Cohesity Partners With Microsoft And Announces Vision For AI

By Patrick Moorhead - April 27, 2023

The last time I wrote about Sanjay Poonen, he had just completed 90 days as CEO and president of Cohesity. Since then, Poonen and his team have been innovating and announcing ecosystem deals, including a seminal agreement with IBM in March.

My latest discussion with Poonen focused on an expanded relationship with Microsoft. A significant part of Poonen's focus and vision for Cohesity since he took over as CEO has been to advance innovation in security, cloud and AI. What came out of my analysis of the launch with Microsoft is that Cohesity is making strides in these areas with compelling innovations.

Cohesity. COHESITY

Cohesity – a multi-cloud data security and management platform

For those who may not be familiar, Cohesity has a robust data security and management platform, which is a testament to the genius of the company’s founder, Mohit Aron. The approach taken by Cohesity follows in the footsteps of hyperscale software giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, all of which manage exabytes of consumer data efficiently at scale. Cohesity has applied the same hyperscale architectural principles to managing enterprise data.

Based on a single platform, the company's architectural approach has three major components: a distributed file system to store data across locations, a single logical control plane; and the APIs to run and expose services and applications on the platform.

The single multi-cloud platform consolidates data across the data center, edge and cloud. On top of that platform, Cohesity offers various data security and management functions such as backup and recovery, security and compliance, disaster recovery, long-term archival, file and object services, test data management, and analytics. All data management functions are run and managed in the same software environment at scale—in the public cloud, on-prem or at the edge, easily managed via a single pane of glass and a management control plane called Helios.

Cohesity and Microsoft integration

The expanded relationship between Cohesity and Microsoft includes critical software integrations that can play a crucial role in helping IT and SecOps leaders defend against cyber threats.

On the security side, integrating Cohesity’s DataProtect solution for backup and recovery and Microsoft’s Sentinel cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) platform will benefit joint customers by providing access to AI-based anomaly detection for incident reporting and ransomware alerts.

Cohesity provides seamless integration with Azure Active Directory and multi-factor authentication to safely and securely manage and access the Cohesity Data Cloud and Cohesity Cloud Services.

Additionally, customers can get actionable data intelligence for discovery, privacy, security and governance across the Microsoft environment with Cohesity data classification powered by BigID. BigID has an integration with Microsoft Purview that can benefit joint customers.

On the cloud side, due to strong customer demand, Cohesity is extending its popular Cohesity Cloud Services to Azure. With this, customers can utilize Cohesity's SaaS offerings on various public clouds, with the option now of having those offerings hosted on the Azure data plane. This further empowers customers to protect and secure data across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Within Cohesity Cloud Services, Cohesity’s DataProtect backup as a service (BaaS) offering now supports Microsoft 365, which enables SaaS, cloud-native and on-premises data backup to a data plane hosted on Azure.

Additionally, Cohesity will offer FortKnox on Azure. FortKnox is a cyber vaulting-as-a-service offering that provides an operationally air-gapped data recovery vault, which can also provide another layer of protection with predictable data recovery - critical in an era of ongoing cyber attacks. Expect the general availability of FortKnox on Azure in the coming months.

Transforming data security and management using AI and ML

IT operations teams need help identifying threats, assessing the impact of attacks and, when necessary, taking remedial action fast.

Cohesity is helping customers get more insights from data by integrating Cohesity's AI-ready, heavily indexed, fully-hydrated, cached, and easily-searchable data structure with Azure OpenAI.

While not productized yet, the opportunities here are endless. A live demo shows just how powerful and insightful this integration could be in identifying, for example, potential attack vectors or getting real-time feedback on how to take action in the event of a company breach. In the event of a breach, for example, integration between Cohesity and Azure OpenAI could easily allow customers to search massive data volumes (without moving that data off-premises), ask natural questions, and receive actionable responses about how to handle a potential threat.

The demo also shows how this powerful AI technology could be used in areas like eDiscovery, rapidly searching petabytes of indexed data for relevant files via a simple query with relevant responses versus sifting through mounds of tapes or enduring other time-consuming processes. The data powering these queries are secured through fine-grained Role Based Access Control, helping to ensure the data is only available to those with the authorization to leverage it.

Wrapping up

On March 28, 2023, Microsoft launched Microsoft Security Copilot, a tool to quickly detect and respond to threats and better understand the threat landscape overall. Security Copilot brings the next generation of AI to cybersecurity through an easy-to-use assistant. The Microsoft announcement did not include information about partners, but the message does align with the recently expanded partnership with Cohesity.

Both companies are using AI to assist customers in detecting anomalies faster by rapidly analyzing vast volumes of data. Cohesity has announced that it will work with OpenAI using its AI-ready data structure to advance generative AI initiatives around threat detection, classification and anomaly detection. Meanwhile, the expanded collaboration with Microsoft detailed above will make it easy for joint customers and ecosystem partners to access Cohesity’s SaaS platform on AWS and Azure.

In hybrid and multi-cloud environments, the customer no longer has a data center perimeter to protect. The attack surface has increased significantly in a multi-cloud world, and data security and protection have become substantially more complex.

Cohesity gets full marks for supporting customers on-premises or across multiple cloud providers. Integrating with Microsoft Azure is another step in the right direction for the company. And with new advances in AI-driven security, Cohesity and Microsoft will hopefully stay a step ahead of cybercriminals.

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.