May 31, 2023
4 min read

Introducing Alcion: AI-Driven Data Protection

Introducing Alcion: AI-Driven Data Protection

Hello world!

Vaibhav, my co-founder, and I are very excited to announce the launch of Alcion, an AI-driven company that is solving data-management challenges faced by companies storing data in the cloud including protection against ransomware and malware, disaster recovery, and accidents. Our mission is to protect all the world's data against both malicious threats and accidents, and we are building a company to accomplish this with community and intelligence as the foundational building blocks.

As some of you might know, Vaibhav and I have been working together for many years now and have spent decades in the areas of backup and storage systems, including the successful exits of our previous startups to DellEMC and Veeam. It’s very safe to say that we are passionate about helping customers address their data protection requirements. However, we did not expect to embark on another journey in this space right after successfully growing Kasten, our previous startup, first independently and then as a part of Veeam.

The trends we were seeing in the market gave us no choice. We saw increased threats to data from ransomware and malware and, at the same time, increased amounts of business-critical data moving to the cloud and online SaaS services, such as Microsoft 365. At the same time, we saw two fundamental shifts in technology that gave us the belief and confidence that we would be able to tackle these emerging threats. The first was the seemingly overnight emergence of powerful AI techniques, and the second was the shift to an API-first world that would allow for tighter integration between Alcion and the many different systems that interact with data.

To help fuel this effort, we are excited to share that we have raised $8 million from prominent angel investors. While raising money is not a success metric for us, we are honored by all the investors that have continued to support us across companies! Check out our press release to read more about what our investors have to say.

Today, we are also announcing the public preview of Alcion’s AI-driven data protection platform for Microsoft 365, offered as a cloud-based service. We are starting with safeguarding data stored in Microsoft 365 because of its dominant market leadership, the large amounts of data stored in OneDrive and SharePoint, and the even larger data-protection gaps in this environment. To give you a sense of the data volumes involved, Microsoft recently announced that over 8 billion new documents are being added daily and over 200 PB of new data monthly to SharePoint.

At Alcion, we are rethinking, from the ground up, how a modern data protection platform should be designed to address both backups and security. It’s not just about how Alcion uses AI to learn user behavior, intelligently schedule backups, remove malware, detect ransomware, proactively schedule backups when threat signals are detected, or identify clean backups for faster recovery. It’s about how we do all of this with an intuitive UX, automation, and simplified but robust backup and recovery workflows that remove operational complexity for our users. While we have “batteries included” for core security primitives, we also want to give our customers choice, and close the loop between backup and security systems by integrating with popular XDR systems, starting today with Microsoft 365 Defender.

We also believe that everyone should be able to protect their data without worrying about cost. We have therefore released Corso, the tool that powers Alcion and will backup all your Microsoft 365 data to object storage of your choice. Corso is free, open source under the Apache v2 license, and is in active use in large Microsoft environments. If you aren’t ready for Alcion just yet, but have no data protection in place, we highly encourage you to use Corso to get started today on your data-protection journey.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our design partners who shaped our product definition and development. We owe you a big thanks! If you're curious about their Alcion experience, I encourage you to read the case studies we've made available, or the white paper that synthesizes the most common security-oriented pain points Microsoft 365 admins run into.  

If you are a Microsoft 365 admin, we would love to hear from you! Please try Alcion out (it's free for 14 days, no credit card required) and then join our Discord to give us feedback. I promise I will personally be there to respond to your questions and suggestions. If you want to leave Discord for another day, just sign up for our mailing list below so we can keep you in the loop as the product evolves. Finally, we are also hiring!

Niraj Tolia
Niraj Tolia
CEO and Co-Founder, Alcion

Niraj Tolia is the co-founder and CEO at Alcion. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO at Kasten, the leading and award-winning Kubernetes backup company that was acquired by Veeam in 2020. Post-acquisition, he continued, as General Manager and President of the Kasten by Veeam business unit, to accelerate the growth of Veeam’s cloud-native business. With a strong technical background in distributed systems, storage, and data management, he previously held leadership roles, including Senior Director of Engineering at Dell EMC and VP of Engineering and Chief Architect at Maginatics (acquired by EMC). Dr. Tolia received his PhD, MS, and BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.