HubStor Inc.

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December 5, 2016 Issue



Hybrid Cloud Storage Provides Cost Savings, Data Governance, and Ransomware Protection to Enterprises



Geoff Bourgeois

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer


HubStor Inc.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine
Published – December 5, 2016


CEOCFO: Mr. Bourgeois, would you tell us about HubStor? 

Mr. Bourgeois: HubStor is a hybrid cloud storage solution that aims at helping enterprises apply the public cloud to their data storage challenges. We see companies storing lots of unstructured data where sometimes upwards of 80% of it is inactive. The cost and risk of storing this in the traditional way is at a breaking point, so companies want to apply the cloud, but they need HubStor to do it in a secure way with data management in the cloud. 


CEOCFO: How does an engagement work? When might a company turn to you and how do you help them? 

Mr. Bourgeois: When companies contact us, they are often at the point of having to renew hardware or buy more storage capacity - they have run out of space. We will also see companies coming to us when their business is growing and they are heading into a new world of compliance, or they have to respond to a legal claim. Engagements start with building a business case outlining the advantages of the cloud specific to their scenario; for instance, how we think it will reduce storage spending, provide better data security, faster recovery from ransomware, and assist with discovery and data governance. From there we have a very simple process to for quick deployment and adoption. Implementations of HubStor typically take one to two days. In a matter of hours, IT professionals can start applying policies against their data to decide what is going to be in the cloud and what they are going to tier or remove to save storage space. We also simply things by working with clients on a subscription basis where it is a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go, cancel-at-any-time arrangement.


CEOCFO: Is the speed unique to HubStor? How are you able to do it so quickly? 

Mr. Bourgeois: Unlike most cloud storage gateways vendors, HubStor is not shipping an appliance or presenting a new storage mount point to which you have to migrate data or re-architect applications. I refer to that as the heavy footprint approach. The companies we talk to are looking for an easier solution. They want to cloud-enable their existing storage investments without adding new infrastructure, or the headaches around adoption. The reason HubStor’s approach is so fast and straightforward is that our on-premises component is a small footprint piece of software that installs in a few minutes. With that, you are ready to go. We optionally configure directory synchronization which takes a few moments to complete. In the cloud, HubStor takes care of setting up each client as a dedicated tenant with the optimal configuration for each customer. That is why it is so quick to get going with the solution. 


CEOCFO: Are most businesses comfortable with the cloud or is there some distrust? 

Mr. Bourgeois: I think you are hitting on a very fundamental topic, a topic that goes very deep. I think there has been a sea change in the last year or two regarding confidence and an understanding of the cloud’s security. IT leaders have more confidence in the cloud now. We still occassional concerns that the cloud can be a backdoor for government access under a subpoena without your knowledge. We see this play out in the consumer cloud world, and unfortunately, the potential theoretically exists for corporate data. If companies have concerns in this area, we recommend that they apply their encryption to the data before sending it into the cloud, and our service facilitates that.


Looking at the bigger picture, I think that the cloud provides much better security and business continuity than what we see most organizations having in place today, and at a much lower cost point. To give you an example, beyond HubStor federating identity and providing encryption, our cloud data management features include role-based access control, full activity auditing, data classification, data leak prevention, discovery, and data governance controls. This enterprise-grade security and data management are inherent in HubStor. If a client were to build out a comparable suite of capabilities in their datacenter, it would cost millions in vendor licensing and support not to mention the infrastructure requirements to run all these big applications. 


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about Microsoft Azure? 

Mr. Bourgeois: Azure is number two in the public cloud marketplace regarding adoption. Amazon is the gorilla in the space. However, Microsoft is doing extremely well in terms of gaining momentum within the enterprise, and we are seeing many companies looking to do more with their Azure subscriptions. There is a fast growing list of Azure datacenter regions located around the globe, so it is an expanding, global reach with the Microsoft Azure cloud. One of the great things about it is that when we store a company’s data in Azure, we are getting three synchronous copies in one data center at a minimum, and we can easily turn that up to have three copies being made in a secondary data center as well. From a data protection point of view, it is very nice. You do not have to worry about backup - it happens seamlessly for you. Azure also has an excellent track record for availability, performance, and cost.


In Azure, we also have the potential to add value by leveraging other Azure services. With HubStor, the cloud is an ideal place to keep inactive data in a secure archive. For example, a company that is storing surveillance video data can run character recognition or behavior recognition or isolate action snippets out of their video content. You have those kinds of services that are there in the cloud, and since it is all in Azure you are not paying for any egress data transfer. 


CEOCFO: How are you able to do an unstructured data search? 

Mr. Bourgeois: Companies that come to us want to leverage the cloud, but usually have some concerns about their ability to search and manage their data. They do not want to be stuck in a situation where, for instance, there is a legal claim, and they have no nice, easy way of handling that situation in the cloud. Our search is helpful because customers can control it with policies. If they, for instance, have stored 100 terabytes of data, using our search policies they can scope the data to be indexed so that indexing only targets the subset they need to interrogate. For instance, they can scope indexing using criteria such as users, groups, folders, file types, or time/date ranges. HubStor uses Elasticsearch under the hood. It provides hit highlighting, relevancy ranking, and the results are integrated with document-level access controls so that you can do queries based on users and groups in your directory. We also make the results actionable, too. You can add search results to a case, or you can put the results on hold and track them.


There are other search engines delivered as a service in the cloud; the challenge is that they are just an index engine. If you want to use them, they are hard to consume. You have to roll up your sleeves and do some development work to integrate them with your data and to be able to make the search results actionable and possibly even tie in security. In HubStor, all of that is work already done. From a customer point of view, it is a turnkey search solution. 


CEOCFO: Are you able to help a company decide what to store or do companies ask you for guidance in what they should keep? 

Mr. Bourgeois: Clients usually have a very good idea of the data that they want to put in. They already have a very clear picture where it is, what it is. However, sometimes they do not. Sometimes they have data that all over the place and they have no idea what is out there. In those cases, we recommend that they use a file analysis solution. File analysis products can go out and give them the visualization to help them understand the data that they have out in the wild, and then that allows them to craft their policies. In HubStor, we give them the ability to create policies to determine the data that they want to sync and tier to the cloud, but to know what those polices are going to do, they need to use some sort of analysis upfront to understand their data footprint. 


CEOCFO: If a company wants to rotate out data periodically, are you able to do that? Is that a function that could be automated or do companies not think that way? 

Mr. Bourgeois: Managing data retention is top of mind for, I would say, 80 to 90% of our customers, but it is a rarely used feature. In general, IT leaders want to know before they put data in the cloud that there is a way to manage the lifecycle of their data. Surprisingly, many of the cloud storage solutions out there do not offer defensible deletion capabilities. At HubStor, we have put a near-real time policy and an analytics layer around the data. One of the use cases for that is, as you say, managing retention. With HubStor, you can model a policy. To give you an example, we want to delete data from the marketing department that has not been accessed in 10 years. In HubStor, you can model that policy and get a report back that will say, “If you run that rule, you are going to be deleting say, ten terabytes of data and here is what it is.” Moreover, you can dig into that and find out more about that information if you want. If you want to go ahead with the policy, you can run it in production and it will perform that deletion with an audit trail. 


CEOCFO: How do you reach prospective customers?

Mr. Bourgeois: We do a mix of partners and direct. Our partner community consists of typically Microsoft Azure’s providers, and they will often add their managed services as a value add around HubStor. For example, a virtual administrator service to help customers realize the value and capabilities that are available in the service. Our clients are often finding us through organic searches; sometimes it is a Google Ad, or an article that has been written about us. We also have our sales team. We do social marketing and things like that. Other than that, we also rely on B2B appointment setting services. They help connect us with many opportunities that we would not otherwise connect with. 


CEOCFO: HubStor was founded in early 2015: What surprised you so far? 

Mr. Bourgeois: We started at the beginning of 2015; we went operational with our service in June of 2016. I think what surprised us is the level of interest out there as well as how nascent the cloud computing, particularly enterprise cloud storage marketplace, still is. Often, when people think of cloud storage they think of Box and Dropbox. The reality is that there are other facets to enterprise use of cloud storage; many unstructured data workloads that are suitable for the cloud but are just not well suited for file collaboration solutions like SharePoint Online or Box. HubStor is tapping into a very early market in that regard. The surprise to us has been when an organization finds us, how quickly they move through the sales process. We see sales cycles two to three weeks long. When a company finds us, they quickly identify with our low-risk model and our unique features, especially when they have already been piloting other hybrid cloud storage solutions. The short sales cycles have been a pleasant surprise. In my past, I have done enterprise software where the averages sales cycle is 12 to 18 months. 


CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose HubStor? 

Mr. Bourgeois: HubStor is a great solution if you are looking to cloud-integrate your current storage investment and you want a meaningful experience with your data in the cloud. We offer a very easy-to-use model that is low-risk; where you do not have a term commitment or upfront pre-pay to use the service. Beyond that, I think our solution offers many security advantages that you just will not find anywhere else. We couple our security position with what we call “data awareness;” we are the only solution in the cloud that gives you complete visibility into the data that you are storing wrapped with data governance controls. If you want something that integrates your current storage investments to the cloud in a very secure way, in a very low-cost way, but also in a way that you can manage your data in the cloud, then HubStor is the right solution.


“HubStor is a great solution if you are looking to cloud-integrate your current storage investment and you want a meaningful experience with your data in the cloud.”- Geoff Bourgeois


HubStor Inc.



Geoff Bourgeois







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