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M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Tim Page, CEO, Datrium

By February 6, 2020Article

There are few positions in the software, EPR, storage and service sales industry that Tim Page’s career hasn’t touched. For the past 25 years, Tim has worked his way through pre-sales, sales, operations and numerous global operating positions.

One of the founding members of VCE and served as the COO, Tim helped bring the firm to a $3B+ run rate in just six years, and led the delivery of a new generation of cloud-based solutions that transformed the agility and profitability of some of the world’s largest enterprises.

Now, CEO at Datrium, Tim has got a sharpness for how enterprises can protect and prepare their data and operations for disaster recovery – especially when it comes to ransomware. 

M.R. Rangaswami: What inspired Datrium to enter the market with its DRaaS offering?

Tim Page: The risk and consequences of losing data––whether as a result of ransomware, human error, power failure, or natural disaster––are too great for most organizations. Ransomware, in particular, is taking an unprecedented toll on enterprises and continues to be one of the biggest threats to an organization’s data center and day to day business operations. At the same time, companies are tired of shouldering the expense of a secondary site they might never need to use. Having an effective disaster recovery (DR) plan in place should be a top priority for today’s enterprises, however, for many of them, efficient DR has been out of reach due to challenges navigating complex, ineffective and high-cost solutions.

Traditional DR is expensive, complex and unreliable. It often means buying five different products to manage data twice––once for the primary site and once for the DR site. Organizations need primary storage, backup, DR and encryption products. These products are often purchased from different vendors and they aren’t designed to work well together which creates expensive, fragile and unreliable systems. IT needs to set up runbooks and create extensive documentation, but the moment something changes in the data center, the runbooks and documentation are out of date, which means the DR plans are now untested and therefore completely unreliable.

We saw an opportunity to radically transform DR by leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS and delivering DR with a cloud-native design, on-demand––at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions and with maximum efficacy.

M.R.: In recent years, many major corporations have been affected by ransomware. How can organizations better prepare for, and protect themselves against, the threat of ransomware?

Tim: Organizations are under a growing threat of ransomware. Industries that are under the greatest threat of ransomware are those with high-value data and critical systems, such as financial services, healthcare, education, government and communications. According to The State of Enterprise Data Resiliency and Disaster Recovery 2019 report Datrium recently released, 89% of IT leaders reported ransomware is the number one threat to organizations’ data security. These ransomware attacks have caused $8 billion in global damage

To best prepare for a potential ransomware attack, organizations should implement a multi-pronged approach that includes plans for both prevention and mitigation. When it comes to prevention against ransomware, commonly used tools include continuous vulnerability assessments, security awareness training, real-time traffic monitoring, intrusion detection and file integrity monitoring. However, even when every possible precaution is taken, there is still the possibility of organizations’ defenses falling short of preventing ransomware from gaining entry.

If an organization is hit with a ransomware attack, recovering critical data becomes of paramount importance. Often, attacks aren’t detected until months after the date of infection so organizations must be able to recover from deep backups – not just recent snapshots. The best way for organizations to protect themselves from attack is to invest in disaster recovery and ensure they have a system that enables them to quickly and easily recover their data from the point of attack.

M.R.: How do you forecast companies doing DR in 2020?

Tim: As the volume and value of data continues to grow and the threat of disaster––particularly from ransomware––increases, DR will become an even greater priority for companies.

Organizations across a wide array of industries are reevaluating whether they have the right DR infrastructure in place, and seeking out ways to make their DR plans more efficient and cost-effective so they can recover from disasters simply and economically.

 Another major way companies can achieve efficient and economical DR is by moving away from legacy DRaaS solutions that require custom, private data centers, which are incredibly capital intensive and pose a significant financial risk. Instead, the public cloud will serve a greater role in many organizations’ DR strategies. The industry can expect to see a major shift to DR in the cloud. The State of Enterprise Data Resiliency and Disaster Recovery research also found that 88.1% of respondents would use the public cloud as their DR site if they would only have to pay for it when they need it. Using the public cloud, companies will deploy solutions that allow them to only pay for their DR sites when they need to test or run DR plans.

I encourage organizations to look to cloud-native solutions for DR that provide it on-demand and combine the functionality of primary storage, backup and recovery into a single pane solution to achieve the fastest Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sand Hill Group