While enterprise applications have moved to the cloud, what stops document management applications following suit. In today’s world Data Leak Protection has become a crucial piece of technology every enterprise is looking at. There are sophisticated DLP technologies available today in the market. This story is not about them.
Here is a Bangalore-based company, Pawaa Technologies, which has moved past simple DLP mandate and has come up with its own secure File System (identified by the dot paw extension). Pawaa’s file encryption technology is delivered in SaaS model which makes encryption easy. For companies used to app-based solutions where a few minimal configurations will have them start off, Pawaa’s file encryption looks like an answer.
I played around with their free client which is available only for Windows now. It is pretty nifty. It is much easier than using the native Windows 7 (my OS) encrypter and sharing the file.
If you are a Gmail user, using Pawaa is fun. It uses your Gmail user-id and password to authenticate your credentials and allows access to you. The person sharing the document with you can control what you do with the document. An expiry date can also be set after which the document can no longer be opened.
Pawaa integrated their software with Gmail to showcase the ease of use. Now, Gmail should be interested in this.
Why does this become important? One is the business case where information security can be implemented by enterprises with better control. There is another aspect to which my attention was drawn. It is the story of its evolution and how it came about.
We begin with a typical story of the founder going to US for studies, working and starting off there. Narrating the story is Prakash Baskaran, Founder and CEO of Pawaa Software:
I Went to US to do my M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Akron. I worked in AT&T, Lucent, IBM and Duke University.
Prakash joined Xcelerate, a technology consulting for B-B start-ups. That’s where he broke into technology business consulting.
My role in Xcelerate was as Director of Marketplace technologies. The role involved working with start-ups in the B2B space, identifying right transaction model for them, selecting the right off-the-shelf product for them, else [architecturing] a custom solution.
The transaction models typically included commerce sites, auction or reverse auction sites and negotiated transaction platforms. Most of these involved not just technology implementations but accompanying processes to handle transactions optimally.
The excitement of dealing with small companies gave Prakash the heart to do an own enterprise.
I started my own company doing similar things. Got an MBA from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. I also did a small healthcare lab by the side. I found this niche called sleep labs. I had a few friends in Dallas. People came in to sleep where we would measure their snoring habits.
In 2003, Prakash came back to India in search of opportunities in his motherland.
I Came back to India and started something on HR. Just like Pawaa, the startup was defining standards for HR and CRM space.
What set him on the road to profits was the emerging VoIP market which did not have any standards in India.
I found opportunity in the voice over IP. We got license for Karnataka. It was profits from day one. Towards 2007, the difference between others and my business vanished.
Not many people can recognize when the tide is changing.
By then Data Leak Prevention was coming into the limelight. We started with DLP and it was getting nowhere. We decided to get into content level. So Pawaa started as DLP company, quickly realized that DLP didn't have wide applications and we focused on carrying security and encryption to the document/file levels in 2008.
You can see this continuous self evaluation and a ready willingness to correct and change course.
We started automating the key generations [for encryption at the OS level]. En-route we got into encrypted file format. We have a huge application on the cloud. The traditional key management requires compiling every time and requires a suite of sophisticated workflow. With Pawaa you can totally automate this.
So how do you get things moving? Prakash looked around and saw that most of his clients were also on Gmail. That was the answer.
To prove a point we went and integrated Pawaa with Gmail. Now you can attach and control your document, recall it, lock it, etc. We are now looking at the banking sector. We are getting into the SAS model.
Pawaa is active in India and MEA markets. Prakash says that its a pleasure doing business in Africa which is seeing some of the best tech innovations in the banking and finance sectors. And their appetite for security technology is legendary.
We have seen very few product/SAS companies from India make it big. Will Pawaa break the glass ceiling? Let’s keep a watch on this company.
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