Data, data everywhere, nary a byte to eat

So in June of 2019, I attended Tech Field Day 19 (#TFD19) with a bunch of really smart people and visited 5 companies, most of which I had never heard of.  In fact, I questioned the very reason of why I was included in one of my blog posts that you can read about here.

I’ll be honest with you, I learned more than I could ever imagine.  I mean, drinking from a fire hose would barely describe what it was like while I was sitting with these companies listening to them talk about their technology.  Due to life, and the whole fire hose thing, I have really struggled to even start to write about my experience at #TFD19.  Until now.

I spent a lot of time thinking about one company in particular, and they are honestly my biggest struggle.  Allow me to introduce you to this company, Druva.

Now, I have no idea what Druva means in every language around the globe, but does that really matter?  I want to talk about what Druva does day and in day out, and how I was actually wrong in my thinking for most of the presentation, and it wasn’t until weeks later that it actually made sense to me.  Humor me for a minute while I tell you MY story about this.

Before heading to San Jose for TFD19, we received a list of links to peruse to better acquaint ourselves with the companies presenting.  I didn’t read it much, because most of those press releases bore me, and I like to hear the message live, and directly from them.  I just learn better that way.  Anyways, after briefly reading about Druva, I had figured out they were a storage company.  And by storage company, I thought they were all about selling you storage arrays to for your company to store all those inane pictures that employees save from the internet so they can email them to their friends.

After spending some time with Stephen Foskett, I thought I was prepped and ready for Druva because I knew storage now!  Spoiler alert, none of my assumptions were right, and it took me a while (ok, 90 minutes) to figure out what was going on.  For those of you not as skilled with what I learned, let me spell it out for you.  Before arriving, and during those first 90 minutes, I was operating under this assumption:


Storage = Recovery = Security = Protect = Backup = Druva

To make matters worse, they kept talking about “data security” and all I could think was “sure, it’s best practice to encrypt data at rest, what does this have to do with Druva?”  Guess what, data security can mean encrypting data at rest, it can also mean securing your data in a different location in case something happens to your onsite stuff.  So yes, it kinda made sense, but for a couple of weeks after that, I was stuck in my head about what that really meant.

I struggled with what is the difference between what Druva provides with their services (cloud backup, disaster recovery, data center consolidation, etc.) compared to what I am used to – a couple of giant NAS in some RAID variation (don’t start, that’s an argument for a different day!). Then it finally hit me, in the form of a tweet I saw and sent to Curtis Preston.Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 5.22.57 PM

It was this tweet, and reading the story that you can find here, when it finally hit me.  My original premise, the one that I was so sure of, wasn’t the entire picture!  (Shocker, I know!). Just like in Wi-Fi, as we strive to explain the subtle nuances with the different variations of Wi-Fi, not all data is the same!  Also, not all “data protection” is the same.  And, get this, not all data storage is the same!  After spending my entire career in transport, my eyes were finally open to other parts of technology, and the full IT picture.

I’ll be honest, during the presentation, that you can watch here, you will see me at one point question the companies ability to stay revenant with their model of “storage” when the amount of data being generated every day is increasing.  In the spirit of full disclosure it wasn’t until a coupe of weeks later when I finally realized the error of my question.  Turns out, what they do is SUPER valuable, I just didn’t realize it during the presentation.

For that I will offer my apologies to the folks at Druva.  We all good now?

As technology advances, more and more companies Intellectual Property (their IP) is being stored in digital format.  Whether they are a tech company that has all of their product in the cloud, or a pottery shop that is coming up with new designs, now days eventually all of that information is digitized and stored either locally or in the cloud,  and due to that, ransomware occurrences are on the rise.  Just like in the InfoSec world, we can only do so much, and then a human error can threaten everything companies have worked so hard to create and protect.

Just like in the ambulance story above, it turns out there is a pretty slick solution to recover from that.  Hell, call it insurance if you want, but insurance for your IP and data. I am honestly surprised that with the rise in ransomware attacks, and with more and more data being stored somewhere with access from the business, services like data disaster recovery isn’t talked about much more.  Maybe it is, and the transport folks just never hear about it.

If you want to read what some of the other, more understanding delegates think about Druva, I encourage you to read their blogs on the presentation by Druva at TFD19.

I’ll be honest, their takes are much more insightful of what Druva has to offer, so it is well worth your time to check them out.  What I will add here at the end is this.

I work at an airport.  It’s a large airport, and as such we pay attention to what happens in the world of air travel.  I know of 5 major airports in the US alone that have had problems with ransomware in just the past 10 months, and it really affected their ability to operate.  Simply search for “airport ransomware attack” and you can read about all the carnage.  Data recovery, nay “data disaster recovery” can no longer be thought of as something that an unlucky few need to think about.  Check out Druva’s page on just ransomware, it’s enough to give you nightmares tonight and then call someone first thing in the morning.  I know I want to!


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