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Rubrik on the importance of data management


Secondary storage may not have the same appealing ring as AI or blockchain, but the sector constitutes the much-required backbone for enterprises, is valued at $60 billion USD and – according to fintech firm Rubrik – was ripe for disruption. Since its launch in early 2014, the Palo Alto firm attributes its clear and escalated shot up into the upper echelons of tech stardom to the lack of competition from legacy vendors and the wide open opportunity to experiment with supporting businesses’ increasing data.

Self-styled as a “data management platform” which provides services such as backup and recovery for enterprises using hybrid cloud environments, Rubrik led a $180 million USD Series D funding round in May of 2017, at a $1.3 billion USD valuation. With the likes of Dell EMC Avamar, Cohesity, Commvault, and Veritas NetBackup as direct competitors, the market is far from deserted but Rubrik has managed to maintain steady growth momentum by leveraging client trust with a quickly expanding array of associated services.

This year, Rubrik set its sights on the cyber security market, which the company says to be a natural progression for them as the rise of ransomware and corporate threats as increased the total market demand for high calibre and off site solutions.

DisruptionBanking Team connects with Director Western EMEA Martin Brown, at London’s IP EXPO Europe to discuss.

For the uninitiated, how would you describe Rubrik?

At Rubrik what we’re trying to do is fundamentally change how companies manage their data. The founders of Rubrik include engineers from the consumer data world – Google, and Facebook – and they put together the world’s first cloud data management (CDM) platform. It’s not only built for cloud from the ground up, but it’s also been designed to radically simplify how businesses manage and protect data.  

We unify data across private and public clouds while delivering backup, disaster recovery, archival, compliance, search, analytics, and copy data management in a single, run-anywhere platform.

Whereas before people bought backup because they had to – with the hope it would never  be used – Rubrik’s cloud data management solution transforms backup and recovery into a value-creating function. ‘Backup’ can now be used for business continuity, to comply with regulations like GDPR, and to bypass paying ransoms.

How did the firm become a unicorn? What are its USPs which give it a cutting edge?

I think it helps that we have a really strong team of founders. Our engineers come mostly from the consumer world (Facebook, Google) and use these learnings to solve deep enterprise infrastructure problems with a consumer-grade user experience. 

Most business backup solutions haven’t been built on a cloud-native architecture and weren’t designed to scale at the speed and complexity at which business is done today. Have you ever tried to use a legacy backup solution? Some IT teams quite literally have to have one person dedicated to managing backup alone, because it is so time-consuming and complex to use. 

But because of our founders, we have a consumer-like, “user first” mentality that’s built on providing a simple, intuitive user experience that we have come to expect in our consumer lives. I like to say to people that if you can use Google, you can use Rubrik. 

What makes you disruptive enough to be on CFO’s list of disruptive technology firms to watch?

 The technology we’re redefining a $48 billion market in significant transition, and we’ve assembled a top team to go after the opportunity. Our team includes our partner ecosystem. We go to market 100% through the channel and that has helped us quickly enter and gain traction with enterprise customers in nearly 40 countries.

While we’ve only been around almost 5 years, this has helped us to hit some impressive growth figures. We’ve managed to secure $292 million in venture capital and reach a $1.3bn+ valuation so far. This year we’re approaching a $300M annual bookings run-rate, making us one of the fastest growing software enterprise companies out there.

Rubrik’s API-first approach and strong technology partnerships with key industry players like Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud, VMware, Nutanix, and Pure Storage, makes it easy for our customers to achieve their digital transformation, and cloud, objectives — and that drives adoption.

We’ve also been recruiting at an astonishing rate, and winning recognition, including being positioned in the ‘Visionaries’ quadrant of Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions, a category that hasn’t welcomed a new vendor since 2014. We most recently won Best of Show and Gold Award in Security at VMWorld US 2018.

What are the biggest challenges faced by banks and financial institutions today, as perceived and experienced by Rubrik as observers and/or service providers?

From the banks and other financial services organisations that I speak to, I think the biggest challenge they’ve got at the moment is how to meet their sector’s strict regulation.

They are also trying to balance being compliant and secure against benefiting from some of the newer technologies out there. Traditionally, they’ve been a sector which has been reluctant to leverage new technologies – such as the cloud, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning – mainly because of the stringent compliance they have to adhere to. 

But we’re starting to see banks and financial organisations increasingly take advantage of these newer technologies, as they’re scared that they may get left behind by competitors if they don’t. 

They’ve been looking at the top companies in the world – the Amazons, Apples, Googles and Microsofts of this world – and have realised that they all have one thing in common: they are all built around and use data. 

These companies are a step above their competition because they recognise the value in their data, harnessing it to gather critical business insights and give themselves a serious competitive advantage. 

I think this thinking is starting to infringe into the financial sector – and CIOs are starting to realise that to stay competitive in today’s market, they need to learn how to best leverage and learn from the data that sits right under their nose.

What are the ways in which Rubrik can assist financial institutions with both adapting to emerging technologies, and protecting themselves from technology?

We’re seeing financial organisations increasingly taking steps to move to the cloud. But one of the main barriers that was originally holding financial sector organisations back were fears around governance and security. 

That’s where we come in. Earlier this year, we announced Polaris, the industry’s first SaaS platform for data management applications. In essence, it provides a unified system of record of all of your data and applications (no matter where they sit – whether it’s on premise, or in the cloud). So for a bank, you can link disparate data together so you have one ‘source of truth’ for you to then use for seamless security, compliance, and governance. 

Another issue that everyone is struggling with – but particularly financial organisations – is becoming GDPR compliant. The banking sector already has so much regulation that they need to meet, and because they hold so much sensitive financial data, they need to ensure that they are always 100% up to date with regulation in order to maintain customer trust. 

While there is no magic bullet for GDPR compliance – don’t believe anyone who tells you there is! – Rubrik can help in some very specific ways. 

We’ve built a strong foundation around security that includes immutability for ransomware, logical approach to multi-tenancy, end to end encryption, policy-driven management, and compliance reporting. 

In particular, we help with the “Right to be Forgotten”. While it can prove time-consuming and complicated to delete an individual’s data from multiple data sources, we provide a policy-driven approach that’s very simple to carry out, saving organisations time and money. 

On the topic of cyber security: how does Rubrik plan to assist financial institutions with cyber breaches?

What is clear from my conversations with financial services organisations is that ransomware is on the rise, and it’s only getting smarter. While many of the CIOs I speak to admit that it’s now inevitable that an attack will happen, what they are concerned about is how they can bounce back fast. 

Legacy data protection solutions are designed to make your worst day even worse. They’re vulnerable to ransomware accessing and encrypting the backups. Combined with this, recovery processes can be time-consuming and unreliable. So much so that paying the ransom is often easier and faster than recovering the data.

That’s why we created Radar, the backup industry’s first ever SaaS security app to defend against ransomware. It helps financial organisations monitor and recover faster from ransomware. 

Using machine learning, Radar detects behavioural anomalies and alerts you to suspicious behaviour. It quickly diagnoses the impact of the ransomware attack – identifying exactly which data and applications were impacted. It then automates manual recovery processes enabling you to get back to normal in just a few clicks. Saving teams plenty of time and money in the process.

IP Expo: What were the five biggest takeaways from Europe’s leading cyber security competition?

1) Data is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of many European organisations.

2) There is still a lot of confusion around GDPR and how organisations can become compliant.

3) GDPR has helped cybersecurity become a board-level issue that every organisation is wary of.

4) Ransomware is front of mind for many organisations.

5) Many organisations still aren’t aware of the potential uses their data has!

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