Ten minutes with NetSuite's Evan Goldberg

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan September 18, 2013
A European data centre is on the cards, but not because of PRISM, says NetSuite co-founder Evan Goldberg.

At this week's BoxWorks 13 conference I had the chance for a quick catch-up with NetSuite co-founder and CTO Evan Goldberg.

It had to be quick as he was heading off to watch the latest America's Cup race - AKA at BoxWorks as 'Larry Ellison's Boat Race' (© Aaron Levie).

NetSuite is one of the higher profile firms in the Box ecosystem with Goldberg emphasising the complementary nature of the relationship:

"Our focus is on operational business processes such as core order managment managment, things that are the lifeblood of running businesses on a day to day basis. We are kind of the database for structured business information.

"Box is all about managing unstructured business information. They are becoming the world's expert on how to collaborate on using that sort of unstructured information and files as part of the operational business processes. So we are both complementary."

Box also partners with Salesforce.com which has now rolled out Salesforce Files, the realisation of something that was once known as ChatterBox, a clear competitive offering to Box.

Goldberg says this won't be happening over at NetSuite:

"That is an emphatic no. We are not looking for more to do. Salesforce.com might be looking for more to do, but we've already got ERP and CRM and manufacturing. We've got quite enough to do."

PRISM pragmatism

Earlier during a panel discussion, Goldberg had confirmed that NetSuite is now actively working to place a data centre in the European region as non-US customers become more vocal about wanting in-region operations.

"We have seen the whole privacy issue start to have an impact on sales in Europe. So we want to have a data centre in Europe."

Mention of privacy inevitably raised the spectre of PRISM and the NSA snooping scandal that has led to fears that non-US customers will increasingly reject US cloud services providers for fear of having their data spied on.

Goldberg acknowledges that there are concerns, but adds that the European data centre plans are serendipitous rather than being a result of any PRISM-related fears:

"We think our timing is good. We're getting ramped up now. But we were going to do it anyway because it will help to deliver better performance. But it does also satisify the privacy needs of some companies."

PRISM might be top of mind at present, but Goldberg posits that this is a particular instance of a wider phenomenon:

"You know, ultimately in every locality govenrment authorities are going to have some access to data if there is criminal activity involved. If you're one of the vast number of companies that are not engaged in criminality, then you're going to be free from a spying eye."

He also reiterates a meme much used by NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson: cloud services firms can offer higher levels of security than most companies could manage on their own:

"Cloud is very much about increasing security levels.

"Compare the possibility that a govenrment gains access to your data to the risk that one of your own employees steals your company information.

"As companies grow in size there is a greater likelihood that there will be some bad apples in the barrel."

But organisations are more conscious of security, he concludes:

"What we are seeing is an increased use of two-factor authentication.

"Companies are getting more concerned about security, but less about government intrusion and more about being able to secure against internal threats."

And with that, Goldberg was off to watch 'Larry's boat race' - (although I suspect he's possibly more excited about next week's NetSuite Open Squash.)


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