MI&S Insider Podcast: Cohesity Hosts Industry’s Must-Attend Data Security and Management Event

By Patrick Moorhead - May 1, 2023

On this episode of the Moor Insights & Strategy Insider Podcast, host Patrick Moorhead is joined by Lynn Lucas, Chief Marketing Officer of Cohesity. Their conversation covers Cohesity Catalyst, the company’s must-attend data security and management event of the season.

Security, AI, hybrid cloud, and data protection will all be key focus areas. Today, data is everything, but it’s under attack with 19 ransomware attacks every second; it’s scattered everywhere, and it’s not being put to good use.

A three-day virtual event, Cohesity Catalyst takes place May 23-25 and includes an all-star list of visionaries, customers, and partners. These leading experts will tell and show thousands of attendees from around the world how to advance data security, think about AI in game-changing ways, thrive in a multi-cloud world, and get so much more from data.

Some of the event’s speakers include:

  • Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant
  • George Kurian, CEO of NetApp
  • Raghu Raghuram, CEO of VMware
  • Alan Davidson, CIO of Broadcom
  • Senior IT leaders and executives from Delta, Nationwide, IBM, NRG Energy, and AWS and many others

This is an event you won’t want to miss! Learn more and register here: https://www.cohesity.com/catalyst/

You can watch the full video here:

You can listen to the episode here:


Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorhead with Moor Insights and Strategy and we are here for another Moor Insights and Strategy Insider podcast. This week I’m on with Lynn Lucas, Chief Marketing Officer of Cohesity. Lynn, how are you?

Lynn Lucas: I am doing great this morning, Pat, and thank you for having me on the show.

Patrick Moorhead: Absolutely. We were talking a little bit of the green room about your background. I love your background. It looks very cool. I’ve been using this one that I’m using right now for about 900 episodes of the podcast and I don’t have background envy a lot, but yours is cool.

Lynn Lucas: Well, thank you very much. We all got pretty creative during the pandemic, so we each got a couple of different ones and maybe if I’m on the show another time, I’ll give you a view of the other one that I’ve got that I think is cool.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, we’d love to have you on again. So Cohesity is a company on the move, brand new CEO, revised positioning, a lot of partnerships that we’re seeing. I absolutely love it and Cohesity is a company right in the middle of data security and management and there is a lot of heat and light in that space quite frankly because we have nation state budgets for hackers. Anytime you see something as a service, you know something is hot and we literally go on the dark web hacking as a service. Here’s the data that we have, but they have not yet met Cohesity yet. A lot of customers have though, and that’s a good thing.

So you are coming into conference time. I joke as industry analysts, we’re professionals in some areas, but we are professional event attenders too, onsite, face-to-face, virtual events, everything. I probably do two to three events a week and Cohesity has their event, premier event called Cohesity Catalyst, May 23rd to the 25th. And I’ve seen the agenda, I’ve seen the speakers you’ve lined up for the event and I think people who are in the data management space would be crazy not to attend and I’m sure you agree with that. Maybe you don’t, but it’s okay for you to tell me if you don’t. But hey, can you talk about Cohesity Catalyst and talk about why the importance of it to the industry, to your customers and also very, very timely?

Lynn Lucas: Oh, absolutely Pat, and thank you. The industry is in really dire need of a conference that brings both data security and data management together because what we’re seeing, and you’ve brought this up with the nation state attackers and as well as insider threats. There’s just a huge range of threats that today’s organizations face. The stat is 19 ransomware attacks on average every second. You need to bring these two worlds together and then we complicate that with the fact that organizations are hybrid cloud, they’re multi-cloud. So how does an organization excel in data security, data protection in a hybrid multi-cloud world? And now you have AI coming into this mix, which is so exciting, but also is probably going to bring some of its own challenges.

So over two days, the team has been working tirelessly to get the industry luminaries that can help educate and explain what’s going on and where are these trends going? We have two amazing keynotes. We have more than 20 breakout sessions and we are going to be highlighting the latest technologies that can help businesses address all of these challenges, win this war against ransomware and really start to think about how can I bring AI and ML in new ways to my business? It’s going to be a fantastic educational set of sessions and we do hope that both executives and the practitioners attend because we think everyone can get something out of this.

Patrick Moorhead: I checked out your agenda and you really do have some heavy hitters attending. First off, Jen Easterly, Director of CISA, which is short for Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant. And first of all, as I said in the run-up here, one of the hallmarks of your fearless leader, Sanjay Poonen, is about partnerships. And you’ve been building out a tremendous ecosystem, big names, important names, security partners that I think strategically has you leapfrogging a lot of the competition. Are we going to hear more about that ecosystem at Catalyst?

Lynn Lucas: Absolutely, and thank you for bringing that up. Six months ago with Sanjay’s leadership, we were the first to announce this Data Security Alliance. And just to say a word about that, that is Mandiant, it’s CrowdStrike, Tenable, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk, BigID and many others because our philosophy, unlike others in the industry is that we believe it takes a village to defeat the threats that are out there today. This is a team sport and so we absolutely believe that Cohesity combined with the Data Security Alliance, there is no better team that you want to have on your side and we can help together solve some of these cyber threats.

So we are absolutely going to be discussing what we’re doing and there will be some new announcements coming from us with some of our partners. So we’re going to want folks to tune in and definitely don’t want to miss the keynotes and the insights with Sanjay and Kevin Mandia and Jen Easterly, as you said, two of the industry’s premier cybersecurity experts. I don’t think we’ve seen in our industry a conference that has this kind of caliber of cybersecurity expertise on day one.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I’m looking forward to all that. And in particular, the progress that you have been making with your ecosystem. And it really does take a village in security. There’s East to West, you have to look at, there’s North, South, and I really like the idea of sharing data and it might seem simple, but you do have some people who want to hoard the data, not share because they want to win it all. And the reality is there are no winner-take-all markets out there and it takes people getting along and in alignment I think to properly secure countries and enterprises. A little bit editorial I threw out there, hope you don’t mind, but that’s where my head is on this.

Lynn Lucas: You’re absolutely right, and I’d just add to that editorially, working with some of the largest financial services organizations in the world, Cohesity has the great honor to serve eight of the top 20 US banks. They work very closely sharing, as you said, information with each other and with the federal government organizations like CISA because this is not an area where you want to go it alone.

Patrick Moorhead: Definitely. And again, speaking of partnerships, I watched your recent announcement with Microsoft and I thought that was really awesome and so was the IBM one. For Azure, I was really intrigued that you also mapped out your vision for AI and I got to see one of the demos and it was pretty awesome. Even I got it, okay? And I’m not sitting at the end of a security CLI. It was something that I understood and I consider that a win. And it was essentially how Cohesity was integrating with Azure’s OpenAI service, really groundbreaking stuff.

Can we expect to hear more about that strategic alignment or more about Cohesity and AI at Catalyst? Because I know everybody wants to know about it and quite frankly, it’s not just because it’s the meme, but because if the bad guys are using AI, your customers I think would want to know how Cohesity is using AI to thwart the bad guys.

Lynn Lucas: Yeah, absolutely. And on that theme there, I’ll say that one of the points that Charlie Bell in his conversation with Sanjay made is that AI has the opportunity to tip the balance back in the favor of the IT organization. Right now, they really are outnumbered. I have a customer who’s going to be speaking at Catalyst, Fortune Brand and he talks about how right now he feels like his daily job is he’s got one arm behind his back, he’s got one hand on the steering wheel, he’s driving uphill on an icy road at night with the snow coming down and he is got to get from point A to point B and survive. And that’s-

Patrick Moorhead: By the way, I’m envisioning that and it’s not a good scenario.

Lynn Lucas: Right. And so I think many, many IT leaders as I speak to them, feel that way. They don’t know when the threat’s going to happen, they don’t know who it is. They’ve got so many potential people coming after them, and AI really has the opportunity to shift that balance back in the favor of the good guys, us, those that are trying to protect our data, our customer’s data, our employee data. So Cohesity’s been using ML and AI techniques for quite some time in our platform. Our leader, Mohit Aaron, the founder of the company, the Chief Technical and Product Officer now, he built that in very early to give customers data and information about the platform operationally.

Now, as you said, with what we demonstrated with Microsoft, we can take that even farther with these new models, RAG as the acronym I’m learning, and what we are doing is only scratching the surface. So you’re really going to want to tune in because I can promise that we’ll have some new innovations that we’re going to be highlighting to show, “Hey, in the event of the breach, what more could AI do for me?” Or beyond that, most customers are still struggling with, “What do I have in all this data? Could I be using it in a better way to serve my organization?” And I think you’ll see some new innovations there too.

Patrick Moorhead: Machine learning and security was one thing, but generative AI and security takes it to a completely different level. And in every one of these public cries of, “Hey, let’s put the brakes or let’s slow this thing down,” a lot of it comes down to security, which is if companies aren’t ready with hardcore AI solutions, there may not be a way to slow this down. And then in parallel, there’s Quantum Safe. There’s just all of these things that customers need to think through. So I’m glad you’re going to roll, talk about this more, talk about what you’re doing, talk about what’s on the roadmap.

Lynn Lucas: Yeah, and if I add one more comment, I think Cohesity was the first to demonstrate this RAG on our platform. The other thing that folks should know is that our platform was uniquely designed by Mohit to be ready for this technology. We’re going to dive deeper into why that is and how we keep it safe because you just touched on it again, security. And there is always the need to design security in. We say it’s built in, not bolted on, especially as we add these AI capabilities. So that will all be part of our session at Catalyst.

Patrick Moorhead: Can’t wait. Hey, let’s pivot to which is one of my favorite topics to talk about, and that’s the hybrid multi-cloud. 10 years ago, this was a couple of years after I started my firm, I was very clear the future is hybrid. The future is we will be using multiple clouds. Some of them will be public, some of them will be on-prem, and you need to even contemplate it on the edge. And I’m not right with everything as an analyst, but I feel like I get the important stuff right, but the future clearly is hybrid multi-cloud. I talk to an enterprise, potentially one of your customers at least weekly, and I have yet for any of them to say, “We only have one IS provider.” It just doesn’t happen. Everybody has multiple IS providers and of course, if you’re a business that’s over 10 years old, you likely have infrastructure that’s on-prem as well.

So Cohesity’s all in on multi-cloud and giving customers choice, but you’re really taking this to a new level. You have strategic relationships with AWS and Amazon has even invested in your company, which is cool. And you’re extending this relationship with Azure, which we talked about, to really new levels with AI, and you have a relationship with Google. You’re also great in the private cloud, right? In the spirit of hybrid multi-cloud, can you give us a sneak peek as to what we might hear about with respect to the cloud? And if you want to let all your announcements loose here on the show, go right ahead?

Lynn Lucas: Well, I don’t think I can quite do that because my PR lead would probably frown upon that and I want folks to tune in, but you hit the nail on the head here, Patrick. From the very beginning, Cohesity has had a platform that spans this world of on-prem and cloud, and not just one cloud as you said, but multi-cloud. There’s been multiple studies. Most organizations have six, seven different types of cloud services minimum that they’re using. And especially for the large enterprise, they’re going to stay in this hybrid cloud world because they’ve got some things that make more sense to stay in their own data center. While some absolutely are moving or have already moved to the cloud. They want choice. They want choice in terms of not just today, what do I have in on-prem or the cloud? But as my business changes, I want that flexibility.

And that’s one of the unique things that Cohesity’s architecture and platform has always been able to do, is give customers that seamless ability to manage their data and really abstract where is it? And it doesn’t really matter. Now you mentioned this, we have AWS, Google, Azure, we have been multi-cloud from the very early days, and you are going to see two of the world’s biggest private cloud CEOs on stage, day two. I don’t think this has ever happened. So the CEO of VMware, Raghu, and the CEO of NetApp, George Kurian.

So our mission is to ensure that we have the best ecosystem, private cloud, public cloud, multi-cloud. Wherever customers are, Cohesity will be, and we’ll be making some exciting announcements. Again, I can’t say what those are with some of those companies on day two, so we’re going to want folks to tune in.

Patrick Moorhead: You told me all I need to know, but I want to know the details. So I’m definitely going to tune in. That’s going to be a fun stage video. I can’t wait to watch that for a lot of reasons. So you have some of the biggest end customer brands at Catalyst that you’re going to bring on. I saw Delta, Nationwide. We talked about an alliance that you have with IBM, VMware, Broadcom, NetApp, and the list goes on, and real All-Stars in their respective categories. Why do you think they’ve chosen to speak at this conference? And listen, I used to have a real job for 20 years where I had to get people on my stage and the level of those people and the amount of time and what they say is a good indication of how they view your company strategically as well, but will there be some sort of a common thread between all of these big brands?

Lynn Lucas: Well, I think, and thank you, I as the marketing leader, I always feel that customer voice is the most important thing that I can bring out to the rest of the market because that speaks volumes about the trust and the confidence that organizations have in Cohesity. And as you noted, these Fortune 100, Fortune 500 brands, that is not a common occurrence. And I think the common theme really is these organizations have seen what Cohesity is doing to shake up, to really disrupt the legacy data protection, data management and they like it. They like our simplicity, security, and scalability and that we’re rewriting the old playbook. This part of the industry is the last to be disrupted when you think about the IT stack over the course of the last 10 years and companies that have come in and really changed the game and disrupted, and that’s what Cohesity’s been doing for the last five, seven years.

So one of these common threads is that we also are bringing them consolidation, automation, simplicity, and that is huge as we’ve seen the ransomware threat, as you said, you brought up earlier in the show, come on board. These organizations can’t afford to have all of these siloed products, which increases their attack surface just because of all the different places that someone could get in. Not to mention many of the legacy products were designed prior to today’s really advanced cyber threats. So I think that’s the theme you’re going to hear, that they are getting tremendous return on investment in terms of simplifying, keeping their organization safer, and then enabling with our platform this future, maybe involving AI to help them get more out of their data.

Patrick Moorhead: Like I said at the top, this area of data management and security, there’s so much heat and light here for obvious reasons. I think we got to a point where, and every market goes through this, where you have, “Best in breed,” that IT has to stitch together to create a solution. And then what happens is it takes so much time to do the integration that you’re three or four revs behind of what the current code is. So you’re really not more secure, and it’s certainly not best in breed. And secondly, that integration many times creates its own security hole that people can get through. And that’s why you see a lot of companies trying to simplify the way that they do this.

And right now, their options are a bunch of point products that they can stitch together, some that only support on-prem, some only support the public cloud. But I think you really have a unique place where you support the hybrid multi-cloud and it’s not just a point product, you’re securing it multiple ways.

Lynn Lucas: And we’re bringing that ecosystem back in.

Patrick Moorhead: Right. To get the scale.

Lynn Lucas: It’s a common thread. You think again about some of the leaders in the Data Security Alliance at Palo Alto, at CrowdStrike, at Tenable. These are the world-class solutions that these same organizations have. They want the solutions to work together to bring their data security strategy together with the rest of their security strategy and have it work seamlessly, and that’s what we’re doing.

Patrick Moorhead:

I’ll be honest, when Sanjay laid out the ecosystem and the data sharing alliance, I was surprised, but I was surprised, but I wasn’t because it’s classic Sanjay working his trusted individual, but it’s hard to get competitors on the same page. And again, there’s a lot of security real estate North to South and then East to West, but it’s still hard to get those companies on board and quickly. So hats off to the company.

Lynn Lucas: And I think that, again, a real credit to Sanjay with his relationships and also coming back to though that the industry coming together, because although some of them maybe compete in some areas, the bigger mission is let’s protect really our way of life in some cases and defeat these awful criminals that are coming after our personal data, our healthcare data, really our livelihoods, our infrastructure. That is a big, big mission that we can all get behind.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, thanks Lynn for reeling me back in on that why we really are here, and you are exactly right. Wars are still fought by big iron, but they’re increasingly being fought electronically through cybersecurity. I wanted to end this amazing conversation. I could sit on here for hours and chit-chat with you, but I’m going to give you the last chance to spill all the news. I’m just kidding. I’m an industry analyst, not a news organization, but I think it’s funny. But no, can you talk maybe directionally about the type of announcements that you’re going to be making next week? You alluded to some with some of your hybrid cloud partners. You did talk about, “We’re going to talk more about our AI vision and the reality of what we’re doing there?”

Lynn Lucas: Yeah. Well, I know that everyone would like to know ahead of time, but I’m really going to ask folks to tune in. I promise they’re going to see amazing speakers like have never been gathered before we’ve talked about. But what I would say is that you’ve seen Cohesity really innovate in this industry, and we are going to take that even farther forward. We’ve been moving so fast in the last six, eight months, and the themes are going to be the same because the challenges still remain. How do we continue to advance data security in a multi-cloud world and how do we bring AI to bear with that?

So that’s what folks are going to hear on two great days of keynotes and fantastic deep dive breakout sessions for those that are really operating and using and deploying the solution. And we’re going to hear from these big brands, we’re going to hear from our data security partners, our ecosystem partners. It’s going to be very informative and folks are going to be able to leave and the following Monday, really put some new learnings and things into practice in their own organizations. So we’re really looking forward to it and hope to have all of your viewers and yourself be there and stay tuned for those announcements.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it as well. And again, I think I’m galvanized right now that if you’re any way involved in data security or data management, you’d be crazy not to attend this event. Not only for what Cohesity brings to the table, but also for your partners and your customers that are going to get up on stage and talk about what they’re doing and the way that they’re approaching security, if nothing else, getting some best practices out of this. So thanks for coming on, and Lynn, we hope to have you on again.

Lynn Lucas: Well, thanks Pat. I really enjoyed it and yep, I would love to talk to you again and hope to be back on the program.

Patrick Moorhead: Thanks again. Good luck with the show.

Lynn Lucas: Thank you.

Patrick Moorhead: This is Pat Moorhead with Moorhead Insights and Strategy, signing out for another Insider podcast where we have the most important executives from the most relevant companies in the industry. Check out Cohesity Catalyst, May 23rd to the 25th. We will be tuning in. We’ll have Bells on as well, and we’ll also have some post-event coverage as well. So thanks for tuning in. Hit that subscribe button if you’re not already a subscriber. Have a good morning, afternoon, evening, wherever you are on the planet. Thanks for tuning in.

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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.