Alphabet's Chronicle Launches Backstory Security Data Platform

RSA Conference 2019: Alphabet's Chronicle business unit launches a new platform to help organizations search, detect and identify potential security issues.

Chronicle CEO

SAN FRANCISCO - When Google's parent company Alphabet started Chronicle, one of the basic promises was to live up to the name and help organizations to 'chronicle' their cyber-security activities.

At an event alongside the RSA Conference 2019 here, Chronicle officially announced its Backstory service which enables enterprises to search though network security data rapidly to identify risks and attacks. Backstory is being positioned by Chronicle as a threat hunting platform that can find issues in different aspects of an enterprise network.

"It's the only platform that lets you search multiple petabytes of data in milliseconds," Mike Wiacek, chief security officer and co-founder, said during the event. "Backstory gives an enterprise security team unparalleled and instant access to their past, present and future security."

Chronicle was founded in January 2018 and Backstory represents the group's first new unique product. Chronicle is also home to VirusTotal, which Google acquired in 2012, and became part of Google's parent company Alphabet's Chronicle division as part of the January 2018 launch. Chronicle has been actively improving VirusTotal, announcing the VirusTotal Enterprise service in September 2018. Wiacek explained to eWEEK that VirusTotal and Backstory each fulfil different needs.

"VirusTotal is like a window into what's happening with malware and emerging threats," Wiacek said. "Backstory is a window into the enterprise."

Stephen Gillet, CEO and Co-founder fo Chronicle (pictured) added that Backstory provides additional data sets beyond what VirusTotal has access to. With Backstory he said that network and DNS telemetry is available to organizations among other sources of data.

"It's all the other things that your enterprise will care about it," Gillet said.

Gillet added that the name Chronicle itself is core to the mission of the company that Backstory will now help to fulfil.

"We actually got the name Chronicle because when we started to work customers, we ended up telling them stories about their security relevant data that in many cases they have never seen," Gillet said. 

Data Privacy

During the event, concerns were raised my members of the media about the potential for Google to snoop on the Chronicle's enterprise data. While Google and Chronicle are both part of Alphabet, Gillet emphasized that his company is not a division of Google and Google will not have access to Chronicle's Backstory customer data.

"Google people can't even badge into our buildings and we're a completely separate company from them and we don't share data back to Google," Gillet said.

Overall the really big push with Backstory is to make it easy for enterprise to search, discover and benefit from their own security data.

"There's a democratization of security capability with Backstory," Wiacek said. "One of the I have been preaching around the office for a while is that Backstory needs to make good analyst great and great analysts superstars."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.