After Natural Disasters, Bluelock Helps Companies Recover Their Data

When hurricanes and other natural disasters strike, buildings and other physical structures aren’t the only things at risk of being destroyed. Crucial data and IT infrastructure can also be lost as a result of inclement weather, and a sector called “disaster-recovery-as-a-service” (DRaaS) has emerged, along with new cloud-based tools, to help mitigate the damage.

Indianapolis-based Bluelock is a DRaaS company that launched 11 years ago offering its customers infrastructure-as-a service, or an instant, Internet-managed computing infrastructure. Jeff Ton, Bluelock’s vice president of product and service development, says that his company found that many companies were spending too much money on data center space they didn’t need. Bluelock wanted to provide an alternative offering that could “leverage cloud economics” and offer a more pay-as-you-go approach, Ton says.

At that at that time, roughly five years ago, computing technology had advanced enough that it was possible for Bluelock to “replicate” its customers’ data centers and move them to the cloud. That shift, which Ton says represented a significant departure from the previous model, enabled those customers to recover more quickly after a natural disaster, he says.

“Companies used to back up all data and software to tapes, and then they’d send the tapes to a secure, offsite vault,” Ton says. “Then, after a disaster, they’d take the tapes and copy them back into a production environment. Replication technology allows us to copy the data in real time to another location.”

Ton says Bluelock can whittle down recovery times from days or weeks to hours without any loss of data.

The work it takes to test and maintain data recovery systems make it time- and cost-prohibitive for many corporate IT departments, Ton says, even though the need has never been greater. Companies are also using DRaaS as a data protection strategy against cyber attacks, he adds. In a June 2017 report, Gartner estimated the annual DRaaS market to currently be worth $2 billion, and projects it will reach $3.7 billion by 2021.

Bluelock maintains two data centers—one in Las Vegas and one in Indiana—and the majority of its 60 employees work in Indianapolis. The privately held company has raised more than $6 million from institutional and angel investors since its inception, Ton says.

Ton acknowledges that Bluelock has many competitors; he estimates that about 500 companies currently have their DRaaS shingle out. However, within that sector there are a variety of “different flavors,” he says.

“At Bluelock, we emphasize the service part,” he explains. “We can help run the books, help build and test recovery systems. We become an extension of the customer’s IT team. Our hands-on, high-touch approach makes us different.”

In the near future, Bluelock plans to explore products for companies that use hyperscale computing and storage, and helping customers improve network security. In September, Bluelock tapped Jennifer Wiseman, a former Genesys executive, to come on board as chief financial officer, and Ton says the company expects to do more hiring in 2018.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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