Solving the “seven vendor problem” - Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh on why enterprises need to think SaaS-first, not cloud-first
- Enterprises need modern data platforms to meet today's business challenges, says Singh.
As companies look to modernize and digitize their businesses, a commensurate shift in data strategy is taking place. Instead of being held in on-premises systems, enterprise data is shifting to the cloud and edge while at the same time, more risks continue to emerge, including ransomware, malware and insider threats.
That’s the pitch from Jaspreet Singh, CEO and founder of Druva, who goes on to argue that
IT leaders must find a way to ensure users have reliable and secure access to data. That’s where he believes Druva’s technology can help. While most providers focus on ensuring data availability through hardware or software, Singh makes the claim that Druva’s large-scale SaaS solution is a better fit for the modern, digital business:
Druva has a simple SaaS-based platform called Data Resiliency Cloud, which provides an effective, seamless and secure solution for end-to-end management of information from backup to disaster recovery and across any app, location and cloud.
According to Singh, customers who buy a data management solution often face what he refers to as “a seven-vendor problem”. Rather than being able to call on one provider for all data management features, they’ll have to deploy separate technology for hardware, software, storage, tiering, services, hosting, and co-location:
That’s a very complex set-up. We provide another choice saying, ‘Hey, this is not your core business. We delivered four billion-plus backups last year efficiently. Just give it to us. And we will manage your information far more efficiently and cost effectively.’
The shift to cloud and hybrid working as a result of COVID has led to the emergence of a borderless enterprise. Instead of employees working close to physical equipment that needs to be managed by a dedicated team, organizations need a new type of approach to help manage disparately located data. Singh suggests:
We’re seeing more people adopt a SaaS-first mindset, not just a cloud-first mindset. That’s why more people are talking to us. The market has moved radically during the past few years.
The result of this shift is Druva’s employees no longer have to preach about the strengths of SaaS, as they often had to in the past. Today, there’s much broader recognition of the potential benefits and SaaS is a business-as-normal activity for many IT leaders, he says:
They have operationalized the new version of SaaS and they understand the baggage they had with the previous hardware/software model. There are obviously newer challenges coming from the adoption of SaaS, such as management, utilization and consumption. But customers understand SaaS and are moving in the right direction.
However, while they’re embracing SaaS, Singh says most businesses don’t fully understand the scale of the ever-growing cyber-threat. His company sees at least two customers impacted by ransomware every week on its platform. At an event in London last week, his team ran a ransomware fire drill to show attending CIOs the challenges they’ll face during an attack. He quotes IDC research that suggests 46% of organizations were successfully attacked during the past three years, with 50% of those affected losing their data:
That's a trend and the majority of time, people think these are individuals who really want money. Oftentimes, they don't want money. They are state actors who actually just want to make you look bad. It’s just an act of terrorism and it's getting worse.
Yet Singh is positive about the general direction of travel, both in terms of technological innovation across the market and the developments in his own firm. The company was founded in 2008 and Singh looks back on the company’s evolution during that time with pride:
It's definitely gratifying. Looking back on what we’ve achieved, there’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of luck, and lot of great team members. At the same time, the challenges and the opportunities get bigger. The opportunity in the market is so big that the path to $1 billion in revenue is what we’re focused on now.
Rather than moving into new markets, Singh says the company is focused on moving deeper into existing markets and verticals. Druva signed up to a partnership with Dell about 18 months ago and the company is looking to extend its reach:
From a go-to-market point of view, that’s about getting better access to more partners. MSPs is a big priority; we see a lot of growth from MSPs. On the product side of things, we are heavily investing in innovation. Experience and security are the big areas for us to execute. But it's more about how we maintain a lead and keep growing at the fastest rate we can.
Singh says the company has been keen until now to land in organizations, win their trust and then expand. Currently, Druva technology has been deployed across less than 20% of data in the majority of its existing customers. The aim is to use proof-of-concept studies to show the benefits of the service and then grow across the organisation, he explains:
We are a change agent and sometimes change is harder to make. So, we say, ‘Hey, don't worry about what you already have. What are the new projects or the new initiatives you have and let’s protect them first. If you like us, then adopt us broadly.
Finally, Singh says he thinks of his working life as a set of milestones. What keeps him keen right now is the desire to produce great returns for his trusted employees and to think about the continued development of the company in the future:
A lot of people have worked for Druva for a long time, so how do we get them a really good outcome, whether it’s an IPO, an exit or whatever. This could be a life-changing event for all of them because there's a lot of shareholders. And then there's a longer-term opportunity. I get triggered personally by learning new things. Building a billion-dollar revenue company fascinates me – the scale, the potential, the customer challenges. All of those things are interesting and keep me going.