On December 5, 2018, VERA held its first annual Customer Advisory Board meeting, and it was a great success. This event offered customers an opportunity to share experiences and best practices, learn about Vera’s product strategy and roadmap, and provide feedback on product requirements and influence the company’s potential directions.
Keep in mind – we didn’t do this to have our customers pat us on the back. We held this event primarily to garner feedback about where we can improve. It’s our ultimate goal that we engage with our customers as often as possible, to determine that our efforts at improving the product and user experience is headed in the right direction, both for them in their organizations, but also for the security industry as a whole. And what better way to do that, than to solicit ideas and guidance from our customers? General Electric and Pokémon are just a few among many who joined us for a full day of discussion, questions, and recommendations.
The Director of Information Security and Data Protection Officer at a large entertainment company shared that their strategy is to be problem solvers and business enablers first, and security professionals second. Putting VERA in place has allowed them to make everyone’s lives easier and therefore their jobs more effective, while also being secure – that makes everyone happy, both IT and the rest of the organization. But something specific stood out about his next comment: the fact that by using Vera, and the reporting capabilities, he has, what he referred to as “defensible audit” to prove adherence to regulatory compliance. Other customers shared his sentiment, also stating that they also use VERA to support audits.
Other important topics about file security came up, particularly ideas and concerns about the direction of SharePoint online and Office 365, and how they can or can’t protect data once it leaves that perimeter. One customer shared that their company essentially views Microsoft as “evil” but is currently in a “bake off” between Microsoft and Google, for everything except email. And at a large global manufacturing firm, after trying everything from Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to application-specific password protections to secure their intellectual property, they found that none of these could protect data where it mattered most: beyond their walls.
The Director of IT of a large semiconductor company said, “The conversation needs to be about how data is saved, not where. We’ll have multiple platforms for a long time.” She added, “we’re slow in moving to the Cloud because of IP concerns but functionality is not there in terms of feature-parity vs SMB’s SharePoint online is the only one that’s there — if VERA can really solve the problem for SMB and Cloud with low friction, then GAME OVER!”
Toward the end of the discussion, it became apparent again that it’s a heterogenous world. Companies and their partners can’t necessarily force each other to implement a particular service, whether it’s Microsoft or Dropbox, or another tool. This is exactly why VERA is so powerful. If your data is on premise, or in the cloud, your files can be safe, even if they leave the safety of your environment.
Our customers have had a lot of success and some challenges, and we’re working tirelessly every day to make the product and experience better. Integrate with existing application permission models is one of Vera’s most impressive differentiators.
Here at Vera, we came away with some incredible insight from our customers and added some homework assignments for our teams. Our biggest takeaway was perhaps what we’ve known all along at VERA – that usability is the determinant of user adoption, and thus, the long-term health of Vera. This statement is confirmation of something we have known for years. Security technologies need to be easy-to-use and easily deployed. Otherwise, they won’t be used, and that puts everyone’s information at risk.