How this SaaS platform is ensuring enterprises can secure their digital information in the cloud
It is undeniable that technologies like cloud and mobility have made data more distributed than ever before, weakening the level of control enterprises traditionally have had over their data assets. In an age of tough regulations where businesses are increasingly held accountable for data losses, and citizens can demand data erasure, enterprises need solutions that can ensure privacy of their data in the cloud.
Data management solutions like backup, content collaboration and file sharing, as they have evolved into SaaS models, haven’t sufficiently addressed the enterprise need for data privacy.
That is where startups likecome into picture. Launched in 2014 by Anand Prahlad, Parablu is a B2B SaaS platform that provides enterprises with secure data management solutions with a focus on data privacy.
Speaking to YourStory about the idea stage, Anand says that initially, Parablu was focused on creating a data management application that could do backup and archiving for mobile devices.
“The original thinking was that the software would be voice-enabled and be responsive to voice commands from the user. In fact, the word ‘Parablu’ is a Welsh word that means ‘talking’ or ‘speaking’. This resulted in the development of a file synchronisation and sharing solution designed for mobile devices,” he adds.
But, as they spoke to stakeholders in the market and recognised the reality of rapid cloud adoption, they realised that enterprises were dealing with a particularly difficult dilemma – storing data safely and securely in the cloud.
This prompted the startup to use its technology to solve the problem of privacy in the cloud.
“We evolved the software to be able to use cloud storage destinations, with the data staying secure and private both during transit and at rest. We developed the concept of a ‘private storage container’ which can be created inside any cloud,” says Anand.
Anand explains this further, “Think of this as a ring-fenced area in which all enterprise data can be stored safely. All data in the store is fully encrypted, versioned, searchable, and securely shareable. We protected this container with an innovative encryption key management technology - BluKrypt, which enabled us to let businesses control the encryption keys without having them invest in expensive key management software or Hardware Security Modules (HSMs). This helped us deliver to our customers the concept of “Zero Knowledge Privacy”, which means they can secure and keep their data private with a sturdy technology barrier they can control – not simply a trust-based arrangement with the cloud vendor.”
Saas product and patent
Parablu’s suite of products includes a family of backup solutions under the BluVault umbrella and a family of content management solutions under the BluSync umbrella. Both are powered by its anchor product BluKrypt technology – a secure storage container with innovative, built-in encryption key management to keep data safe in the cloud.
- BluVault: BluVault is a powerful and secure data backup solution that is designed for the cloud.
- BluVault for endpoints – built to protect business data on user endpoints (desktops, laptops, macbooks etc.)
- BluVault for M365 – cloud-cloud data backup built to protect Microsoft 365 data
- BluVault for Servers – built to protect business data on servers including file/print/web/application servers as well as domain controllers.
- BluSync: BluSync is a secure enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) solution.
- BluSync for secure file sharing – replaces clumsy on-premise SecureFTP types of technologies with a modern, policy driven experience that is secure, private and fully audit logged.
- BluSync for collaboration – a software platform for teams to access, edit and share files in a fast and efficient way. Shared folders called mini-clouds enable quick and uncomplicated sharing with security and privacy.
- BluSync for file services – designed for migration from old-fashioned on-premise file servers to a cloud based, scalable solution. Team members can connect to content in their own cloud space, the enterprise shared cloud, or mini-clouds, and access the information therein securely.
“While we offer a fully managed and hosted solution (Backup as a Service – BaaS), we allow a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) model which allows customers the flexibility to work with any cloud storage provider of their choice for optimised costs and zero lock-ins,” states Anand.
The startup has also received grant for two of its patents.
In November this year Parablu received their second patent from the US Patent Office (USPTO), confirming the company’s unique data protection products and capabilities.
The patent revolves around Parablu’s ability to integrate with Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Google Drive. The patented invention allows enterprises with Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace subscriptions to utilise unused portions of their OneDrive for Business or Google Drive storage as secure backup repositories.
Its earlier patent was granted in 2014. This patent powers a feature called Rapid Restore – which allows quick retrieval of dehydrated data content to get users up and running quickly in the case of disaster or data-loss – while the underlying content gets re-hydrated in a background process. Any dehydrated content accessed by the user gets rehydrated immediately using an out-of-band request.
“Apart from data privacy, the other key differentiator that has accelerated adoption for us, is the strong attach we’ve developed between our private storage container and cloud storage offerings like Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite,” states Anand.
“So, while we can create our ‘safe deposit boxes’ in a variety of cloud storage targets, we get the most attention for our ability to do this with OneDrive and Google Drive. This is particularly appealing to customers because most businesses subscribe to one of these offerings already – and Parablu’s ability to let them leverage that space as a secure target for their backup or file sharing solution means a considerably lowered Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the customer.”
YS Design Team
“One of the biggest and main differentiators is no cost storage. Parablu allows enterprises the choice of any cloud –public or private through an ability to integrate with personal storage services like OneDrive and Google Drive. In addition to its own hosted service, Parablu also supports several cloud targets like MS Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Google Drive, Amazon S3, IBM SoftLayer, etc., or can even use local disk storage targets on premise,” he adds.
The founding team
Anand met co-founder Subash Baliga in 2014 just as both were starting to make plans to leave their corporate jobs and strike out as entrepreneurs.
In 2015, Subash decided to try his hand at foodtech and founded Zzungry, while Anand founded Parablu. Both stayed in touch during the intervening years – until 2020 when Subash decided to exit Zzungry. Subash came on board Parablu and is now Co-founder and Vice-President - Sales.
With a team size of 30, Anand is the CEO and oversees product development, technical support, and marketing functions. While Subash oversees sales, channels, and pre-sales functions.
Market size and funding
Talking to YourStory, Anand estimates Parablu’s market size based on the Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive user-base, which is roughly around 350 million users.
The global Data Backup and Recovery Software market size is projected to reach $9763.6 million by 2027, from $5074.5 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 9.8 percent during 2021-2027.
“At the price points we command, we estimate this is a $14B addressable market (TAM),”
Declining to reveal its revenue number, Anand says that the company works on a hybrid revenue model, where it either provides a traditional licensing deal or annual subscription model, based on the client's needs and preferences.
Based out of California with a fully owned subsidiary in Bengaluru, Parablu’s clientele typically includes large and medium size enterprises.
“We have a broad-spectrum group that cuts across industries and geographies. Our customers include Wipro, Panasonic, Mindtree, Finisar Corporation, Starbucks, Sony Networks, Forward Air, Polycab, Equitas Bank, Tata Sky, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, Embassy Group, Shriram Properties, L&T Finance, Tata AIG, Welspun, Oman Insurance and several more,” he says.
Initially bootstrapped by Anand with some help from friends and family, Parablu had raised its seed round of $500K in 2016 from KStart (Kalaari). In November 2021, the startup raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures.
Competition and road ahead
The startup already has established distribution channels in India and UAE. It has begun penetrating the US market and is working on strengthening and setting up new distribution channels in the North American market.
“Data is the most important currency for enterprises”, says Anand while talking about plans for the future. “Our focus is going to continue to be on enterprise data – securing it, keeping it private, and using technologies like machine learning to help enterprises gain valuable insights from it”.
“We have an exciting roadmap, and all our teams are hiring furiously. Until now, we were limited by our marketing reach – and consequently the number of enterprises that had heard about us. We’re going to change that now. They’ll be hearing about Parablu a lot more”, he says with a smile.
Some of the players competing in the same space include Commvault, Druva, Veritas, Veeam, Acronis.