Launch Q&A with Vera CTO Prakash Linga
- What excites you most about the Vera solution and the direction your company is headed?
Our mission at Vera is to help the enterprise get the control back in a world without borders by delivering a solution that’s easy to use for employees and easy to deploy for businesses. People are drastically changing how they work with and share data on their smart devices, tablets and computers, leading information to reliably travel to the unexpected. We’re here to secure data during, and long after, that shift. I am excited about making Vera the de facto data security solution for a world without borders.
- Why did you decide to take on building a new data security approach and matching solution?
Ajay and I spoke with a wide range of customers representing different industries and companies of all sizes to better understand how they approach securing and controlling their information. It was clear that many people charged with protecting data did have a firm grasp on controlling information within corporate perimeters. However, when the data traveled outside of firewalls, they lacked the right tools to properly secure it. That realization hit a particular note with us, sparking our joint thinking about how to secure documents without altering employee efficiency.
From there, we quickly zeroed in on protecting common data formats that are widely used in the enterprise, like Word or PDF, and hosted on common cloud-, mobile- and web-based platforms like Dropbox and Box. We set out to allow people to work with their favorite documents and file types while at the same time securing these services, and the data within these services, on any and all devices, anywhere in the world. We found that the best way to do this was to attach user and company-controlled policies to the data itself, rather than fortifying perimeters, and making these policies modifiable in real-time.
In developing our first product, we evaluated a few different design points to provide future customers with an option that delivered lock-tight security for the enterprise and a non-disruptive user experience. We also realized that our approach has the potential to extend beyond files, to richer forms of data like e-mail, web-based data and data resident in, and shared between, desktop applications. This will be a big focus for us in 2015.
- You’re a successful entrepreneur and technologist. How do you fuse these two unique perspectives?
I’m in this business to build products and companies from the ground up that help solve real problems people actually care about. I’ve never been closer to a subject that businesses care as much about as the integrity and safety of information. My strong background in product engineering and technology has allowed me to craft innovative ways to solve significant problems faced by today’s enterprises. My time spent building RAPSphere, and now Vera, has allowed me to embrace the lessons you learn while scaling a startup and turn these experiences into successful milestones.
- What’s the biggest technical challenge in cybersecurity today? How do you see it changing over the next five, 10 and 20 years?
The big challenge with security in today’s digital world is that there are no defined borders. That’s significant of the biggest challenge overall – there is no way to predict or expect what will happen with data in a world where information, cloud and mobile services are ubiquitous. Figuring out how to secure data in such a world is a difficult challenge, but a hurdle that enterprises need to accept and embrace. It’s no longer a viable enterprise security strategy to define or defend a perimeter.
In the next ten years, we’ll see the perimeter continue its trajectory toward irrelevance, whether businesses choose to confront that or not, with oceans of data being exchanged between users and devices every second. In fact, more and more data will be exchanged between devices without users directly involved in the transfers, especially with IoT and the rise of the connected device. Expect to see devices in different form factors, requiring different security protocols and communicating with each other in different ways.
- How do you see the Vera solution growing and evolving based on demand?
Right now, Vera caters to common data types on all popular platforms across some of the most common data workflows – like Email, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft Office. As more users start to experience the Vera solution and businesses embrace our approach, we see ourselves extending to a wide range of data types, platforms and services. We are now actively building solutions that move beyond files to richer forms of data: email, web-based data, information in desktop apps and data available through APIs. Vera will expand to secure data across a range of these services, offering complete enterprise security regardless of how users work, what platform they use and where they are located.