Robert Kaloustian, Vice President, Worldwide Technical Services, Commvault in an interview with Techseen, explains how there are many unanswered questions about cloud adoption and Big data protection, how he looks at the APAC region and its potential future partnerships and how businesses can leverage Commvault’s data management platform. Excerpts:
Techseen: What are the major security or privacy concerns related to data management?
A lot of people don’t know where to start because they are not backed by a good inventory and hence do not know what data may or may not be secure. Customers wants data security and privacy but they also want to able to conduct their business. Some of the concerns I have heard from the CIOs and others in the domain are, they don’t even know what should be secured. They lack that exposure and that is why they’re looking for Commvault to give them insights on what they can have on floor.
The other is the need to lock down access to things, once there is a threat identified. There is the need to go back historically to see how an event occurred and how someone got access to network vulnerabilities. In other words, understanding and treating different data from a security angle is a major concern. And the other one is being able to preserve different pieces of data for that we offer forensics analysis to help companies, keep it running.
Techseen: Is big data security fundamentally different from traditional data security? If yes, how?
I don’t think there is any fundamental difference between traditional data security and Big Data management. In fact the needs are the same except the scale is different. The needs are however different every time. They (companies) don’t need to secure all of the data, because they’re generating a lot of data based on their analytics. I think Big Data and its management pose a greater obstacle because of the different analytics that come along with it. It makes it more complicated, although the needs are similar from a security standpoint. Similarly, the cost of crunching Big Data and security is also a differentiating factor when compared to traditional data security. And it can cost a lot, if you do it the old school way to lock it all down.
A lot of the Big Data systems tend to generate data that is only needed for today or tomorrow but it’s still relevant. And can be relevant five years from now. So, the cost to secure something like that can be a challenge. Many customers struggle with the same because they don’t have granular insights to what should and shouldn’t be secured in the Big Data world.
Techseen: Do countries in APAC have different security needs compared to the US? How do enterprises approach security in the region as compared to the US?
I see some differences because it hugely depends upon the market you’re in. For example, in Australia we see a deep push to the cloud but in the US, the adoption to the public cloud is bigger and hence a bigger market. So a lot can be done just to secure the breach of data and control of it once they’re in the cloud environment.
Whereas, in Asia Pacific (APAC) when we talk about security, it is more of compliance angle because there might be improper or unfavorable actions by individuals or government officials. I think, we see similar needs and a similar process, it just depends upon the market. But the difference comes with compliance of local rules and laws that exists in APAC.
In the US, you can comfort anything into the cloud and there has to be a description about where the data goes but if you go to Germany or Holland for that matter they don’t want to put everything on the cloud. Also, I see the US almost changing a little bit and becoming more descriptive about the public cloud and what it means for a more secure perspective.
I don’t like to use the word maturity. I like to use the word focused. I also say the advantage some APAC countries have over many areas is that they skipped some legacy technologies, such as mainframes, and so they are in a better spot to shift to cloud and other technologies. Because these businesses in APAC have skipped some of the bad decisions and old ideas and leaped to a newer thinking. They are more concurrent to the market and its demands. Whereas you might notice that in the US, we focus on something that can be called the legacy technology.
Techseen: Do you think technology is the only barrier?
It is not always a technology issue, it is more of a labor and compliance issue of the country the Big Data systems are in. People make decisions about what could migrate to the cloud and what data could be shared with other and I think the vendor has to be very clued in to those unique requirements by countries. We (at Commvault) sometimes don’t focus on technology but understand what it is that our customers are trying to do and make the best recommendation especially with so many different legislations.
For example, I know India is working on a Biometrics database and I’m sure some, all or none of that data can be shared by some or none of the people depending upon the access and positions in the organization. And looking at these data sets, one can only figure how technology responds to it.
If you’re talking about data management, you want to be able to tag the Internet of Things (IoT) world as well. Why I am saying this is because we, have the capability of that extra metadata to recapture data for a company, which is unique in the industry. Once, you start using the extra metadata you can start making different IoT devices, different applications and make sense of that by providing relevant information.
Techseen: How poised is Commvault’s Software and Data Platform (version 11) in addressing evolving data challenges and threat?
If you interview anybody and they say that they’re ready, it won’t be tomorrow! Changes happen really rapidly here. Essentially, to be ready, you have to be open. I really want to tell you that we have been leading the competition for 12 years now and have been the leader of the magic quadrant too. So, I think our technology is with a purpose, ahead of competition, and that is about as ready as you can be. But, we also found that it is not good enough. So, we have worked to open up our platform, version 11 specifically to help customer build custom applications on our platform and automate their environment.
Many leading companies use us for their global protection needs in working with multiple point products. So I think we are as ready as we can be and we encourage a lot of our partners globally, to come and take advantage of the open platform. And to shift from an immigration plane, or an infrastructural and educational plane to more of a business inclined consulting plane.
Techseen: IDC estimates that Backup-as-a-Service and Recovery-as-a-Service will account for $1.023 billion by 2018. And Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90% of the disaster recovery (DR) operation will be run in the cloud. How is Commvault gearing up for the massive cloud adoption?
We have been the adopter for a long time, and we have been working with Microsoft and Amazon, to not just integrate with its solutions but start afresh with a new perspective. We have engineered our products to co-exist because cloud doesn’t mean everything to us but our customers do. We help our customers migrate their applications to cloud that is also our major focus apart from data protection. Immigrated with dozen of cloud providers giving customers choice because it is not always Microsoft Azure or AWS, it could be DiData in APAC.
The other part is the open platform, all the leading companies in APAC, its CTOs and CIOs are asking for open. And cloud is open, cloud is fresh and cloud is new! They are trying to avoid their 400 applications making the same mistake in adding 400 applications again on the cloud. Minimizing footprint is very important because it could mean minimizing the cost.
Techseen: How much progress has Commvault seen over the years?
Commvault made substantial progress during fiscal year 2016. As a result of successfully implementing a broad range of key transformative initiatives, we have re-established momentum in our business with a strong, improved fiscal second half of the year. In response to significant structural and competitive disruptions in the market, Commvault launched a proactive and substantial initiative of our business 24 months ago, Commvault Next. It included changes to nearly every aspect of our company: products, packaging, pricing, sales, distribution, marketing, and organizational structure. As a result of these changes, Commvault was able to return to growth, and importantly, we believe the company is now better positioned to compete in the growth segments of the market, particularly those driven by the move to the cloud and business analytics.
Techseen: How much growth do you expect in the near future? Also which countries do you see the growth coming from and why?
I think, we are seeing a lot of growth especially in the US, a matured market, not that we are ahead, but considering that systems in US have been around for a longer time. If you look at our competition, there has been a lot to de-emphasize because these companies are dealing with 100 different product lines. HPE for example split from HP Inc. and they’re two different companies now. Certainly their focus wasn’t customers, Symantec has gone to a private equity. Although, I think there is tremendous opportunity in every market but our competition has taken their eye off the ball. I see some great opportunity in APAC regions, there is a lot for us to do there.
I think changing some of our focus, in not eliminating but accommodating relevant mid-market offers and opportunities in developing markets like APAC could prove beneficial. I also see a lot of potential in Eastern Europe. Even adjusting to needs that are specific to India is on our radar, but there is infrastructure difference we will have to focus. We are putting a lot of effort in working with our Indian partners. We are also looking at China in doubling our coverage. We are even encouraging partners in the Asian market to leverage on the business opportunity.