Alcion AI-Supported Backup as a Service Achieves Series A Funding

Alcion AP-Supported Backup as a Service Achieves Series A Funding

The News: Alcion, a provider of an AI-supported backup as a service (BUaaS) offering for Microsoft 365, raised $21 million in its Series A funding round that was led by Veeam. Additional detail is available in the Press Release on the Alcion website.

Alcion AI-Supported Backup as a Service Achieves Series A Funding

Analyst Take: It is no secret that AI is set to transform industries, and the data protection industry is no exception. In fact, the seeds have been planted for AI to be used to address the critical pain points that customers are facing with their data protection solutions.

AI Eases the Data Protection Workload and Improves Cyber-Resiliency

Notably, AI can be used to automate complex and laborious processes. This benefit spans not only the application of protection policies but also data classification tasks such as identifying and tagging sensitive data. The value of streamlining time-consuming tasks cannot be understated, considering that limited budgets, high solution costs, and limited IT staff/headcount are the top challenges with existing data protection solutions, according to The Futurum Group’s Trends in Enterprise Data Protection 2023 study.

Additionally, the role that data protection plays for resiliency against ransomware and other cyberattacks continues to grow, and cyber-resiliency is established as a C-Suite priority given the growth of the volume and impact of attacks. AI is being integrated into data protection tools for faster and earlier detection of attacks, to identify the last known good backup copy, and to uncover the blast radius of attacks – that is, identify specifically which systems or data stores were affected and the sensitive and high-priority data exposures that warrant first response. Currently, this work is typically done through monitoring for unusual activities through analytics, and it can lead to mitigating downtime and data loss resulting from an attack.

Alcion’s Interesting Approach to Data Protection

Alcion provides an interesting approach to data protection, in having built its platform to harness AI. It just exited stealth in May and has already raised a total of $29 million in funding, underscoring the market interest and opportunity. Additionally, Alcion is targeting the growing wave of demand for BUaaS and for protecting software as a service (SaaS) applications. In The Futurum Group’s research, 30% of respondents indicated that they are using backup software hosted in the public cloud, and 20% indicated that they plan to implement or expand their usage. Additionally, more than 50% indicated that they are protecting Microsoft 365, and 25% are protecting another SaaS application. The startup’s founders, Niraj Tolia and Vaibhav Kamra, are already experienced in bringing data protection solutions to the market that successfully fill a new and growing need. The most recent example is that they also co-founded container data protection provider Kasten, which was acquired by Veeam in 2020.

Alcion’s platform is based on Corso, the company’s open source project for AI-automated data backup and recovery workloads as well as ransomware detection for SaaS applications (currently Microsoft 365 specifically). For example, AI is used to adapt backup schedules based on data modification patterns, and it can be used to trigger a backup based on identification of potentially nefarious activity in an effort to reduce the potential for data loss. Ransomware attack detection and response is facilitated through identification of anomalous data modifications, the predictive identification of the best recovery point to minimize data loss, and automated response workflows. Notably, the platform integrates with Microsoft 365 Defender, which coordinates vulnerability and breach identification, alerting, and response.

In being based on an open source tool, Alcion is positioning itself to develop a community of loyal users as well as for faster adoption of its commercial platform. The company will use the Series A funding for go-to-market expansion from a regional perspective as well as to push into larger enterprises. Ultimately, it will also apply investment in R&D, working to cover the full spectrum of Microsoft 365 services, to enhance capabilities for managed service provider (MSP) customers, and, with time, to add coverage for additional SaaS applications.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Trends in Enterprise Data Protection 2023 – Research Study

Staffing Pressures Drive Enterprises to Data Protection as-a-Service

Top Security Issues Organizations Need to be Paying Attention to in 2023: Six Five On the Road at .conf23

Author Information

With a focus on data security, protection, and management, Krista has a particular focus on how these strategies play out in multi-cloud environments. She brings approximately a decade of experience providing research and advisory services and creating thought leadership content, with a focus on IT infrastructure and data management and protection. Her vantage point spans technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her work has appeared in major publications including eWeek, TechTarget and The Register.

Prior to joining The Futurum Group, Krista led the data center practice for Evaluator Group and the data center practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research. She also created articles, product analyses, and blogs on all things storage and data protection and management for analyst firm Storage Switzerland and led market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Journalism with a minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.


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