How Ahmedabad-based Synersoft Technologies is enabling prevention of data loss, theft and leakage for SMBs going digital
In the late 2000s, IT adoption was picking up pace in India. As professionals in the IT industry, Vishal Shah, Chirag Patel, and Sudhir Chaubey realised that the acceleration in digitisation would compel India’s traditional Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) to eventually jump on the digitisation bandwagon in the years to come. “When we gave further thought, we realised that with digitisation, a majority of the physical assets like designs, documents, customer data, sensitive information or confidential information about their products, would be stored on servers, e-mails, laptops, phones and other devices. Any leakage or theft of the data would mean competitive vulnerability for the business or huge liability on violation of NDA,” shares Vishal, the co-founder and CEO of. However, most solutions in the market regarding data loss leakage and theft prevention were not suited for the SMB sector.
The start of a challenging journey
Vishal, Sudhir, and Chirag decided to chase a dream to help SMBs in India in their digitisation journey by starting Synersoft Technologies in 2008. “We began working on a prototype of a single hardware endpoint to enable data and information security,” shares Vishal. However their effort was met with cynicism. “We were constantly told that we were heading towards a closed tunnel. We were asked why we were developing solutions for the SMB sector which at that time didn’t exhibit inclination or affinity towards digitisation. We were told SMBs would not be willing to pay for data and information security solutions. But, we stood our ground,” he says.
In 2011, when the prototype was underway, Synersoft applied for the India Innovation Growth Programme - a joint initiative by various partners including the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry - to accelerate innovative Indian technologies into global markets. “We believed that the product we were developing would impact hundreds and thousands of SMBs and help them contribute to economic growth. That belief was validated with us winning the gold medal under the programme,” recounts Vishal. Winning the gold medal also brought in the opportunity to be incubated by CIIE.CO — the startup incubator established by IIM Ahmedabad. “All these factors were instrumental in fast-tracking development and launching the product in the market in 2013. “The year saw us getting angel investments and also the first five customers,” he says.
Focus on SMBs
Today, Synersoft’s flagship product, BLACKbox is a solution tailor-made for SMBs which helps to protect their data from loss, leakage and theft. With BLACKbox, SMBs will not lose data due to ransomware, even if the firewall or antivirus fails. It also logs data deletion operations and helps restore it. “BLACKbox maintains Active Global Recycle Bin which is not accessible to users, and is accessible only to admin. You can instantly restore deleted data. It also shows who deleted data,” shares Vishal. In addition to enabling data protection, BLACKbox also enables an SMB to standardise its IT infrastructure. “Traditionally, IT standardisation is achieved by investing in file servers, mail servers, firewall, endpoint data protection, backup system, storage server, and domain controller. BLACKbox is a disruptive innovation which serves as all these traditional IT components at one third of the cost of procuring and integrating these complex solutions,” he says.
Today the startup has over 9,000 deployments, of which 95 percent are based in India. “We just started expanding our global footprint 18 months ago, but the expansion has been slow owing to the pandemic,” says Vishal. However, Synersoft has now started to aggressively pursue its expansion plans. “In 2021, we started operations in the USA and also appointed a national level distributor in Bangladesh and Singapore.” While its ability to build a strong distribution network has been one of its key growth drivers, the other has been to build the product features that align to the needs of the market. “When we launched BLACKbox, it had 13 key features. Today, we have over 130 features. On average we have been building and integrating a new feature every three months. And, this will continue to be our cornerstone as we continue to grow,” says the CEO.
A big change for Synersoft is around the corner - a move towards the cloud. So far, BLACKbox was a physical product. “When we started our journey, we were targeting MSMEs who were using technical software like AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS, etc which generate extremely large files. At the time, pushing these documents to the cloud in real-time seemed challenging as it would require the MSMEs to invest in hybrid devices that could upload the files to the cloud. So a physical product that enabled data theft prevention seemed like the most viable solution,” he says. However, over the last few years, with advances in technology, these challenges could now be eliminated. Synersoft is creating its own cloud infrastructure so that customers are able to store on the cloud in addition to the physical product.
So far, the startup was able to drive business growth with a dedicated sales team. “Having established ourselves in the market, we believe it’s time to move faster to the next phase of growth,” says Vishal. In 2021, Synersoft decided to build industry partnerships and leverage the strength of the distributor model to drive growth.
.in: A strategic business advantage
When Synersoft was founded, the company’s focus was establishing itself in the SMB market in India. “And, registering the company website on the .in domain was a strategic and logical choice,” emphasises Vishal. He adds, “As IT professionals, we had the opportunity to move abroad for onshore projects. But, we chose to stay back in India and build a product for the country’s SMB sector. And, we wanted to establish ourselves as an Indian product company that understood the needs of SMBs in India.”
When the company launched BLACKbox in the market, Vishal says, “we saw a need to support our partners and clients.” That’s when Synersoft took to launching a dedicated website for BLACKbox, yet again on the .in domain. The BLACKbox.in website was designed with a lot of subdomains to help the company’s partners and clients on everything from ticket management to availing the EMI options offered on the product to product warranty. Today, the website on Synersoft stands as a corporate website which has information about the company and the flagship product, while the BLACKbox website functions as a dedicated website for the marketing of the product and also managing the operations with its partners and customers.
The websites have not just been instrumental in establishing an online presence for the company and the product, but are also aiding the growth of the business. Vishal explains that the two websites put together on average receive 3,000 clicks. “We also get approximately 700 enquiries a month. And, at least 15 percent of the inquiries translate into viable leads,” he shares.
Today, with Synersoft going global, Vishal says they are proud to be seen as an Indian product company established by the .in domain. He says, “BLACKbox is a product designed and developed in India for the world.”