Commvault‘s annual conference embraced a broader vision of data protection than is traditional among those involved in backup and recovery tasks. Commvault’s approach was to reinterpret what data protection can mean, and to expand it beyond what might be considered the traditional scope of data protection.
Data Protection Front and Center
Ransomware is in the media constantly, but Commvault’s approach with Threatwise (its rebranded TrapX acquisition) is to try to prevent needing to recover from ransomware at all. Threatwise places decoys into the environment to detect potential incursions early, blurring the lines between the backup team and the security team. It moves the focus to the task at hand—keeping data safe—and away from arbitrary organizational structures and the petty fiefdoms they often encourage.
This focus on outcomes and what people are actually trying to achieve really came through in a session on The Modern CIO’s Journey to the Cloud. Commvault’s CMO, Isabelle Guis interviewed Michele Buschman, CIO at Commvault customer American Pacific Mortgage about her approach to being a CIO in today’s world.
An Insider Perspective
Buschman showed a refreshing level of understanding of, and empathy for, the people served by IT. Ransomware might get the headlines, but Buschman highlighted that single-file restore was a big deal for her end users. It might be less exciting than a full-scale ransomware attack, but single-file restore is what most people need most of the time.
“We were sometimes looking at a two day restore, because of the size of their file folders,” Buschman said of a previous system. The new Commvault system reduces restore times to less than five minutes. This kind of quality of life and business efficiency improvement doesn’t tend to get media headlines, but the impact on people just trying to do their jobs is immense. It was pleasant to hear about concrete, tangible benefits experienced by real people – a refreshing change from the nebulous, utopian puffery that dominates too many vendor conferences.
It was an empathy for those whose data is at risk from much-publicized threats of ransomware or data breaches, but also empathy for their everyday needs. An empathy for the human beings who are simply trying to do their job and who rely on those working in IT to help them.
A Broader Vision of IT
Buschman demonstrated a deep understanding of the actual business that American Pacific Mortgage is in. Her concerns were larger than what was happening inside IT. She clearly appreciated that IT was there to support the wider business and that their concerns were also her concerns.
Buschman’s perspective was that IT should be a trusted consultant to the business. This requires knowing the technology, yes, but importantly it also requires being able to communicate with non-IT people in ways that lead to mutual understanding. This was a vision of IT as more than mere order takers who provide what is asked for—no more, and often less—and that strives to find a friendly yes rather than a brusque no.
Moving beyond traditional, arbitrary boundaries—just as Commvault has done with its products—suits the modern CIO who has a broader vision for their role. Data protection provides an ideal way to build trust with those who may be reluctant to trust IT with a bigger role in achieving business objectives.
Bringing It Together
Trust is earned. The clear benefits of everyday file restores provides concrete proof that can lead to trust at a more strategic level. Particularly for those who may have been burned by IT in the past.
Commvault has done well by encouraging IT leaders to take a fresh, broader approach to doing IT – one based on empathy and making people’s lives tangibly better. It’s hard to argue with that.