In an interaction, Sequretek co-founders Pankit Desai and Anand Naik elaborated on the company's unconventional approach to tackling cyber threats.

This cybersecurity platform is using AI to detect and thwart attacks in real-time
Atom Interview Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 11:19

With the ever-changing threat landscape, cybersecurity companies can no longer afford to be reactive. The attacks are getting sophisticated each day and thus the approach has to be proactive. Sequretek was formed with an aim to provide enterprise clients an end-to-end simplified cybersecurity platform. 

Sequretek is known to use unconventional ways to detect security breaches, using AI to spot an attack from miles away and stop it before it can cause any real damage. Interestingly, some of their scientists, download a virus knowingly to take it apart piece by piece to find hackers’ signature in order to find the origin and intent of the virus.

At Sequretek, a managed centre has been designed to monitor millions of attacks on a daily basis using AI. The data scientists then study the incidents to find a similar pattern in their customers' environment to identify if an attack is being planned. This helps them release a patch or a technical advisory to the companies to update any vulnerability in order to safeguard their networks and servers.

On the business front, Sequretek employs more than 300 people in India. They have also launched operations in the US. Funding-wise, their last round was close to $4 million which was a bridge round. They will be raising Series A in the next few months. Sequretek is currently working with close to 60 medium and large companies across verticals like BFSI, pharma, media, textile, automobiles.

In an interaction, Pankit Desai and Anand Naik, co-founders of Sequretek, discussed how the company’s approach to security is unconventional, the challenges in implementing their offerings, and what the future holds, among other things. 

How is Sequretek's approach to security unconventional as compared to other companies in this space?

Sequretek is built on the foundation of simplifying security, which means less complexity and driving down the cost of ownership.

Security is supposed to work around a company’s process, policies and people and not the other way around. The common belief in the industry is that more security products mean more security. This is untrue, because if your multiple security products are not communicating the threats to each other, then they are likely to be breached from one end or the other. 

Staying true to our ethos of making security less complex, in the last 6 years we have launched two products, which is in stark contrast to the other large cybersecurity companies in this space which are very product heavy in terms of their approach to cybersecurity. Our products mainly address the area of access governance (IGA) and end point security (EDPR).

For a 24x7, 360 degree protection, we have launched MDR (manage detection and respond), an AI-powered threat detection platform, which proactively works to weed out bad elements which might be harmful for an organisation.

Our products designed on AI platforms are capable of reacting to threats in near real time. The endpoint security product -- EDPR -- our recent launch is designed with AI backbone and comes with 7-8 end point security product features rolled into one, thus helping enterprises cut down costs and complexity from their cybersecurity framework.

Our business practices are unconventional; we proactively seek notorious elements to eliminate them. We conduct regular security awareness campaigns for our customers to identify the ways they can get compromised. 

Cybersecurity vertical has been dominated by MNCs. We hardly have seen any Indian cybersecurity companies. What prompted you to start in such a tough space?

Founders of Sequretek come from tech and hardcore security background. In their corporate avatars, they have first-hand experience of the challenges businesses face. One of the top problems was working with multiple security partners as no single company provides end-to-end enterprise security solutions, secondly, there's a heavy push to sell their products to customers. Thus, when Pankit and Anand decided to launch Sequretek, they were aware that they are entering a highly competitive space and were clear on the niche they wanted to build for Sequretek. 

Biggest challenge that you face when you meet a traditional and a new age company to discuss your offering?

Being in the security space, the key word is trust. An organisation has to trust its security partner to share data with them. You only win the trust when you show how well you can protect their data and how proactive you are when an attack has happened.

In the initial days, it was difficult for us to get our message beyond the security buyer community within the customers. However, due to events of the recent past on account of well publicised global threats, senior management of companies have started to realise the security threats they face and are asking hard questions around whether their security posture will have business continuity or a brand impact. This in turn is making our message of Simplify Security as well as looking at security from a 360 degree perspective, resonate well with our customers.

Any security issue stems from three aspects: people, process, and technology. Insider threats come from people who either make mistakes or indulge in some malicious activities. Whilst technology is a big enabler to drive transformation, the biggest challenge we face is the inability of an organisation’s workforce to understand, appreciate and be willing to transform themselves to drive that change.

We want our customers to embark on their digital transformation journey whilst being assured that we have got their back and that they need not fear about security related challenges in this journey.

What does the future hold?

We will continue to innovate in the areas that we have identified i.e. user behaviour, endpoint security and enterprise security visibility. There is a lot that needs to be done here itself, as the threat landscape is changing the highest in this space. There are significant enhancements that have already been planned as part of the product roadmap over the next couple of years, where we will build on our premise of simplicity and enhanced security visibility. 

What challenges do you foresee for cybersecurity in the coming years? 

In the initial days, hacking was attempted by individuals interested in gaining company information. Today, the security threat landscape has become much more sophisticated, with attacks being sponsored by illicit groups, governments and corporates. The biggest challenge that we see in cybersecurity is the internal data leakage, both intentional and unintentional. Organisations still have a fair amount of human intervention which provides a gateway for hackers. It is important to bring in as much automation as possible and reduce people dependency in the security and adopt a proactive approach rather than a reactive one.

How is India positioned to address this challenge?

The only way India can emerge as a world economy is to have strong cyber defences in place. For long, we have relied on MNCs to secure data of Indian companies. We are unaware of the server locations and might not have jurisdiction over these servers. In cybersecurity, the challenges are aligned to national security. So an international firm will not invest in building something specific for an Indian company.

If India has to step into the new world and take charge, then we need to have our own cybersecurity infrastructure in place, where the Indian government and companies control data and their movement.

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