one.

"What we're seeing in response to not really understanding what the nature of the problem is, when you have a massively distributed system, when you localise it to one place, it's very hard to have the redundancies and services you need if something were to happen," Kapoor said.

"But at the same time, there is a real need today for localisation, driven by [local] requirements, so customers need that and customers are asking for it, so Dropbox is committed to meeting those needs for them."

Customers wanted to have the option to store their Dropbox files in Australia for number of reasons, including meeting regulatory requirements specific to their industries or meeting corporate policies and preferences around data sovereignty, Dropbox ANZ country manager Dean Swan told ZDNet.

"The request was consistent across our customer base from a number of different industries including education, construction, media, retail, health, non-profit, and government." 

See also: Dropbox adds expanded table functions to Paper

The sovereign Dropbox environment will be located within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Asia Pacific Sydney Region and is available to all Dropbox Business customers in Australia and New Zealand. 

While AWS received certification from the Australian Cyber Security Centre to be able to provide storage for highly sensitive government workloads out of its AWS Asia Pacific (Sydney) Region, the certification will not apply to Dropbox as it is deploying its own architecture on top of AWS, Swan said.

Prior to the launch, Australian hosting was trialled by various beta customers for several months and with varying uses cases, workflows, and data migration needs to ensure the environment was robust and could meet all anticipated requirements.

Dropbox last week unveiled a revamped user experience across all of its platforms, creating what it described as a new integrated workspace and the biggest user-facing change in the company's history.

In a nutshell, the company updated its desktop experience, dropbox.com, and the mobile app, and rolled out native integrations with Slack, Zoom, and Atlassian while improving its integration with G Suite content. The update will also allow users to operate in a single workspace the company touted as allowing files, fragmented work tools, and teams to come together.

For its first quarter financial results, released in May, Dropbox delivered a net loss of $7.7 million, but gained revenue of $385.6 million, which was up 22%. It also grew its paying user base to 13.2 million, up from 11.5 million for the same period last year. 

Updated at 6:35pm AEST, 18 June 2019: added additional comments from Dropbox.

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