This is an exclusive interview conducted by Backup Review (here on referred as “BR”) with Sam Gutmann (here on referred as “SG”), President and CEO of Intronis.

BR: Please give us some background information about your company, such as how it was founded, by who, how long you have been around, where your headquarters are, how many branch offices you have etc.
SG: I founded Intronis Technologies in 2000, with my two partners, Steve Frank, vice president of software engineering; and Neal Bradbury, vice president of systems engineering. We all had prior experience in IT consulting, computer system and software design and network installation for small- and medium-sized businesses. From our experience consulting, we realized that our clients did not have an easy and reliable way to back up their data – which is the backbone of any SMB operation. After three years of research and development, software design and testing, we were able to launch the eSureIT online backup service in 2003. We’re currently based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey with twenty-five employees and are growing steadily.

BR: Is your customer base mainly in US or do you have substantial international presence as well?
SG: The majority of our customers are located in the U.S., however, we do have customers in Canada and abroad.

BR: How many employees do you have and how big is your R&D department?
SG: We currently have twenty-five employees; approximately half are involved in R&D and the other half work in customer service. We pride ourselves in putting equal weight in delivering both a quality product as well as a valuable customer service experience.

BR: What are your best selling products and services and why are they selling so well?
SG: Our online backup product is called eSureIT, and what really sets it apart is our vast feature set offerings and the total granularity users have over revision and retention settings. We offer the right mix of flexibility and pricing options that allow our product to scale from a single home-user to a large, diverse company. We’ve found that this to be especially appealing to the SMB market, as they can use us when they first start up as single, small office and we can grow with them as they expand to multiple offices.

BR: What makes your company and its services different from others?
SG: We’re old fashioned. I know, “old-fashioned” isn’t a term you’d normally associate with a high-tech company, but at Intronis, we truly pride ourselves on delivering good, old-fashioned customer service. I’m proud that Intronis continues to invest time and energy into giving our customers the best experience possible, especially since some companies can be notorious for letting customer service fall to the wayside in its rush to expand.

BR: One of the biggest concerns of online backup users is data security and privacy. How have you addressed these issues?
SG: Security is of paramount importance to us. All files are encrypted using a unique 256-bit AES encryption key that only the user knows. In addition, as this data is electronically transmitted to our facilities, the eSureIT software creates a 128-bit SSL connection to our servers.

We also practice what we preach—all the data we are backing up is not only housed in our primary facility in Parsippany, NJ, but it is mirrored to our second facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This gives us added protection in the event of a fire or natural disaster affecting one of our facilities.

BR: What kind of growth rate have you been experiencing? And what is your expected growth rate for the next few years?
SG: Since we started selling eSureIT in 2003, we’ve seen a phenomenal growth rate of over 100%, year over year. We expect to continue to grow the Company both in revenue and size this year.

BR: How has the online backup business evolved in the last few years, and how do you see it further evolving?
SG: It’s such an exciting time to now be in the online backup market, because not only is it growing exponentially, but we’re seeing widespread adoption of the practice. As businesses and consumers continue to accumulate more electronic data and broadband Internet has become the norm, online backup’s popularity has certainly grown. It’s also healthy to see the overall backup landscape going through waves of change and continuing to improve solutions.

BR: Whom do you consider your main competitors?
SG: We consider EVault and LiveVault to be our primary competitors.

BR: Large companies such as Microsoft and major telco’s have started offering online backup business. Do you fear them? How do you plan to compete against such formidable adversaries?
SG: It’s always interesting to see what the tech titans are up to, but we do not consider them to be formidable adversaries. We’ve seen large software companies add online backup as just another small feature that they can push to users. We believe that we have a more customizable and sophisticated approach. We’ve put nearly 10 years of R&D into eSureIT, and we’ve systematically continued to improve our product, adding advanced features and benefits that we’ve found our SMB customers are truly seeking out.

BR: There has been quite a bit of M&A activity in the industry lately (such as XDrive being acquired by AOL, Microsoft acquiring Foldershare and LiveVault by
Iron Mountain, and Evault by Seagate). What is your strategy? (being acquired, IPO, etc…)
SG: We are focused on running a profitable business that we’ll continue to grow ourselves. We have no plans to be acquired or file for an IPO.

BR: Are there any new products/services you are developing that will soon be available?
SG: We will be releasing version 3 of eSureIT in the middle of September. This new version has been in development for nearly 2 years, and it adds features such as our Inteliblox technology; very advanced revision/retention settings; Microsoft Exchange Message level backup; Command Line Interface; the ability to remotely manage the eSureIT software on multiple servers, and much more. It will also be compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

BR: What is your opinion about Google entering the online backup business? Do you feel that Google will dominate the market?
SG: Google’s business model is built on public information and search engine advertising, and it just doesn’t make sense for them to be involved in something related to privacy. Google offers another alternative to storing information, but currently leaves a lot to desire. It does not provide the full-suite of features that a traditional online backup software program can offer to a consumer or a business.

BR: What is your annual revenue?
SG: Our revenue is growing at a rate of about 100% year over year; however, since we are a private company, we do not disclose specific revenue numbers.

BR: How does your proprietary technology compare to the proprietary technology of main competitors?
SG: Our offering has more intuitive features and options. For example, we offer a much finer granularity of backups than what we’ve seen from the competition. While other online backup services only allow you to store the latest copy of a file, with eSureIT, you can keep an unlimited number of file revisions. This is crucial for companies that need to conform to compliance standards and other regulatory mandates.

BR: What is the most regrettable mistake that you or your company made in the past? How would you handle that mistake if you got a second chance?
SG: When we first started in online backup, it was a both an exhilarating and daunting experience. The Company almost immediately lifted off, which meant we needed to redouble our efforts to bring in resources and address infrastructure improvements to keep the operation running smoothly.

BR: In the future, say five years from now, do you think the cost of online backup will remain as today or will it go significantly cheaper (For example to backup a 1 GB file)?
SG: For business users, costs will remain fairly steady, given that new technologies is continually implemented into online backup offerings to enhance the user experience and meet the needs of customers.

BR: How many subscribers do you have? What is the amount of file you backed up in your servers?
SG: We do not provide this information publicly.

BR: What do you see as the greatest challenges facing your company today? And what are your biggest accomplishments so far?
SG: It’s more of a personal challenge – we’re constantly striving to stay on top of the latest trends and technology, making sure that we offer the most advanced solution in order to keep our customers’ data safe and their minds at ease. Our biggest accomplishment so far has been growing a profitable business from the very beginning. It’s been a thrill to cultivate the product, bring on new employees, and hear from customers about how we’ve helped their business.

BR: What are the key competing technologies and what are some of the advantages you offer over the competition?
SG: The eSureIT product offers enterprise class features to SMBs and home users in an easy to use and interface. Intronis’ greatest advantage is that we offer tailored revision and retention settings that no other vendor matches. Meaning, while other companies will backup only the most recently updated file, with eSureIT, you can have an unlimited number of revisions stored, therefore creating true “tape like” backup rotations. We also offer advanced scheduling settings, so you can execute backups weekly, daily, hourly, or even by-the-minute.

BR: Can you tell us about your servers? Where they are located, how many backups you perform, if server room is controlled for humidity, temperature and what kind of backup generation system you use?
SG: As I mentioned, we keep all customer data in not one, but two facilities located about 500 miles apart. Our primary facility is in Parsippany, NJ and the other facility is located in Toronto, Canada. Both locations have the controls and security precautions in place to make them top-tier data centers.

BR: Any other news about your company you care to share?
SG: Yes, we’ll be launching version 3 of eSureIT in the middle of September and will be sure the share the specifics around it then.

BR: Now we know about you, we want to ask you about us. As you know, BackupReview is the ONLY website providing information about online backup and storage, and that ranks the top 25 online backup companies on a monthly basis. We have close to 400 online backup companies listed in our directory. How can we improve BackupReview’s website?
SG: There are a lot of differences between the backup needs of a home-user versus a business owner. BackupReview does a great job covering all of the online backup optionsthere are out there, but it might be helpful to segment your rankings and reviews into “professional” and “consumer” services. That said, your site has always been a great place to go for the latest product and company news for the online backup industry.

Sam Gutmann is President and CEO of Intronis.

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