Founded in 1999 as one of the first SaaS security companies, Qualys has established strategic partnerships with leading cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform, and managed service providers and consulting organizations including Accenture, BT, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Deutsche Telekom, DXC Technology, Fujitsu, HCL Technologies, IBM, Infosys, NTT, Optiv, SecureWorks, Tata Communications, Verizon and Wipro. The company is also a founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). Mr. Sumedh Thakar, President & CEO, Qualys shares more insight on the same
Can you explain why cybersecurity is important for businesses today?
Every business today is digital, and a good user experience – is the app intuitive, can tasks be easily completed on a mobile phone, does it integrate well with other apps – is a critical component of a business’ success.
As a result of competition, organisations must implement these new technologies quickly, resulting in the possibility of errors in the solution’s infrastructure. A company’s valuable data could be exposed to bad actors due to these errors. This exposure can be financially burdensome or, in some cases, an existential risk to the business. A strong cybersecurity programme helps to greatly eliminate or reduce this risk.
What are the biggest data security threats in the current scenario?
Hackers are growing increasingly smarter and sophisticated. We are now witnessing attacks being run as professional operations, with bad actors becoming more surgical and precise in their approach to choosing a victim, exploiting that organisation for fiscal and social gain.
Generally, all types of attacks are becoming “commonplace.” Bad actors are taking advantage of whatever attack vector they can, whether that is a phishing campaign or a ransomware attack. One of the biggest threats today is visibility. You cannot protect what you cannot see or do not know is there.
Qualys is the oldest cloud security platform in existence, with an increasing upward trajectory in growth. Can you share the strategies that help you not just sustain but grow in this competitive market.
With innovation as the lifeblood of the company, Qualys has always been product driven. Since its founding, the product strategy has aimed to evolve and continuously meet the threat landscape where it is – ultimately to enable customers to succeed in protecting company crown jewels and maintaining business continuity.
Having leveraged cloud-based technology from the start, Qualys has been able to bring scale and allow customers to ensure that their systems are well protected and cannot be compromised by attackers. Through consolidating customers’ cybersecurity stacks onto a single agent, Qualys has raised the bar in vulnerability management by reducing cyber risk and remediation times for customers, while further enabling both new and existing customers to maximise their security spending.
Since you are associated with Qualys for almost two decades now, can you share your journey in the company. Also keeping macro factors and the changing realities for the CIOs in mind, how have you evolved your GTM strategy?
Life is all about solving challenges every day no matter what position you are in – so for me, working at a company where I could problem solve and see the societal impact has been important to my personal journey. Starting as an engineer within the company, I was able to work alongside customers, hear and understand their needs and build something that solved their pain points. Being able to see in numbers the impact that Qualys has for customers is what energises and motivates me to continue innovating and serving.
Today, our platform secures every facet of your daily life: We secure the banks you invest your money with, we secure the hospitals that ensure you and your loved ones are healthy, we secure the ecommerce shopping you do during the holiday season, we secure the smart phones you use every second of the day, we secure the social media platforms that allow you to keep up with distant friends and family. We secure everything.
Regarding our GTM strategy, we focus on innovating and delivering additional capabilities that align with what customers need to further enhance their cybersecurity programmes.
Any latest security and data migration/protection trends that you witness globally vis-a-vis India?
Countries across Asia are ahead of the western world because they have the advantage of not having to deal with legacy systems. India and its neighbours in the region are leveraging modern methods of IT and cybersecurity to build new systems that bring socio-economic improvement to people’s lives.
For example, UPI has transformed India’s digital economy, accelerated the country’s transition to a cashless society and had the most real-time transactions than any other payment system in the world.
As for cybersecurity, Qualys works with entities of the union government across their digital offerings, including the UIDAI in their flagship Aadhar project, as well as in the UPI payments system to help them with data resilience and continuous threat assessment and patch management.
Another trend that I see is governments putting more emphasis on protecting their citizen’s data. Increasingly, this is leading to laws around data residency, requiring companies to maintain the customer’s data within that country.
Today’s hackers are growing increasingly smarter and sophisticated; how do you keep up with that? What according to you are strategies and best practices for simplifying security by businesses?
Through automation, today’s bad actors are maximising the impact of their attacks at scale – e.g., during the March 2021 Microsoft Exchange breach, it was estimated that 250,000 servers fell victim to the attack.
If attackers are using automation to disrupt the business operations and continuity of every type of organisation, defence mechanisms must also do the same. Companies – both private and public, government agencies and critical infrastructure organisations alike – are beginning to have their hands forced. Automation across security infrastructure is no longer a choice, but a necessity for every cyber arsenal.
The risk of automation breaking something within the company’s IT infrastructure will now be fully outweighed by the risk of not automating at scale.
With increasing government inclination towards data security and digital transformation, how can Qualys be a partner to lead the industry into the next growth phase?
Cybersecurity is the foundation that allows organisations to leverage technology safely. Qualys has always been customer and innovation focused to meet the threat landscape where it is no matter how quickly it evolves. We are continuously focusing on improving current solutions and bringing in new ones, to ensure that customers have the protection they need to maintain business continuity.
Additionally, Qualys is focused on bringing new innovations to its platform. This all-in-one integrated approach to security saves companies considerable time, helps reduce risk and increases their overall efficiency.
What is the vision of the company in the next five years as the world has entered the era of digitisation?
In the past more than 20 years, we have been busy creating a consolidated approach to cybersecurity so that organisations can stop drinking disparate data from siloed solutions out of a fire hose. We have prioritised our customers and are building up our cloud platform natively. The future of the company will continue to build off this work with the overall mission to make cybersecurity cheaper.