COBALT IRON - Data is the New Gold: A Simplified Approach to Data Protection

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Andy Hurt, CMO
“Data is the new gold” has become a common catchphrase in enterprise IT environments, and with good reason. Over the years, the value of enterprise data has grown exponentially, and with it, the need to protect this “gold.” But data is not something that can be kept under lock and key in an isolated vault. A large part of a sustainable data protection strategy revolves around ensuring that the data under protection is available to authorized users 24/7, and it can be restored seamlessly even after an unexpected data corruption, data loss, or cyber-attack event.

With its robust and scalable Spectrum Protect product, IBM has applied its industry-leading expertise and skills to address these data protection requirements. Enterprises all around the world have adopted IBM Spectrum Protect to enhance their data backup and recovery operations. And now, Cobalt Iron, a global leader in SaaS-based enterprise data protection, has developed the Compass® platform that orchestrates and extends IBM and other technologies (including Spectrum Protect) to enhance companies’ enterprise data backup experiences dramatically. Since its inception in 2013, Cobalt Iron has been removing the complexities of enterprise data backup.

Modernizing Enterprise Backup

Traditionally, an organization had to buy a licensed data backup product directly from a vendor, incurring an upfront capital expense, and then deploy it on specific operating systems. Once the product was installed, the organization had to hire an experienced administrator to manage backup tasks such as BIOS upgrades, security patches, configurations, and software updates. In many cases, one administrator wasn’t enough to oversee every operational task – but hiring multiple experts would often make the operation more siloed than streamlined. “The end result was often counterproductive: users would be exposed to greater security risks without any cost savings,” says Andy Hurt, Cobalt Iron’s CMO. “We’re committed to offering a unique approach to data protection that is changing the status quo and rescuing enterprises from this quagmire of complexities.”

Cobalt Iron’s unique solution, Compass, optimizes IBM Spectrum Protect functionality to meet the unique requirements of its enterprise clients. Since Compass is offered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) package, users are able to avoid a large, upfront capital investment. Compass’ analytics-driven automation tools are designed to streamline the robust capabilities of IBM’s Spectrum Protect and other technologies to eliminate all of the obstacles of onboarding and operation of enterprise data protection.

Since Compass autonomously manages all backup componentry and performs Spectrum Protect’s backup operations, including security and software updates, enterprises don’t need to invest in additional infrastructure or skilled administrators. All licenses and upgrades are also managed by Compass, removing any burden of tracking compliance and audits. With real-time capacity management, monitoring, and alerting facilitated by Compass, all users have to do is keep an eye on a single, unified web-based dashboard, rather than constantly checking every individual aspect of their backup infrastructure.

It is important to note that Compass goes beyond simply automating formerly manual data backup processes. The platform’s cloud capabilities—including data to the cloud, cloud DR replication, and cross-cloud protection—are configured to run on multiple environments, including AWS, Azure, Alibaba, Google, and IBM.

Cobalt Iron’s unique solution, Compass®, optimizes IBM Spectrum Protect functionality to meet the unique requirements of its enterprise clients

Additionally, the award-winning cyber security functions known collectively as Cyber Shield™ are built natively into Compass ensuring absolute data security for enterprise backup environments. This includes a 24/7 problem-detection and avoidance function that ensures a company’s ransomware readiness, threat responsiveness, and recovery capability.

Furthering the Standards for Service Delivery

Hurt sheds light on Cobalt Iron’s unique service delivery approach: “To make the implementation process easier, we ‘stamp’ the Compass software directly onto certified hardware and personalize it with appropriate configurations before shipping it to the customer. Since clients receive Compass in a ready-to-use hardware package, they can set it up in their workplace in four simple steps—unpack it, rack it, connect it to the network, and power it up.” Once online, the Compass system connects remotely with the Compass Analytics Engine before initiating backup operations. Hurt adds, “This straightforward deployment process is a significant improvement over traditional deployment methods, since clients don’t have to spend weeks to months on installation, configuration, and training.”

To further illustrate Compass’s operations and flawless backup and recovery, Hurt citesa recent instance in which Cobalt Iron assisted a large global manufacturer operating in 44 countries. The client was facing tremendous challenges with its existing backup operations, which were generating an average of three to four critical problems a month. In addition, the client had employed 12 dedicated employees to manage daily administrative tasks such as software maintenance, performance, and capacity management. As soon as the company deployed Compass, it saw its global backup success rate jump from 73 percent to a phenomenal 99.9 percent. Compass’ analytics-driven automation eliminated more than 90 percent of the company’s daily operational tasks, so they were able to reduce the number of dedicated employees from 12 to less than two and enable the other 10 to focus on more value-added tasks.

Propelled by such successes, Cobalt Iron has become a market favorite in the data protection realm. An increasing number of enterprises with hybrid and public cloud environments are opting for Compass’ seamless scalability and high ROI. Moving forward, Cobalt Iron is continuing to cement its industry leadership and further improve its backup and data protection offerings. With several patents in hand and many in process, the company will orchestrate more AI and machine learning algorithms into its upcoming software upgrades. Hurt notes, “By harnessing the power of AI and machine learning technologies, we will continue to work toward removing the ‘manual tasks’ from all data protection processes – in other words, complete autonomous automation.”


Lawrence, KS

Andy Hurt, CMO

Cobalt Iron is the global leader in SaaS-based enterprise data protection. The company was founded in 2013 to bring about fundamental changes in the world's approach to data protection. Through analytics and automation, Cobalt Iron enables enterprises to transform and optimize legacy backup solutions into a simple cloud-based architecture. By leveraging the cloud, Cobalt Iron reduces overall capex by more than 50 percent while eliminating backup failures and inefficiencies. Processing more than 7 million jobs a month for customers in 44 countries, Cobalt Iron delivers modern enterprise data protection for enterprise customers