Snowden revelations spook Hightail’s cloud-computing customers


Hightail CEO Brad Garlinghouse at LeWeb 2013

PARIS — former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about governmental spying are gumming up the cloud computing industry.

That is the opinion of Brad Garlinghouse, chief government of Hightail, whose business is helping firms share and monitor documents and their employees to collaborate with the help of cloud-based storage. Doing trade now has new problems for customers excited by government snooping and protecting their data.

“The Snowden effect has extended the gross sales cycle for non-US corporations taking a look at doing business with US firms,” he said Wednesday in an interview on the LeWeb convention. “There are extra questions about information security, encryption, and [security] key administration.”


On top of that, the company has to update its expertise for better security, which is one purpose Hightail received from an organization called Adept Cloud that focuses on cloud security matters like encryption key administration. “An immense part of that was once because of what we were listening to from clients,” he mentioned. “Snowden has been a driver to choices we made.”

Garlinghouse rose to prominence with his “Peanut Butter Manifesto,” a 2006 critique of his employer on time, Yahoo. He took over YouSendIt in 2012 and renamed it Hightail in 2013 as the corporation repositioned it into greater than an internet storage carrier that made bulky email attachments extra convenient.

Hightail nonetheless competes with the likes of Dropbox, field, and Google Power; nevertheless, it emphasizes greater-degree services that corporations might need — getting an acknowledgment that a file was once obtained, as an instance, or with the intention that one employee’s exchange to a report does not overwrite every other’s, or protecting documents with passwords, or building in e-signature technology when sign-offs are required.

However, Garlinghouse mentioned Hightail is only midway through its transformation, and higher-stage services are doubtless within the company’s future,

One concept is healthier collaboration. Online tools like Microsoft’s Administrative Center 365 and Google Apps let multiple individuals work on the same cloud-based record; however, many people use old-school tactics of sending workplace information to at least one every other. It can be that latter type of labor that Hightail hopes to help.

“We have not gotten a shared, cloud-primarily based record that can be edited dynamically,” he said. “We’ve got stuff coming out within the first half of next year that we expect will help.”

Lately, email continues to be the material of collaboration. “So how can we permit that to make it more fluid and seamless? It’s a challenge,” he stated. “Version merging, monitoring particular person occasions, bringing them again into a synthesized document is the tricky section.”

He indicated that Hightail might draw on others’ know-how for the technology. “We are seeking to be very accomplice-pleasant,” he mentioned. Any other partnership is with Western Digital, the hard pressure maker that invested $34 million in Hightail in a deal introduced in November.

The businesses haven’t introduced what WD will get from the deal in addition to fairness. Still, Garlinghouse indicated that it might involve expanding past mere storage hardware into products and services. Hightail isn’t picky about pushing its model with companions that may want to provide its carrier’s branded model.

In the meantime, the funding must be the closing the company desires to lift. “We would like a transparent course to profitability. We’re building the trade with the expectation of not having to now not lift capital again in the capital market,” he mentioned.

So, how is the corporation doing? In the last 12 months, it had a revenue of $ fifty-seven million. Its losses have been within the single-digit thousands and thousands of dollars within the remaining two years. Garlinghouse expects profitability to arrive within two years, although he makes no guarantees.

Western Digital’s funding will mean the company can push a more expansionist agenda. “Having a flush bank account is useful and allows us to be extra aggressive,” Garlinghouse said. “We have had an extraordinarily modest go-to-market strategy compared to rivals. In a couple of increase initiatives, we will be more aggressive in 2014.”