Jeff Swearingen: From an entrepreneur’s perspective, there’s always opportunity. The technology market is so saturated with companies and yet the market is moving so quickly. A young and agile company with some domain expertise can spot an opportunity and a gap in the market. That’s what SecureLink did. We found a gap in the market. We were ahead of it. We filled it, and we own it. Nobody does third-party remote access better than SecureLink.
If anyone is looking for an opportunity, you should have some domain expertise. My co-founder and I came from a technology and software background. We knew the people, problems, and the processes. One of the things I mentioned to entrepreneurs is to stay in your gold mine. If you know something about life insurance and if you understand that industry, that is gold. The closer you stick to that, the better served you’ll be.
Although many companies are serving the cyber security market, opportunities abound.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting. Just because of so much innovation and so many vendors that they have to deal with, the CISO’s life has become very complicated. Based on your interaction with CISOs, what is your impression of how they’re dealing with this complexity?
Jeff Swearingen: I don’t have a great answer to that. I have an incredible amount of respect for the CISO position. It’s one where there’s a lot more to lose than be gained. You don’t get your name in the paper for doing a great job as a CISO. I have a lot of the people who sit in that chair. The tenure is rather short in that position for a lot of different reasons.
I’m a fan for working with best of breed. You have relationships with vendors who you know and trust and that are your core. For the specific cases like third-party remote access, I would say find somebody who specializes in the problem you’re trying to solve. Don’t let your dentist work on your car. You need a mechanic for your car.
Sramana Mitra: In going into the enterprise account, are you always successful going in directly or do you sometimes have to go partner with a trusted partner of a CISO?
Jeff Swearingen: We work direct. Our technology is one that has a benefit that the potential customer tends to get exposed to, not through a reseller or a consultant partner but from a technology vendor who would be delivering support. Just as a quick example, in the healthcare field where we have a large chunk of the largest healthcare software vendors, they’ll approach a hospital and explain to them that they want to use SecureLink to do remote support.
Ten years ago, they would say, “Drop dead. We’re not using anything but our VPN.” Today we’re known in healthcare. After the customer refuses, the vendor would say, “That’s bad because we enforce two-factor authentication. We have individual accounts. I’d like to show you this audit report where you get a recording of our sessions.” We reveal all of these benefits to the customer indirectly from the software vendor. That hospital or casino ends up buying the enterprise version of our technology.
Another one of the bits of advice I would give to any entrepreneur is, get lucky. One of the things that happened at SecureLink I’d love to take credit for but frankly was just luck was that magical influence we were able to have getting introduced to the other side of a connection by taking care of our customers.
Sramana Mitra: Good. Thank you for your time.