Jan Vandenbos is a former network architect at AT&T and Microsoft, specialising in enterprise security frameworks. After two decades working for the IT giants and running several consultancy firms, he has taken on the reins of being CTO of CX.com (now branded C to the X Power), the fastest growing cloud online storage application. CX.com is backed by TomorrowVentures, the personal investment vehicle of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google.
Vandenbos sat down with SearchNetworkingUK to talk about his new venture and how his experience in networking has inspired the development of CX.
What has inspired you to leave behind your network architect roles to lead CX.com?
Jan Vandenbos: CX is a new kind of cloud experience that takes content to the next level with a range of unique features: secure storage, real-time syncing, public and private sharing, interactive group collaboration, and intelligent discovery. Having worked in the enterprise for so long, I know just how much the nature of the workplace is changing and how the cloud can play a key role in transforming the way business is transacted. I wanted to be involved in something where I could speak the same language as my peers and offer them something that could really help to transform business cultures.
How are you applying your network security architecture skills to the CX offerings?
Vandenbos: The great thing about the cloud is that it is rapidly evolving and we can continuously make it more robust so that enterprises can boost their confidence in investing with it. Regulatory and legal compliance protocols are the biggest concerns surrounding the cloud and for network engineers and architects is also the biggest cause for headache and I’m committed to ensuring that our releases offers them ease of mind.
With CX, developed by NASA engineers, you have total control over what you share and how. So enterprise owners can determine the extent of file-sharing options and how users share stuff with peers, place caps and floors where they want and encrypt the data in the ways they want. We use SSL encryption for In-Transit security on all of our devices (web, desktop, and mobile) and your data remains encrypted using AES-256 the entire time it is on our servers and a core focus for our next phase is boosting secure vaulting.
One of the core tenets of CX is to ensure that we do not develop features at the expense of our users’ experience with our product. We want our customers to discover the usefulness of the revision system but since our user controls for managing, viewing, and working with revisions are still under development - we don’t feel that our users should be frustrated and confused as we go through the process of perfecting them.
What’s your point of difference from other products like DropBox?
Vandenbos: The main difference between CX.com and say DropBox, or other competitors, is that it is the only cloud company offering free groups with the potential to add up to 1 million participants per group, a collaboration and real time notification suite and 10 gigabytes of free, secure storage. In addition, it is built on a security platform and takes security of files very seriously. CX also does not charge multiple storage fees when files are shared with others.
The application works on a computer, your iPad, your iPhone, Android or the web, and enables people to use their favorite application by allowing them to save content on their device, make revisions and publish to the cloud automatically distributing their revisions to all group members regardless of what device they are using.
Will it stop enterprises from outsourcing data storage abroad?
Vandenbos: I’m not sure that it will. We have a lot more users in APAC and EMEA than we do in the US for instance. South Korea and Singapore were particularly frequent users in our early days for instance. Having said that, we are finding that channel partners are experiencing more interest in the product and would like to be able to extract data from the cloud more efficiently domestically if it was available, which puts us in a good place. Fundamentally security and privacy concerns will always shroud the cloud with concerns before enterprises really embrace it en-masse but as we continue to change the build basis of our product, we are seeing more interest from firms that really want to be able to virtually access storage quickly, securely and safely.
Have you priced your enterprise plans to compete with outsourcing costs?
Vandenbos: We believe that products like ours can easily fit into the enterprise set-up because it fits in ideally with the ways that employees work these days and can help out network administrators with easily organising business collateral. So long as companies apply the relevant user privileges, such systems can help to ensure administration is resolved with ease and security. It would be up to the company if they felt they still needed to outsource such duties, but we’d certainly consider ourselves to be a cost-efficient offering and will be working very closely with all our channel partners to spread that message across as much of the enterprise marketplace as possible.
With the explosion in consumer cloud storage options, do you think SME take-up will be boosted?
Vandenbos: I think Microsoft and Apple really targeting their users with cloud services and building up consumer profiles is raising the awareness of the cloud and helping to build momentum, alongside the prospect of Government 2.0. It’s seen as much more of an empowerment tool now, but fear is much bigger on an enterprise level. For us, we’re really emphasising our security credentials with various promises to try and help businesses get involved in this futureproof scheme. Concepts like SharePoint and iCloud show the way is open. The cost savings, speed and cultural gains to be earned from this are on the horizon for the cloud, but there may still be just a little bit more reassurances needed before enterprises embrace it en-masse.