In early October, Bryan Gale officially starting serving as Automox’s chief product officer, and we are incredibly lucky to have him. Though he is our CPO, because we are a burgeoning startup, his day-to-day duties are never the same. Beyond trying to set the overall direction and strategy for the product and the company, Bryan’s responsibilities entail “a little bit of everything.”
In this week’s Get to Know the Automox Team blog post, Bryan discusses his role as CPO, his thoughts on cybersecurity and how understanding the why behind the features customers ask for allows Automox to come to market with the best possible product.
The World of Cybersecurity
In the modern world in which we live, cybersecurity has taken on critical importance as everyone’s private information and sensitive assets are all effectively available, in some fashion, in a digitized form. And as technology continues to progress, Bryan believes that is not going to change any time soon. Compounding the issue, attackers are never standing still, they are constantly in search of new ways to try and breach systems to pilfer the sensitive personal or corporate data they’re after.
Consequently, Bryan loves working in cybersecurity not only because he’s constantly learning new things, but also because it’s an industry where he’s able to provide demonstrable good for customers and the world at large.
“It’s extremely rewarding to come into work and feel good about the products that you develop and supply to your customers, really providing a valuable benefit by protecting what’s most critically important to them.”
At Automox, the solution we’re building provides the core, foundational principles for essential cybersecurity hygiene within an organization. If you look at any of the recent major security breaches, just in this calendar year alone, so many of them are still the result of basic security practices either not existing or not being followed appropriately within organizations. Software systems atrophy so quickly that it’s essential for them to be diligently maintained and patched on a regular basis in order to shore up any known vulnerabilities that have been found. Focus not only on the operating systems (OS) but more importantly across the hundreds or even thousands of different installed third party software packages, libraries, dependencies, etc.
“You can buy all of the best, most expensive security tools you want to try and secure an enterprise and it’s digital assets, but if you leave your doors wide open, buying all of those ‘expensive locks’ won’t do you any good.” A solid patch management process closes those doors, providing a much more effective foundation to build upon.
Beyond patch management, a few other easy security solutions to implement for huge gains are doing things like enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) on everything you can. This a simple, low-friction solution that raises the security posture to protect any organization’s data and assets. Focus on encrypting all systems and conducting employee awareness training to ensure they know why and how to use proper passwords everywhere as well as how to be vigilant about spear phishing attacks and other social engineering attacks targeting credential theft.
According to Bryan, the world of cybersecurity is continually evolving. Attackers do not sit still and continue to evolve their tactics and techniques. As a result, we continue to see new companies and solutions that are created, providing new and unique methods for providing defense for systems against the continually evolving attackers.
Unfortunately, many organizations today fail at such a basic level of security hygiene across their systems and across the enterprise. As a result, the Automox platform is focused on building out an extremely valuable product that helps make patch management much easier and more efficient across the entire enterprise. Providing this essential foundational level of security provides a more robust platform to build upon from a security architecture standpoint.
The Automox Product Strategy
Bryan and the rest of the product team at Automox rely on a product-led growth strategy to yield rapid and efficient customer growth. Because this strategy depends on an amazing product and customer experience, it allows Bryan and his team to truly focus on customers and their needs, delivering what users want to see in a product and the features that are most useful for them.
As a SaaS platform, we release software every week, and we don’t have to ship it out because it goes live in the cloud immediately. This architecture provides us with a number of powerful tools in terms of our ability to enact interesting A/B testing within the platform. Based on the analytics and the telemetry that we have running in the application, we almost instantaneously get user feedback surrounding what features are most useful, what features aren’t being used and where that unmet need that customers are really looking for is.
“It allows us to be extremely agile in terms of our ability to adapt very quickly to the market and the demands of our customers.”
What Bryan is seeing from IT buyers and security buyers today is that they really don’t have a strong interest in following through the more traditional marketing pipelines and nurturing campaigns. Everyone is short on time and increasingly expects to be able to download and test a product, discover the information they want to find quickly and readily and make a decision without a salesperson telling them how good the product is or how much it will improve their security posture.
“Everything is instantaneous in today’s day and age. We have to be able to adapt to that environment, and I think we do that very well.”
The Automox Product Roadmap
Bryan believes that the most important aspects of the Automox product roadmap are speed and agility. As a young, nascent product, the team has a long backlog of features they think they want to build. However, they have to continually evaluate those features in terms of the time it will take to develop them and the complexity of each feature as well as assessing the feature’s usefulness and whether they see a demand for that feature from current customers.
As a result, Bryan and the rest of the product team are constantly balancing long-term strategic vision and direction with the ability to continually make current customers happy with the platform and evolving it the way users want it to evolve.
What Makes a Great Product?
Beyond security, the elements that make a great cybersecurity product are, at least according to Bryan, the product does what it says it’s going to do and that it’s elegant and easy to use. With the consumerization of IT trend continuing unabated, the polish and level of sophistication built into consumer apps is starting to transition into larger enterprise apps. Enterprise users expect a level of polish and refinement that, in the past, large enterprise products typically did not possess.
In order to ensure Automox continues to come to market with the best possible product, Bryan says his team not only hires “the best talent we can find” from a design and engineering standpoint, but also that they continually have an open ear to customers in the marketplace at large, trying to ensure they understand not just what consumers are asking for but why they’re asking for certain features.
“Oftentimes, being able to understand why they’re asking for something allows us to develop a feature that manifests itself a little bit differently than if we had just done so blindly based on what the customer asked for from an implementation standpoint.”
Bryan believes it’s this level of nuance that makes it both very challenging but also extremely exciting and rewarding to build cybersecurity products at Automox. But beyond the exciting challenges Bryan and his team face on a day-to-day basis, it’s everything that Automox is building that keeps him coming back to work.
“It’s the people, the culture, and the product itself filling an unaddressed need in the market. It’s all of those things culminating together to make it a very exciting and fun place to work… It’s extremely fun and rewarding to build a differentiated product that customers love.”
Automox is a cloud-based patch management and endpoint protection platform that provides the foundation for a strong security framework by automating the fundamentals of security hygiene to reduce a company’s attack surface by over 80 percent. A powerful set of user-defined controls enables IT managers to filter and report on the vulnerability status of their infrastructure and intuitively manage cross-platform OS patching, third party patching, software deployment, and configuration management. To sign up for a free, 15-day trial of Automox’s cloud-based, automated patch management solution, visit www.automox.com/signup.