End-to-End Email Migration Solution that Handles Massive Volumes of Data and Complex Regulatory Issues
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – February 22, 2016
CEOCFO: Mr. Desteno, would you tell us about Archive360?
Mr. Desteno: You can think of Archive360 as a moving truck for big data, email data that lives in proprietary archive systems.
CEOCFO: Why do we need a moving truck for it?
Mr. Desteno: In the early 2000s, many organizations implemented email archiving systems to save storage on the primary email server. That was the initial driver. However, the second reason organizations implemented email archives was for legal and compliance reasons. Highly regulated organizations, such as Wall Street firms, had to be in compliances with regulations such as FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or SEC Rule 17A-4. For healthcare, it was HIPAA. They were legally obligated to archive and maintain email for a specific length of time. Fast-forward to the present day and email systems, like Microsoft Exchange, have progressed quite a bit. Vendors such as Microsoft now offer archiving as part of their core solutions. Add to that the trend toward the cloud, in Microsoft’s case to Office365 and in Google’s case, to Google Vault. So the trend now is towards organizations getting out of the business of maintaining email systems focusing, on their core competencies, and actually outsourcing email as a service to one of these organizations. The legacy archive systems that were implemented some ten or fifteen years ago need to be moved to this new platform. That’s where Archive360 comes in: we’re the moving truck to move that data from point A to point B. In most cases, point B happens to be a cloud-based solution.
CEOCFO: Where are the challenges?
Mr. Desteno: The vendors that created these legacy archiving systems did so in such a way to store the data in proprietary formats. It was in their best interests to make it as easy as possible to get the data into the archive system, and to ensure that it was not easy to get the data out of the archive system. So one of the areas where Archive360 has excelled is in hiring the original engineers from some of these systems such as Mimosa, Symantec, EMC and others, to unwind the proprietary formats, pull that data out accurately, and get it back into the open standard.
CEOCFO: When companies are thinking of moving data are they aware initially of the dangers?
Mr. Desteno: When we get called in, it is often toward the end of the cycle. So when the phone rings at Archive360 it is usually a customer saying they have decided to move to Office365 or to Google for example. They’ve just realized that they are not just moving their live mailboxes – because that is relatively trivial. They’ve finally realized that they have a proprietary platform that has been there for ten years; that people have maintained, but they are no longer there and they may not be supported by the vendor anymore. Their in-house expertise had left and now they’re stuck. Some of them realize that and get involved earlier on but others just aren’t aware of this until towards the end of their migration project.
CEOCFO: What would someone in a web search look for to find Archive360?
Mr. Desteno: A typical web search would be for email archive migration.
CEOCFO: How customized are your solutions?
Mr. Desteno: Very little! We have purposely removed the complexity, (and it is a very complex process to move the data from A to B) and manufactured an enterprise application that installs in less than twenty minutes and is just point and click for the user. There’s no reason to make the process hard for the user; they need to point and click–that is our value proposition.
CEOCFO: Do you have to backup before attempting migration?
Mr. Desteno: There is no reason to back it up because we are only reading the data. We are not editing it. Everything Archive360 does in terms of extracting data out of the archive is read only. If you are pulling the data out and there is an exception, (an email was corrupted during the archiving process for instance) we report on all exceptions and maintain real chain of custody for every message from A to B all the time. If there is an interruption in that process, the server goes down or the network connection goes down for instance, we will retry.
CEOCFO: Once it gets to where it is going, is that the end of it for you?
Mr. Desteno: Correct. Once it has migrated from A to B, our job is done.
CEOCFO: Do you need to ensure that B is the material correctly?
Mr. Desteno: It is part of our value proposition, which is maintaining the process chain of custody from A to B at the message level and at the data element level. It will not register in the system as being committed to B until that process has completed.
CEOCFO: What types of companies are turning to Archive360?
Mr. Desteno: We are in every geography in the world. It’s, anybody who has implemented an archive system. We have customers with as few as fifty mailboxes that do a migration and as many as two hundred thousand mailboxes. Very large corporations down to small firms. There is an emphasis on regulated industries and an emphasis on government at all levels.
CEOCFO: How do you navigate some of the challenges working with government agencies?
Mr. Desteno: How we are unique versus our competitors is that we are 100% channel based in terms of distribution of our product. Our channel partners are utilizing our tool to perform the migrations. Think of them as the project managers. The service is in managing the process, managing end users expectation, to move their live mail as well as their archives seamlessly. We have specialist partners and many of them that just work with government agencies. They are really managing the hardware and process.
CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape?
Mr. Desteno: Companies have different options, when it comes to migrating their archives. However, in terms of software companies that specialize in this space, we have consulted with many industry analysts and are told that we are one of three viable players in this market.
CEOCFO: How are you reaching out for potential customers?
Mr. Desteno: In a number of ways. As I said, we sell almost exclusively through our channel, so much of our outbound activities involve recruiting and educating our partners.
Our corporate marketing focuses on thought leadership, education and brand awareness
CEOCFO: How is business these days?
Mr. Desteno: Business is excellent! We recently put out a press release announcing our 2015 results. We have been in business for about four years now and have migrated over 450 customers, about 10.5 petabytes worth of data. In 2015 alone, we migrated 6.2 petabytes of data, 2.2 million users and more than 80 billion email messages.
CEOCFO: What have you learned over the last couple of years?
Mr. Desteno: Put your customers first, your employees second and your revenues will grow. I’m proud to say that 100% of our customers are referenceable. Last year our average migration time was 38 days. That didn’t just happen by accident. It was the result of our entire team being 100% focused on getting it right for our customers and our partners.
CEOCFO: Have you worked with your channel partners in exposing their clients to data archiving?
Mr. Desteno: Absolutely. Many of our channel partners were not even aware of what an archiving system was. Take the example of the Wall Street firms, for example; were required to archive every piece of data that went in and out of their brokerage teams End users and administrators may not even have been aware that this was happening. Consequently, today a company engages one of our partners to move their messaging system from A to B. The partner starts to analyze the customer’s Exchange environment and is surprised to find that all of the messages have been archived. So we’re educating our partners so that they, in turn, can educate their customers.
CEOCFO: What has changed over the last few months for Archive360?
Mr. Desteno: In September last year, together with my co-founder (Tibi Popp, our CTO), we bought out our outside investor, so we now own 100% of the shares of the company. We moved our corporate headquarters from a suburb of Chicago to downtown Manhattan. We opened a subsidiary office in Romania and created a global development and support center.
CEOCFO: Why was this the right time or did the opportunity arise and you seized it?
Mr. Desteno: We came into this market opportunistically. We identified and opportunity to move data out of one legacy archiving platform to another archive and it just took off and became successful. As the market changed, we quickly realized that this was a real market that would expand for many years as companies move from one platform to another.
CEOCFO: How do you handle the challenges of quick growth?
Mr. Desteno: We are fortunate to be able to experience some growing pains. We need to be able to respond more quickly to the significant volume in demand, so we’ve brought on extra help in terms of channel enablement so we can make our partners more productive more quickly. We need to maintain the quality of our software and our migrations – the reputation we’ve built with our customers and partners earning us 100% referenceablility and our migrations completed with an exception rate of 0.001%. So we’ve reorganized how our development and support teams so we can be even more responsive.
CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Archive360?
Mr. Desteno: We are disrupting the migration market. Our competitors have been in this business for about ten years now and they had first runner advantage and got into the market early. I give them a lot of credit for that. But we had second runner advantage, which allowed us to understand the challenges they were facing fix them in our technology and go to market the right way, right from the outset. So rather than being a services company where you’re billing the company 80% or more for people and maybe 20% for software, we put a lot of thought into developing a software offering where 90% or more is software. We built software that purposely took the hard work, complexity and unpredictability out of doing migrations. You can install it in twenty minutes; point, click and migrate. It’s not just our tagline; it’s what our product does.