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krisFrom day one at Egnyte, and even before that at Valdero, I’ve been focused on operations. My responsibility was making sure everything ‘egnyte.com’ worked, and worked well. In that role, I’ve seen our concentration expand well beyond storage — an evolution spurred by changing market forces.

While we don’t think of ourselves as a storage company, the fact is we store petabytes of data made up of billions of files. My sphere of influence is building the actual infrastructure, and in order to do my job, I’ve had to understand how it impacts others.

We place a premium on remaining largely independent from external providers or solutions. The analogy here is occupying a castle with a moat and guards. You would sleep more soundly at night if you were the one who built the moat and trained the guards, as opposed to paying someone else for it and hoping for the best.

Our solution is built from the ground up for the enterprise. That’s core to our DNA. Our engineering philosophy has morphed to deal with random failures—because they always happen—and ensure we’re globally present.

Even before Safe Harbor, we realized we could help performance by physically parking data as close to users as possible. Well before it was in vogue to have global data centers, we were building them for our customers.

My principal concern was always controlling blast radius. When things go wrong, as they always do, the first step is containment. Who gets impacted? How do we keep that number as low as possible? That challenge has evolved with the times as well.

The migration of business to the cloud has changed how our customers think. Today, I sit in customer meetings and marvel that companies don’t just think in terms of information, but processes. They don’t just think about securely storing data, but consider how to securely ingest it.

Construction firms don’t just ask where to put their data anymore; they ask how a project manager onsite can access information stored in the cloud. Film studios don’t just want to protect their data; they want people shooting on location to be able to collaborate in real time with studio employees.

To truly serve the enterprise’s file storage needs, Egnyte’s thinking has evolved beyond individual files. We’ve learned to layer services on top of a proven content collaboration solution.

We have to think in terms of operations: how do you allocate resources? How do you help customers migrate workflows to the cloud, or develop new ones? What’s happening in the market? Which APIs and new integrations do we keep an eye on?

The world is much more complex than when we first began in 2007, as the public cloud wasn’t nearly as stable as it is today. The challenges are different, more nuanced… and all the more exhilarating to solve.

The title of this post is drawn from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, particularly his maxim “opportunities multiply when seized.” Because we’ve staked our claim expanding and building upon own solution, we have a level of autonomy that has proved beneficial to our customers’ specific workflows. Today, as the marketplace grows more and more crowded, I’m proud that Egnyte went its own way.