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IDrive cloud storage interview: growth, COVID-19 and new ventures

IDrive cloud storage's logo
(Image credit: IDrive)

IDrive cloud storage has been a long-time favorite of ours, receiving 4.5 stars in our IDrive review. It offers generous storage tiers, affordable rates, and an intuitive user interface, which is why we’ve included it in our list of the best cloud storage services available today. 

We reached out to CEO Raghu Kulkarni to give us some insight into the world of cloud storage from an industry leader. This interview covers some of IDrive’s most important recent successes and challenges, and we also talk about the impact of COVID-19 on the online storage industry; IDrive’s new cloud computing platform; and what it’s like standing tête-à-tête with giants like Microsoft and Amazon.

Can you give us a brief overview of the company and what it does?

IDrive is a leading cloud backup and remote access services provider for consumers and small- to medium-sized businesses. We have more than four million users worldwide storing over 400PB of data, with data center footprints at over 200 locations.

What’s been your biggest success, and why?

Our biggest success at IDrive has been building a sustainable, profitable business that has become a leader within the cloud backup marketplace. We listen to our customers' feedback, and do our best to address those requests while continuing to innovate. 

The breadth of services we provide within the backup space, and the value we offer to our customers, is unmatched.

What have been the biggest challenges, and how did you tackle them?

The biggest challenge in the cloud is always the big players: Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.  It is not easy to out-innovate and out-value them. But with a razor-sharp focus on what consumers and businesses need in our specific segment, we have been able to innovate more, and offer better value, in comparison to the big players.

What impacts - both positive and negative - has the pandemic had on your business?

The biggest positive is the global move to working from home. This resulted in a multi-fold increase in remote access service needs, and the need for backing up critical data that is now residing on home computers and devices. 

The biggest negative is related. More people working from home has reduced the need for backing up office computers.

What new market challenges and opportunities have you seen emerge?

With more opportunities in the remote work space, more of the big players got into the space with bigger resources. So it is a race against time to meet the demands for consumers and businesses. 

There are software and infrastructure tweaks needed that fit the work-from-home system better. The hybrid workplace is here to stay. Remote work will be a key component for almost every business.

Are you taking advantage of the new world of blended and remote working? If so, how?

We continue to focus on our core products, IDrive and RemotePC, both key players in the remote work and hybrid workplace. We just recently launched ZipDrive, a personal cloud platform that uses the user's own computer for resources.

What are your aims for the future?

We want to continue to focus on our core products. In addition, we also aim to provide an edge computing platform for developers and businesses, with hundreds of locations across the globe able to serve the cutting edge applications that require low latency and high performance. 

This computing platform will leverage the work we are already doing for our remote access and backup services. We have just launched a phase one product for the same with 20 locations, called IDriveCompute.

How do you see the cloud storage sector changing in the next five to 10 years?

With the continued growth of consumer data from desktops, laptops, and of course, mobile devices, the need and demand for quality cloud backup will always be there, and IDrive will be there to help those customers. 

In terms of changes, we expect that with new technologies like 5G, consumers and businesses will have faster access to the cloud to upload photos/videos or critical data, which will further the growth of cloud storage.