SAN FRANCISCO — Alphabet’s Chronicle launched its long-awaited security platform called Backstory today at an event leading up to the annual RSA Conference.
“Backstory is a platform that we’ve built that allows companies of all sizes [to] forward their security-relevant telemetry,” said Stephen Gillett, CEO and co-founder of Chronicle, at a launch event in sister company Google’s San Francisco office. “We host that in a private cloud, private container, and then customers get their data in one place. They get an index, they get the data structured, they get it visualized, and they have the ability to interact with that.”
Chronicle was originally part of Alphabet’s secretive X research lab and then rolled out as an independent business in January 2018. Shortly after that VirusTotal, which Google acquired in 2012, became part of Chronicle. The service allows users to select a file from their computer and upload it to VirusTotal. It then checks it against a database of more than 70 antivirus engines and domain blacklisting services.
But ever since its launch about a year ago, Chronicle has teased a “Google-level” security platform that it was building. And at last year’s RSA Conference, Rick Caccia, chief marketing officer at Chronicle, said the security startup was working with a few dozen Fortune 500 companies to test the platform, which at that point still didn’t have a release date.
Well, the big day is finally here.
“Today as we launch Backstory, the important thing to realize is we’re in this for the long haul,” Gillett, said. “Backstory is the first of what will be many offerings and capabilities over time.”
Companies that trialed the platform range in size from 500 to 500,000 employees, Chronicle executives said.
“It’s the only solution available to store, index, and search unlimited security telemetry,” said Mike Wiacek, chief security officer and co-founder of Chronicle. “Our pricing is flat and it’s agnostic to data volumes, which makes it economically feasible for companies of all sizes.”
Chronicle also today announced a handful of Backstory’s early customers: German conglomerate Siemens, commercial vehicle manufacturer Paccar, utility infrastructure provider Quanta Services, and health insurance company Oscar Health.
“Security is expensive,” said Chuck Markarian, CISO of Paccar. “Chronicle breaks that mold and gives us the ability to capture massive amounts of data really quickly. It really can displace three, four, five, six of the products we have today and integrate that into one product.” Markarian didn’t say which vendors or what types of products Backstory would displace. And Gillett, when asked about this, wouldn’t answer.
The company also announced its initial technology partners, and it has two types. Index Partners are other security companies that have committed to integrate their products with Backstory. Endpoint security company Carbon Black is one of these Index Partners. Backstory correlates Carbon Black’s telemetry with data from other products.
The second type of partner, Insight Partners, embed their threat intelligence into the Backstory dashboard and analytics engine to offer insights about threats to any endpoint. Security companies Avast and Proofpoint are the inaugural Insight Partners.
Photo: Chronicle co-founder and CEO Stephen Gillett (far right) discusses Backstory with early customers.