Why Enterprise Backup Solutions are a Good Investment
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The idea of backing up your data is as old as computing itself. Remember autosave? That was what you hoped would happen while typing away in Corel WordPerfect just in case you encountered the blue screen of death (BSOD). Back in the late 90s at the peak of dot-com mania, hard drive space was still expensive, so industrial-sized backups took place using a device similar to a cassette recorder. Magnetic tape backups were slow, but an economical way to store and transport data. A small tape might contain gigs of software applications, and pirates would use these tapes to exchange warez via snail mail.
Today, hard drive costs have plummeted, and the backup process largely involves making sure all your files are stored “in the cloud” where someone else can worry about backing things up. That’s where concern about backups ends for Joe Consumer, but for any corporation, backups are still extremely important. Even if you’re using a popular cloud provider like Google or Amazon, knowing that your company’s most precious assets are stored on someone else’s infrastructure doesn’t help you sleep well at night. That’s why a unicorn called Rubrik has developed enterprise backup software that transforms boring data backups into exciting business assets.
Enterprise Backup Solutions from Rubrik
Founded in 2014, Silicon Valley startup Rubrik has taken in $553 million in funding so far from investors that include famed VC Khosla and elite management consulting firm Bain. A cursory look at the Rubrik homepage shows a focus on “data backups,” but they do so much more than that. They’re “focused on building solutions that reduce the friction and time required to run and manage modern IT environments.” Those boring data backups are now being analyzed to extract insights. Says the company:
With Rubrik, backup data doesn’t sit idle. We harness metadata into a universal ledger, intelligently capturing insights on data changes, user permissions, and access activity. Our data management applications exploit this proprietary metadata framework to address governance, compliance, data privacy regulations, ransomware activity, and cloud mobility.Credit: Rubrik
Some of these use cases sound quite familiar if you’ve done hard time in any big multinational corporation. The amount of process and procedure around compliance, data privacy, and governance, means entire departments are dedicated to making sure everyone follows the rules. You need to check all the boxes so you don’t get fined, or worse, exposed on the front page of a newspaper because you didn’t take sufficient steps to make sure your customer’s precious data was safe from prying eyes. In order to keep sensitive data safe, you need to identify it first.
Automating Data Governance
Data governance sounds kind of like what blockchain technology has been promising everyone – the ability to see where data originated from, how it changes over time, who changes it, and who has access to it. There’s also this notion of data consistency, where a client might be listed in three systems under slightly different names:
- Mary Jane’s Flower Shop
- Mary Jane’s Flower LTD.
- Mary Jane’s
It might be easy for a human to figure out these are all the same entity, but why use slow, error-prone humans when machine learning can perform the job constantly? A new offering from Rubrik called Polaris Sonar scans your production environments in real-time for sensitive data that may be breaking the rules – according to the plethora of new regulations that business owners are constantly needing to adhere to – GLBA, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and the list of acronyms goes on.
The interface seen above is a simple way to set up data governance policies for your entire organization. Just because you have a compliance department that bugs your employees doesn’t mean there aren’t any security breaches happening. If you’re the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), it all happens on your watch. That’s why knowing the location of sensitive data and monitoring it is so important.
Another equally important concern for any company is the ability to function in times of unexpected crisis. For example, what would happen if every employee across the planet had to suddenly work from home?
Business Continuity Planning (BCP)
Anyone who is responsible for critical business functions knows about business continuity planning (BCP). It usually starts with a verbose email from compliance asking you to dream up every implausible disaster recovery scenario you can think of (floods, mass shootings, pandemics, natural disasters, the loss of key employees, etc.), then convince everyone you can still conduct business if all that bad stuff happened at once. As with any corporate initiative, the BCP process is best measured using more cryptic-sounding acronyms.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
Bad things happen, and when they do, you need to restore your systems back to the last known time when everything was kosher. The recovery point objective (RPO) is the earliest possible point in time when your systems can be restored to prior when disaster strikes.
If you’re backing up all systems every four hours, and disaster strikes three hours and 59 minutes after the last backup, you would lose almost four hours’ worth of data. The more often you back up, the less data you lose when disaster strikes. However, backing up more often taxes your resources and requires loads more disk space. That’s why Rubrik came up with something called Continuous Data Protection where all changes or writes are saved to a journal file for a specific timeframe. This allows them to achieve near-zero RPOs. No matter what happens, you can quickly restore your critical systems.
One use case for restoring your data backups is when hackers take control of your digital assets and demand you send them some worthless cryptocurrency to free them.
Backup Software as Ransomware Protection
In speaking with some of the world’s leading experts in cybercrime, we learned how many security situations are borne out of financial motivations. More than 90% of all cybercrimes in the world now involve some form of money theft.
Hackers know the extent to which a company will go to “make the problem go away,” and they’ll often hold a firm hostage with a threat. “Just send $20,000 in bitcoin to this address and you’ll never hear from us again,” is a pretty tempting out for a company whose entire customer database is being held for ransom. That’s why this sort of attack is often referred to as ransomware, and it’s just one of the problems that Rubrik helps make go away.
Some industries are more prone to ransomware attacks, like the cargo airline industry. In order to protect against this increased risk, companies can now purchase “cyber insurance” which protects against attacks like ransomware. One airline reported having difficulty getting cyber insurance until they adopted Rubrik’s solution. In other words, those who don’t adopt a solution like this are taking on so much risk that even insurance companies don’t want none of that. It’s an even easier sell to the C-suite when you look at how much money can be saved using the tool.
Enterprise Backups Can Cut Costs
Optimizing a company’s entire backup process using a single provider means you will likely save money and time by adopting Rubrik’s solution. Here are a few examples:
- Toyota Material Handling – 90%+ faster restores, 80% reduction in datacenter footprint
- Mall of America – 80% reduction in management time savings, 90% faster restores
- Meredith Corporation – Near-zero RTOs (from days to minutes), 90% management time savings (2 FTEs to a few hours per day)
- The CSI Companies – 66% average faster ticket response times, 50% cost savings with Microsoft Azure integration
Having a holistic backup solution with a single provider benefits everyone in the C-suite – some much-needed CYA for the CTO who can sleep well at night, cost savings that will make the CFO happy, and some wins for the CEO to talk about in the next Board meeting.
Investing in Rubrik Stock
Rubrik stock seems like a way to play the exponential growth in big data along with the high-growth area of cybersecurity. They’re not a publicly traded firm, but there are secondary markets out there where you might be able to purchase shares of Rubrik which – according to the CB Insights Unicorn List – is presently valued at $3.3 billion. Prior to making an investment, you ought to understand some basic metrics associated with Software-as-a–Service (SaaS) business models.
How many customers are renewing their contracts? What’s the run-rate growth over the past X years? How much increased spend are they able to realize with existing customers? These are all questions that become easy to answer when you peek into the financials. In the absence of that, one thing that makes Rubrik stand out is the information advantage you get by having a CEO who invites every single employee to board meetings. Every person who works at Rubrik is privy to the inner workings of the company, something that is completely unheard of in most corporations.
As investors, we love corporations that are transparent. We can use the additional information to make better investment decisions. While Rubrik may be one of the best at what they do – at least according to the MBAs over at Forrester – there is plenty of competition when it comes to data resiliency solutions.
A CEO who is transparent will be forthcoming about where the competition sits and what strategy they’re using to compete. (Unlike Dell EMC which doesn’t want to play with others when it comes to Forrester surveys.)
“For decades, data management has been a dysfunctional interdepartmental challenge,” says Rubrik. With the emergence of disruptive technologies like The Internet-of-Everything and 5G, the amount of data available to be exploited by sinister characters will increase exponentially. Companies want a single solution provider that they can
blame turn to for guidance when everything goes wrong. You can’t put a price on that peace of mind. When you consider that the Rubrik solution will actually save corporations money, adoption becomes a no-brainer.
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