An Interview with Ron Gula and Eric Bednash, CEO and Co-founder of RackTop Systems

Gula Tech Adventures invested in RackTop Systems because they solve a very difficult problem — how to store lots of data, for a very long time and make sure it is secure and compliant. When organizations deploy RackTop, they have better security for their data and save money. As with many of our portfolio companies, I did an interview with their CEO and Co-founder, Eric Bednash.

What led you to found RackTop?

Up to the time that RackTop was founded, I spent a large part of my career building products and solutions to solve both complex data and compliance issues, but the two were not intermingled. My time in the DoD Intelligence community was all about solving complex data performance, movement, and management problems with extreme security measures, and conversely in the finance world it was about assuring that data was retained and protected for compliance purposes. Solving both challenges required either very large teams or highly skilled individuals. What inspired my co-founder Jonathan Halstuch and I to found RackTop was the desire to simplify solving these two challenges, coupled with the foresight that in the future nearly all enterprises would be forced to adhere to both extreme security and compliance rules.

How does integrating compliance and security into storage make data management easier for enterprise customers?

Solving IT challenges is always multi-faceted. If you just make something easy, but in the process the total solution becomes overly expensive, or creates new security issues, you are just shifting the burden. Our solution really addresses three things: security, complexity, and cost. The enterprise software world is pretty mature at this point, and there are a lot of tools to solve a lot of problems. But whenever you need to “bolt on” something to your data system it creates security, complexity, and cost issues. By embedding compliance and security directly into the storage system, we eliminate these issues.

How does RackTop address GDPR, HIPAA and other types of data compliance regulations?

Take any regulation — GDPR, HIPAA, NIST 800–171, etc. — while they all may differ in purpose, most follow a common framework of identifying rules by which companies must develop process around and apply technology to comply. We have embedded features which make it easy to answer compliance questions around data encryption, data protection, and reporting. With our solution, we can provide the technology answer to policy questions inherently, eliminating the need to investigate or implement additional tools.

What have been some of the RackTop success stories you can share about your customers?

It may be cliché, but we are passionate about solving our customer’s challenges through the use of our technology. Most of our customers are repeat buyers, which I believe is a direct result of our commitment to success after the sale. Even when things haven’t always gone right along the way, the story in the end is usually a successful one.

Some of the more notable success stories include enabling a customer to successfully complete a merger in a short timeframe, increasing the reliability and performance of software development shop to the point of enabling them to improve their product enough to corner the market, addressing compliance requirements enabling a large advertising firm to land a marquee customer, and facilitating the movie making process for a major motion picture.

Have any of them specifically deployed RackTop to help with the “Recovery” process of the NIST Cyber Security Framework?

Data protection is an inherent component of our solution. Just like your DVR from your cable company, we constantly “record” data as it is changed. Regardless of what shows you schedule to record, the DVR records all the live data just in case you want to rewind, and we do the same. This is important because while backup solutions have been around for decades, their effectiveness requires a skilled IT individual to ensure the software is configured and updated properly. Ask anyone who has been in IT long enough if they are confident in their backups and you will rarely get a straight answer, or better yet, ask them to recover some data and watch how fast the sweat beads up on their forehead. RackTop’s inherent data protection is “always on”, driven by policy, easily reportable, and effortless to recover.

When dealing with legacy storage technologies, do you have any recommended questions that auditors or incident responders can use to identify situations where RackTop’s solution can make a big difference in the security profile of an enterprise?

Legacy storage systems, and actually most storage systems outside of RackTop for that matter, are designed to be “dumb” utility devices — almost like a massive hard drive for the enterprise. Just like the hard drive in your computer, there isn’t much that drive alone is going to do for your security posture. Auditors should start by asking questions like what data exists, and where is it? Who has access today and who has had access of its lifetime? What is the cost associated with losing the data as a result of an incident? How is the data protected? How do you know when a compromised account is accessing data? What do you do to stop it?

The reality is to answer these questions with a legacy storage setup, you need to add multiple software packages into the solution which increases cost, complexity, which eventually reaches the point of reduced effectiveness. That’s why we embed our advanced security and compliance technologies directly into the storage system itself.

Where can readers go to learn more about RackTop?

Our website is www.racktopsystems.com, and there you will find some general info as well as links to videos and other rich content. I would suggest following us on Twitter (@racktop) & Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RackTop) as well to keep apprised of our webinars, events, and training sessions.

About RackTop Systems:

RackTop Systems is a leading provider of high-performance Software-Defined Storage embedded with advanced security, encryption and compliance that empowers both government and commercial organizations. With an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, RackTop’s flagship product, BrickStor, is an all-in-one data storage and management platform that protects sensitive data from cyberattacks while meeting internal and regulatory compliance requirements. Fully configurable and flexible to handle growing data needs, the platform enables enterprises to easily create shared, distributed storage resources — reducing cost and complexity, optimizing operations and improving security. Headquartered in Fulton, Maryland, RackTop was founded in 2010 by veterans of the U.S. intelligence community who have been solving the most complex data and security problems for more than two decades. RackTop’s technology has been deployed at numerous organizations in a variety of industries worldwide, including government/DoD/public sector, media/advertising and entertainment, financial services, healthcare, higher education and life sciences, among others. For more information, visit www.racktopsystems.com and follow on Twitter @RackTop.