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Get to Know the Automox Team: Havish Vinnakota, VP of Engineering

As Automox’s vice president of Engineering, Havish Vinnakota has eight different hats on his desk at any point in time, and he’s able to switch them around based on what happens during his week. Responsible for much more than engineering, Havish’s duties include not just getting the product built and delivered but supporting it in the field as well.

Because Havish is someone who has been a crucial part of the Automox team almost since day one, he has helped us establish a target market fit, ensured the validation of the Automox product from a technical standpoint, from a customer requirement standpoint, and from a user experience standpoint. He believes we are prepared to “stomp on the gas” as we move forward and continue growing.

In this week’s Get to Know the Automox Team blog post, Havish talks about his role as VP of Engineering, what he thinks about cybersecurity and the elements that set Automox apart.

The Cybersecurity Industry

Cybersecurity is such an exciting industry, especially right now. In this day and age, Havish believes cybersecurity is more important than ever before. With the proliferation of different devices on different operating systems (OSs) combined with a very flexible workforce culture arising around the globe, there’s a significant amount of vulnerability that exists within any organization’s information technology infrastructure.

“It’s an active space, there are a lot of moving parts and you’re always on the cutting edge of making sure that the organization is protected from external threats.”

The cost of a data breach is high, and that can be expensive for businesses as hackers and bad actors continue to leverage more sophisticated attacks in order to gain access to sensitive customer or corporate data. Ultimately, it comes down to the integrity of the data and privacy. How are we protecting our employees’ and customers’ data and making sure that the organization is secure?

By being proactive and staying ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape by employing the fundamentals of cybersecurity. If you were to unpack the vulnerabilities of most of the recent threats within the last two years, they were exploits in software that already had patches available. As a result, if an IT organization simply patched their devices on a regular basis, 90 percent of the threat surface could be eliminated. It all comes down to the basics.

Attackers are highly sophisticated, but they’re not going to try to come up with creative ways to break into systems. All they’re going to do is try to knock on the door and check on windows to see if the basic fundamental entry and exit ways are open or not. It all boils down to patch management.

You can have great cyber hygiene, but if it’s not operational and if you’re not executing on it, you don’t have trust in your environment. That’s where Automox fits in, and that’s what excites Havish about coming to work in the cybersecurity industry every day.

“Providing a platform for solving the problem in that space is what gets me — and all of us here at Automox, actually — going.”


Partnership with the Product Team

Havish and the rest of the engineering team have a strong partnership with Bryan and the product team to ensure that the feature roadmap is well-defined. Bryan and the product team are managing input into that roadmap by talking with customers, getting that feedback to drive what Havish and the engineers need to be working on.

“It’s amazing, they aren’t sitting on the other side of the wall and saying, ‘here’s a feature, go build.’ They are involved in the day to day, making sure that we are spending the energy in building the right thing, and that that thing satisfies the requirements of our customers.”

That is why the product-led growth model drives our decision making when it comes to engineering.

“There’s nothing fancy about product-led growth more than do what’s right for the customer.”

As such, user experience (UX) continues to be the core driving factor behind how we build because we aren’t building a product for us, we’re building a product that is used by our customers. In our incremental delivery manner, we deliver smaller chunks driven by customer input, making sure we are wrapping that up with a high-quality and UX mindset to ensure it actually does the job it says it’s going to do for our customers in a nice, elegant manner.

“Because we are in a model of fast delivery and quick cycles, we don’t sit on code for way too long. We have the capability to be agile, nimble and respond to changes in customer feedback and market needs in a very short period of time.”

The ability to be agile and nimble in terms of responding to security issues ensures the Automox platform is continuously improving so that we are always providing a high-quality product.


Cybersecurity as a Math Equation

According to Havish, cybersecurity is never the same, and what it is today is not going to be the same as what it will be tomorrow. Every day is dynamic, and the industry is never static, which is why cybersecurity has taken on increased importance, and the need to have a solution that can take the pain away from the manual, time-consuming tasks that make up the management of cyber hygiene is more crucial than ever before.

In today’s world of work, we bring cell phones, tablets, laptops, workstations, desktops, etc. into our corporate environments. Consequently, it becomes an exponential equation in terms of how an IT manager aims to get their head wrapped around all of the endpoints that are connected to their environment to make sure that, first, they have visibility into their endpoints, second, they can actually manage them in a reliable manner, third, they can report back to the CIO or up the chain of command. Combining these can become a nightmare of a task, especially without automation.  

And in the next five years, Havish believes the problem that is that math equation will only become more pronounced as an entire slew of internet of things (IoT) devices is going to get introduced into and embraced by corporate environments. The ramifications of fast-moving technological innovation permeating the workplace are increasing the complexity surrounding managing cyber hygiene in a corporate environment.

And he might be biased to the Automox platform, but Havish feels that vendor-agnostic products like Automox, could become core to solving the IoT security problem down the road.

“Whether Windows, Mac, Linux, Android or Mac device or even a smart lightbulb, ultimately, all of those fit into our architecture in terms of us being able to manage that.”


The Automox Platform Starts with the Developers

In addition to being a nimble, agile engineering team that develops a vendor-agnostic product, Havish knows that his team understands what’s at stake and why cybersecurity is so important in today’s day and age.

“Each line of code we are writing has the potential to jeopardize the integrity that our customers are looking to gain from our product.”

We have to do due diligence on our side to write clean code, to test it as much as possible in production-like environments and to have the right quality processes in place. At Automox, we take pride in putting a shift-left paradigm into effect. Shift-left involves finding bugs sooner in the development cycle and moving quality to the left side of the equation, closer to development.

“That’s what makes Automox engineering unique and an awesome team to be part of. It’s the people and the process that glues people together to produce a high-quality, high-performing product.”

There are, obviously, lots of challenges as a growing company, and hiring the right people is one of them. At Automox, it all starts with people. First who, then what.

“Automox is, by far, the best company I’ve ever worked for, and it all starts with the people. It’s people first. We have an amazing team, and each individual brings a unique passion for the problem we are solving… Seeing the product get better week over week and month over month just makes this all super rewarding, gratifying and, overall, an amazing place to work.


About Automox

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.

Molly Pals, Digital Marketing Manager

Author Molly Pals, Digital Marketing Manager

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