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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Avanan CEO Gil Friedrich (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 19th 2021

If you haven’t already, please study our Bootstrapping Course and Investor Introductions page. 

Gil takes us through the earlier approaches to issues like Phishing and his innovation.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Avanan. 

Gil Friedrich: We help companies secure their cloud email and collaboration suite. This includes Office Suite 365 and all of your SaaS-based lines of communication.

We protect companies from phishing, impersonation emails, account compromises, and malicious files and URLs. We provide a comprehensive security suite for every line of communication from the potential threats that are out there. 

Sramana Mitra: Let’s double-click down one level and talk about specific customers, use cases, and scenarios where you are intervening successfully. 

Gil Friedrich: We’ve gained quite the mileage in our customer base to know what people care about the most. We launched in 2016 and, within two years, our customer base grew from 200 to several thousands. It will be 10x within two years.

The use case that we see the most is phishing attacks in emails. In every survey, this is named as the first and most common way hackers use to compromise an organization. That’s number one for a lot of them. Phishing has a lot of different names but the core of it is making the end-user believe that you are someone else and make them do something that they shouldn’t. It could be to store malware, to process an invoice, or log in to a fake site and compromise the account. On the other side, there are humans that are good at what they do. They are constantly looking for ways to trick both the machine and the person.

I heard it a few times from our staff who had some experience in machine learning before joining us that this is the toughest problem that they had to solve in their career and it’s because of this cat-and-mouse experience.

If you solve something, the hacker on the other side would change their behavior so you need to constantly make sure that you understand the difference between the real email and the fake email. Phishing is the number one use case among our customers.

If I had to choose one more, it would have to be around protecting their data and managing access to these data. When you think about those platforms, they are all about collaboration and they make it easy to share data back and forth with one or more people both inside and outside your organization.

The chances of error and misconfiguration are high. Almost every person has sent an email to the wrong person. From our customer’s perspective, it’s important to be able to differentiate between emails that contain any personal or sensitive financial information.

We build the fences and the protection to make sure that we get to only where we need to go. Those two are the key ones – to protect from phishing and prevent hackers from compromising your account, and also protecting that data.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Avanan CEO Gil Friedrich
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