When serial entrepreneur Richard Chetwynd was running online training service Litmos, one of the most common questions he was asked about was backup.
It shouldn't really be a worry for users of software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, because vendors have "super-redundant everything", he said.
"You don't really have to worry about them losing data."
Despite that, after selling Litmos to CallidusCloud in 2011, Chetwynd's next business was a cloud backup service, mainly aimed at sole traders and freelancers.
That was because the backup offered by SaaS vendors was mainly designed to help themselves, he said, not to help their customers recover data lost through events such as accidental deletion or updates.
Built on AWS, Revert (Revert.io) versions cloud data and delivers one-click restore to users for common SaaS services such as Dropbox, MailChimp, Evernote, Tumblr, and Google Drive.
Along with that comes some powerful search capabilities and security, including encryption.
But Chetwynd is now eyeing a much bigger prize. Last week, the Auckland, New Zealand-based company raised NZ$1.2 million to fund its expansion into the cloud data security market targeting small and medium-sized business customers.
Chetwynd said that after building Revert, he realised there was a lot more to the platform than was needed for backup. Metadata collected could power a tool to help users be smarter about protecting their cloud data.
"They can detect things before they get out of control," he said.
Many SMEs are born in the cloud, stitching together a series of SaaS services to deliver capabilities that would be either unknown or too expensive to deploy in-house. Others are migrating from hosted software to SaaS.
These businesses often have a lot of SaaS tools, but no control over their data, Chetwynd said.
Revert now plans to deliver tools to allow proactive monitoring and audit of cloud data to reveal unusual patterns of access, deletion, or sharing, as well as other anomalies.
"We can see when someone is accessing cloud-based data, and identify the theft or sharing of confidential information, among other things," Chetwynd said.
"Being able to see that kind of activity and respond before it becomes a problem is a new frontier for data security, and Revert will be at the forefront of that movement."
There is fierce competition in the cloud data security market at the enterprise end, but not much at the SME level, he said, with Addalom being one possible exception.
"We are trying to do something that's pretty new," he said.
Revert is still in its infancy, but already has nearly 6,000 customers and a sizeable footprint of two dozen AWS servers managing over 100TB of data. It uses search from Elastic as part of its service, alongside a lot of tools it has developed in-house.
In the meantime, Revert is getting close to launching backup tools for more SaaS applications, with support for Salesforce and Box looming. All up, Chetwynd said, Revert should support 20 to 30 SaaS tools by the end of the year.
Revert's second-round capital raising was led by Punakaiki Fund, which was joined by other technology sector investors, existing investors, and Chetwynd himself.