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John Thompson On Helping Rubrik Scale And Prepare For An IPO

Joseph F. Kovar

‘Quite frankly, everything is in the cloud in some form or another these days. Clients want to make sure that they have something that can protect their content wherever it exists, wherever it lives, if you want, be it in the cloud or on-prem or quite frankly in a partner’s ecosystem. They want a company like Rubrik who can not only ensure that it is secure but make sure that the content can be stored in a way that makes it reliable as it gets accessed,’ says John Thompson, who this month was named lead independent director of Rubrik’s board of directors.

Time Is Right To Think Security In Storage: John Thompson

Rubrik this month unveiled the appointment of John Thompson as the new lead independent director of the storage and security company’s board of directors. The move, aimed at helping Rubrik build a team of top cybersecurity experts to improve the security of data backups, follows the June appointment of Chris Krebs, former director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as chairman of the company’s new CISO Advisory Board, and the May appointment of Michael Mestrovich, former CIA CISO, as its new CISO.

Thompson brings a solid security background to Rubrik. In addition to serving in the past as Microsoft chairman and security vendor Symantec CEO, Thompson currently is the lead independent director of Microsoft and a venture partner at private equity firm Lightspeed Venture Partners. As Symantec CEO, he led the company to acquire Veritas, then the largest data protection vendor, as a way to bring storage and security together, but that acquisition ultimately failed and Symantec 10 years later sold Veritas at a significant loss.

Thompson told CRN in an exclusive interview that Symantec’s attempt to bring storage and security together failed because of a significant cultural difference between the company and Veritas and because the market was not yet ready for such a combination.

[Related: Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen: Storage And Security Are Now A ‘Blended Conversation’]

That, he said, is no longer the case, as the idea of adding security to data protection has become an increasingly common move with companies like Rubrik, which under the leadership of co-founder, Chairman and CEO Bipul Sinha, has moved to become a leader in bringing the two together.

“Quite frankly, everything is in the cloud in some form or another these days,” he said. “Clients want to make sure that they have something that can protect their content wherever it exists, wherever it lives, if you want, be it in the cloud or on-prem or quite frankly in a partner’s ecosystem. They want a company like Rubrik who can not only ensure that it is secure but make sure that the content can be stored in a way that makes it reliable as it gets accessed.”

It is a trend that will continue, especially at Rubrik where Thompson said he is focused on helping the company scale and prepare for an IPO.

“The security segment has captured more investment capital than almost any other segment in the tech space over the last three to five years,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s going to change because guess what? Content is growing exponentially every year. And therefore, you’re going to need new security techniques and technologies to protect the massive amount of content that is going to be created over the course of the next 24 to 36 months.”

Thompson also talked about how he sees security at Microsoft and his expectations about security moving forward. Here is his deeper look at Rubrik, Microsoft and more.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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