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Cohesity's catalysts: AI, cyber resilience and partnerships

Cohesity adds new AI capabilities to its data platform to improve cyber resilience and data management, while touting partnerships and responsible AI.

The running thread throughout Cohesity's recent three-day conference was the value of AI for data management and security, the need for cyber resilience and the importance of strategic partnerships.

The Cohesity Catalyst online event included many sessions, speakers and big-name customers such as Nationwide, Delta Airlines and Broadcom. Strategic partners were also in attendance, including VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram; Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian; Denis Kennelly, general manager of IBM Storage; and Francessca Vasquez, vice president for technology and customer solutions at AWS.

Here's a rundown of the key announcements and what they mean.

Google Cloud AI partnership

Cohesity expanded its partnership with Google Cloud focused on generative AI and data. The combination of Cohesity 's data security and management capabilities and Google Cloud's Vertex AI will enable joint customers to gain new insights into the data they 're protecting or managing on the Cohesity Data Cloud platform. The joint integration is positioned around cyber resilience, as it enables customers to search exabytes of data to gain insights into data patterns in order to detect threats. However, this is only one salient use case, as the integration also enables users to dig deeper into the data to find answers to very specific questions or quickly recover data using contextual searches. The recoverability angle -- should I say recovery AI models? -- is something I expect Cohesity to be spending more time on, as the potential is immense.

Cohesity Turing

Complementary to the Google Cloud partnership, but maybe more critical strategically, is the introduction of Cohesity Turing, which combines multiple AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities and technologies that are integrated into the hybrid and multi-cloud Cohesity platform. The fundamental idea is to empower end users to use AI responsibly and securely. The company has identified four initial use cases around threat detection, data management and capacity planning.

Ransomware anomaly detection uses models and entropy detection to highlight anomalies in the data ingested into the Cohesity platform. This preventative approach is designed to identify hidden threats and provide some early warning. Cohesity Turing also provides threat Intelligence trained on millions of ML models to provide more accurate threat detection.

In the area of intelligent data management, the data classification feature identifies the most sensitive data and where it is located -- as long as it is under Cohesity management. One interesting use case that is not necessarily new in storage and data protection but can be enhanced significantly by AI is capacity planning. Given the costs of storage (wherever it lives), the ability to run simulations is critical from an operational and financial standpoint. All that data costs money to manage and store.

An interesting upcoming addition in Turing will be the ability to use off-the-shelf, trained language models and natural language processes to generate "human-like" responses in the Cohesity platform in a "private" way, meaning under customer control. Other vendors in a number of markets are already on a similar path.

Cohesity will use the retrieval-augmented generation model to help customers get deeper insights and discovery from data or quickly run searches in petabytes of data. This should make complex data searches or insight much easier for users who are not data scientists nor doctorates in the subject, and I believe it is a way to democratize advanced data analytics.

Cohesity clearly targets businesses and technology executives, suggesting that this is how they can fundamentally transform interactions with customers, partners and employees. I would normally say "time will tell" at this point and that it may take a while to see how this gets used, but it also feels like the timelines are being extremely compressed when it comes to taking advantage of AI, generative AI and associated technologies.

Data Security Alliance expansion

In the last few years, there has been a convergence of cybersecurity and backup and recovery fueled by ransomware, which is leading vendors to better collaborate and integrate. Cohesity continues to build on its ecosystem by adding new members to the Data Security Alliance, announced in November 2022, which, in my opinion, is a great initiative to foster broad cyber-resilience collaboration across the data spectrum.

Cybersecurity, data security and management, and services vendors really need partner to integrate and create processes and workflows to improve cyber resilience -- including better, faster threat detection, attack response and remediation -- for various parts of the NIST framework. That's why it's key to the market. No one can do this alone. And it's critical to connect and coordinate the various technology investments.

At the Catalyst event, Cohesity added new members to the alliance, including Netskope, ServiceNow and Zscaler. The company also announced new integrations with CrowdStrike and ServiceNow, plus an updated integration with Tenable. The alliance also includes BigID, Cisco, CyberArk, Mandiant, Okta, Palo Alto Networks, PwC, Qualys, Securonix and Splunk.

The alliance plays a role in the improvements to Cohesity DataHawk with new AI- and ML-driven capabilities for threat detection, data classification, user activity tracking and cyber vaulting. Of note are the new integrations with Qualys and BigID, as well as new security operations center integrations with CrowdStrike and ServiceNow.

Cohesity FortKnox, a managed multi-cloud cyber vault with data isolation and recovery of immutable copies of data, adds support for new workloads and storage tiers such as Azure VMs and AWS EC2 instances, among others. This service is maturing nicely and is an angular piece of the recoverability part of any sound ransomware preparedness effort. Many organizations are not using these types of technologies today, but this is changing, as our research on ransomware demonstrated: Forty-nine percent of organizations are interested in investing in or engaged in the process of planning for ransomware preparedness.

Putting it all together

It's evident that Cohesity is not resting on its laurels and is systematic in its execution of the strategy it laid out a few quarters ago.

While this time around the focus was placed on AI and cyber resilience, the company also has many cloud initiatives in flight and in support of the other two pillars of its strategy. There has been a lot of hype around AI recently, but Cohesity is taking a very clear and deliberate position in this area by clearly identifying the use cases it can support, putting in place key partnerships and combining the capabilities to further expand their support of a cyber-resilient infrastructure.

Like Informatica with its Claire GPT, Cohesity is looking at the use of natural language and generative AI models in ways that can accelerate data-driven decisions, improve processes and "de-risk" the business in particular when it intersects with other initiatives around cyber resilience. That's really what the power of AI combined with a fully protected data asset infrastructure is about.

Finally, the use of the term responsible AI in Cohesity's announcement is not innocuous. AI can be your friend and enable you to get much more out of your data assets than what you are getting today. But, like any powerful technology, it has to be used responsibly. I am wondering what competitors will be doing next, because I would be paying very close attention if I were them.

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