What’s the big idea? A single platform for privacy, security and governance


(deepadesigns / Shutterstock)

Today’s businesses struggle to manage their vast data pools and minimize the risks they pose. Vendors are furiously building tools to help ease this pain. But the disconnected nature of developing point tools hurts efficiency as data becomes more distributed. Could a single platform approach meet this modern data challenge?

The answer is yes, according to Dmitiri Sirota, who co-founded BigID in 2016 and is the CEO of the company. While there are bigger names in the data management industry with more products and a longer history than BigID, Sirota believes his company has an architectural advantage.

“We’re kind of reinventing data management as a truly open and extensible platform, built on a common discovery foundation,” says Sirota. “It’s our bet.”

When BigID was founded, the plan was to create the industry’s most scalable data discovery engine and data catalog. This segment of the market was growing rapidly as businesses needed better tools to simply find where data was created and stored, whether in databases, file systems, data lakes or SaaS applications or on the site.

But when customers started saving metadata to the BigID database, the company found ways to expand the catalog with additional functionality. It added a classification engine to tell security professionals where sensitive data was. It added cluster analysis to show IT pros where duplicate data resides. Then addition of a graph correlation engine as a basis for access control.

BigID calls it the Four Cs Catalog, Classification, Cluster Analysis, and Correlation. The company has a different user audience in mind for each C.

Finding data in dispersed systems is the main technical challenge solved by BigID

“Cloud and infrastructure professionals want to know where do I have duplicate data, where do I have similar data? Cluster analysis answers that, ”he says. “Security wants to know where I have sensitive data? Classification responds to this. The governance folks want to understand, where do I have metadata, and the catalog answers it. Do people want to know where personal information is located? Correlation answers it.

This was the basic architecture that BigID had in place 18 months ago, this was the last time we inquired with Sirota. Since then, it has beefed up its data management line with a series of applications that allow governance, security, privacy and infrastructure professionals to query the system and obtain the data it needs. they need.

“So not only do we give you the cover, the in-depth discovery with the 4 Cs,” says Sirota. “But then from that kind of data insight, that data intelligence, we give you functionality on what you can do with it. “

So you want to manage data rights? There is an app for that, says Sirota. Do you want to manage privacy or preferences? There is an application for that. There are applications for security remediation, data transfers and sovereignty, data quality, and data retention application. In total, BigID offers nearly 20 applications for privacy, protection and perspective, in addition to its discovery base.

Sirota compares this diversity of data management capabilities to a smartphone with multiple purposes, which gives different perspectives on their subject. The data accessible by each of these applications remains the same, but the views differ depending on the user’s needs.

This trick can only be achieved through some centralization. BigID collects and tracks a lot of metadata (it also tracks actual data values ​​for some uses, such as providing a data profile). Users don’t need to take advantage of all the features that depend on this data and metadata tracking, but they can be activated when the user needs them.

Dimitri Sirota is the CEO and co-founder of BigID

“Each application is discreet. Each capacity around the four Cs is discrete, ”explains Sirota. “So you can start small. You could think big. It all depends entirely on you. But again, it’s part of our strategy… We don’t require everyone to buy everything.

BigID is not the only vendor to offer these features. Organizations can obtain them from other data management tool vendors, including some with market capitalizations that are orders of magnitude larger than BigIDs. But Sirota maintains that what her company does is fundamentally different from what the big guys in data management do.

“This whole idea of ​​reinventing data management as an open, extensible platform that has a common foundation is new,” he says. “Informatica doesn’t have it. IBM does not have it. Oracle does not have it. Nobody has it. Except for BigID, he says.

Starting from scratch with the 2016 tech gave BigID a big technical debt advantage that the company doesn’t have to bear, Sirota says. And by designing it with a microservices integration approach from the start, it helps make the product more scalable and able to integrate with partner products. For example, Alation and Collibra, recognized leaders in the field of data catalogs, are BigID partners.

“The reason they always want to partner with us is that our data discovery is second to none,” says Sirota. “So we can really help populate them. And while we do have some overlap, we really let our customers mix and match. We don’t require them to buy everything from us because we designed it using a modern microservices architecture.

The key architectural decision that continues to bear fruit today, according to Sirota, was to tackle one of the big technical challenges from the start. What sets BigID apart from all other products is the basis of data discovery, he says.

Data discovery is at the heart of Know Your Data (KYD) objectives (alphaspirit / Shutterstock)

“I think with most other companies they started a little higher up, more in the business process, because data discovery is difficult,” he says. “Looking everywhere, at scale, without copying data is a real challenge. But we started there, not because we’re hungry for punishment, but because we’re solving a privacy issue that demanded it, that required you to look everywhere.

Seventy percent of the effort in the discipline of data management is simply accessing and understanding the data, says Sirota. After that basic data discovery job is done, everything else is just visualizations and workflows, he says.

“By having a common layer that you can query and understand the data, the 4Cs, when we build MDM [master data management]….[it’s] just a layer of visualization workflow, ”he says. “On our quality offer, we are already profiling all the data everywhere. We are already identifying the data. So each of our applications becomes much simpler from that point of view, because the bulk of the work is really to understand your data, to know your data. “

The approach seems to find an echo, with customers and investors. BigID gets clients from a mix of clients, including large companies that have the toughest data management issues and need all the help they can get on the one hand, and tech companies from mid-size who want a better approach to tackling security, privacy and governance issues on the other hand.

In December 2020, BigID completed a Salesforce-led Series D funding round in the amount of $ 70 million. In April 2021, the company extended that cycle with an additional $ 30 million led by Advent Tech, bringing its total funding to $ 246.1 million. After the Series D expansion in April, the company was valued at $ 1.25 billion, according to reports.

BigID hopes to start attracting smaller customers with a few new offerings, including BigID.me, which is a SaaS-based, pay-only for privacy offering that helps manage cookies, consent, and related topics. He also launched SmallID, a SaaS offering focused on cataloging and classifying data for AWS. It also has a free tier for Small ID, which is new for BigID.

From Sirota’s perspective, BigID has a chance to do for data management what Splunk and Elastic did for log data. These companies have been able to pivot within their discipline and offer a compelling product line that addresses a range of use cases and users. Data management is arguably a larger field, with a wider range of needs and use cases, which makes it both more difficult but potentially more valuable.

It’s a compelling idea, however, and one that we could eventually see other vendors emulate.

Related articles:

A glimpse into the future of data management, courtesy of Gartner

BigID seeks to consolidate its position in data discovery

Self-service data management is essential for data engineers and their business

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