incriptus: safe data back-up and storage in a private cloud

In May, 2010, IDC released calculations showing that the total amount of data generated grew by 62% over the prior year – and was expected to grow 44 fold by 2020. Since only 25% of the data is unique, that means 75% is copied, i.e., backed up and stored.

That same month, Philip Vafiadis, CEO of VAF Research told me about incriptus. It had won local, national and international technology awards, and two of the founders, Trevor Glen and Michael Terrington, were hard at work building a company to commercialize the technology. I was intrigued.

Given the IDC report,  it was obvious that incriptus is in a rapidly expanding market, where many different solutions are being developed for data back-up and storage.  And even if data centers end up the “winners”, the incriptus technology can make them more efficient.    And so I agreed to become an advisor to incriptus and help them develop their growth strategy.

I work with technology and growth companies all over the world and have been a global thought leader for several international software companies. I know the importance of backing up files.

  •  In my last company we used jump drives, and our schedule for backing up files was “when we have time this week” (which often became “this month”!).  We were  backing up files – sort of.
  •  I remembered a photography client whose IT Director backed up the files on CDs and stored them in his bedroom! He was doing back-up – sort of.
  • I had another client who used a data center for back-up – but had no access to files for two days while the data center frantically transferred the company’s data to another center – before being flooded by a rising river. They had back-up – sort of.

These examples demonstrate the problems with the back-up solutions people are using:

  • Someone has to remember to copy files from a computer to a disc or drive which is then stored somewhere in the office or off-site (e.g., a bedroom). While this is better than nothing, it’s not systematic or safe and definitely not secure. Files can be lost between back-ups, backed-up files can be copied, and files can be lost if the disc or drive is damaged by fire, flood – or stolen.
  • Files are electronically sent to a data center where they are stored.  Usually they are fragmented, sometimes encrypted, but who knows where the data is stored. And having backed-up files in a common location creates the potential for a “single point of failure” if a fire or flood strikes the data center.

What intrigued me about incriptus is that

(1)    Files are backed-up automatically.  No one has to remember to do it. And the incriptus technology knows if a file is new or has been modified – and automatically backs it up. All this happens in the background – as if by magic!

(2)    Files are fragmented and triple encrypted so no complete file exists any place – and there’s back-up redundancy – which increases the safety and security of backed-up files.

(3)    The fragments of files are sent to a number of different computers and stored on the unused space on the hard drives.  No single file exists on any computer so it can’t be read or copied by anyone.

(4)    Because the files are distributed across a large number of computers, there’s infinite capacity.  As new uses join the “system” (which is actually a “private cloud”), there are more unused hard drives with space available to store additional backed up data.  This mode of back-up and storage is definitely an alternative to data centers which are now using 2+% of the world’s energy.

(5)    And the cost of incriptus data back-up is much less than it is to do manual back-ups or use data centers.

I believe that incriptus has a winning technology, a viable strategy, and a burgeoning market.  But, like every other company with growth potential, it needs continued investment in order to execute on its growth plan. It’s now seeking  a third round of funding.  I hope it’s successful.