Anthony West has departed Credit Suisse to join Actiance as CTO. Neil Senior joins him as VP of Customer Success from stints at [entity display=”EMC” type=”organization” subtype=”company” active=”true” key=”emc” ticker=”EMC” exchange=”NYSE” natural_id=”fred/company/1441″]EMC[/entity], RSA, and Aruba Networks.
Credit Suisse were big users of Actiance technology, though West was coy about the details of exactly what the bankers were doing with it. He was full of praise for the product, and it seems the prospects for the new archive product, Alcatraz, were enough to coax him over to the vendor.
Actiance isn’t a new company; it was founded in 1998, and has focused on archiving and e-discovery that is the bane of heavily regulated organisations everywhere, but rather than merely dealing with email, West says Actiance has a real advantage in dealing with more ephemeral communications.
“It’s the ability to apply policy to multiple different information channels that’s so special,” he said. “Policies like data leakage prevention over social networking channels, like instant messaging or [entity display=”LinkedIn” type=”organization” subtype=”company” active=”true” key=”linkedin” ticker=”LNKD” exchange=”NYSE” natural_id=”fred/company/90846″]LinkedIn[/entity]. Any company who’s concerned about data leakage on real-time and social collaboration technologies should come and talk to us.”
Protecting data from leaking out is a common refrain from security vendors these days, and being able to produce documents for legal discovery isn’t a new problem, but West says the Alcatraz product is brand new and written to deal with the modern technology environment.
Unfortunately West struggled somewhat to sell me on the vision or the product, which I suspect is a factor of being new to the role. I get the impression there’s good stuff in there, but with so much hype (and the buzzword, oh the buzzwords!) around all things security, it’s tricky to determine what’s real and what’s hyperbole.
It also creates a tough environment to cut through the noise. Email archiving and discovery is something that can be done with any number of well-known (NetBackup, Commvault) and new products (Rubrik, Cohesity) though newer products aren’t as robust when it comes to things like legal hold. There’s also the tricky business of deleting things when they’re supposed to be, both to reduce the attack surface from nefarious hackers and to limit what can be discovered in a court case.
There are plenty of concrete stories to tell about how a technology solves a business problem, but those stories just aren’t there yet with Actiance.
Still, the company is about to embark on what feels like a major refresh, hence the new blood in West and Senior. No doubt as they become more comfortable with where the company is headed and how that translates into concrete action for customers, we’ll start to see more compelling stories about where the value of the products is.
This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.