Coming from a marketing background where she helped companies like Coca Cola, Tyson and Bacardi sell more soda, chicken and rum, Automox Chief Marketing Officer Holly Hamann may not be a native to the cybersecurity industry, but she immediately understood the significant impact the industry has on society at large.
“I don’t have organic cybersecurity DNA, but with my background in both consumer packaged goods and technology, it doesn’t take long to figure out how critical it is — and how big the problem is that we’re solving.”
In this week’s Get to Know the Automox Team blog post, Holly talks about her role as CMO, her thoughts on the ever-evolving cybersecurity industry and how marketing a product that’s solving major problems makes her job at Automox so exciting.
Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities = Obvious Yet Underrated
As someone coming into the cybersecurity space with a set of fresh eyes, what immediately struck Holly as “obvious yet underrated” is where most of the vulnerability comes from in this space. The majority of vulnerabilities arise from the most simple things — like not patching operating systems (OS) and software on a computer.
Just looking at her own computer, Holly realized she has all kinds of web-based software running, including particular software that’s unique to her role in marketing at Automox. Several times throughout her day, she’ll receive a notification warning her to upgrade that software or her OS either now, later today or sometime tomorrow. Unfortunately, like many of us, Holly is in the middle of an important task and puts that alert off until later. But when exactly is ‘later’? Honestly, how often do we all receive notifications to update our systems or software that simply get postponed?
“Every time a patch gets deferred, it means there’s software or an OS that needs an update to fix something, and we’re choosing to not do it. That’s a vulnerability that can be exploited, even if it’s only open for a few hours.”
And with unpatched vulnerabilities being the culprit for nearly 60 percent of organizations that suffered a data breach in the past two years, keeping systems and software patched has never been more important. But patches aren’t being effectively managed, and that’s not because they’re not important, it’s because the process is time-consuming and often overwhelming with the more endpoints that need to be protected.
Ownership and Accountability
So, how can organizations better manage their patches to ensure the security of their IT infrastructure? Holly believes having someone dedicated to security is the most important step an organization can take because it forces that person to take ownership and accountability for managing patches and securing the entire organization. Whether an IT Manager, SysAdmin or another security professional, it’s that individual’s responsibility to put solutions, software or processes in place and then own those to keep the infrastructure and devices safe, whether they’re protecting 10 or 10,000 employees.
“If there’s nobody in your company paying attention to security, that’s a big gap and a vulnerability in and of itself.”
As the cybersecurity industry matures and knowledge about securing IT infrastructure grows, Holly believes people are growing more vigilant about securing their most sensitive information and data. While it’s good that people are on higher alert about cybersecurity, Holly also believes things have the opportunity to get worse.
“It will be interesting to see if the solutions and the people and companies in the industry whose mission is to help solve the problem and keep endpoints protected can move as quickly as those whose goal is to abuse them. Are we keeping up with the volume of threats and vulnerabilities or is that gap widening?”
Trust and the Four Pillars of Security Hygiene
In order to keep up with the volume of threats and vulnerabilities, Holly and the rest of the Automox marketing team focus their messaging around the four pillars of cybersecurity hygiene: OS patching, software patching, managing the deployment of third-party software and managing endpoint configurations. Because these four pillars represent 80 percent of a company’s attack surface, Holly believes that, when practiced daily, cyber hygiene becomes ingrained in the culture of an organization, improving security across the board.
“If we can help companies do these four practices — all day, every day, for every endpoint or device — we can help keep their infrastructures protected.”
Unfortunately, marketing a cybersecurity platform comes with a number of challenges, primarily the issue of trust. Brand trust doesn't come into play as much when we buy clothes, coffee or books, but it is at the top of the list when it comes to decision criteria for security products. Customers need to trust that our software is consistently reliable and gives them the visibility they need to make important decisions about the protection of their infrastructures.
“At Automox, we have learned that trust is built with transparency, integrity and accountability. We communicate with our customers about good news and bad, we deliver what we say we'll deliver, and we hold ourselves and each other accountable for putting the customer first.”
So, how does Automox focus on customer success? By providing valuable content. IT folks don't want to hear marketing speak from a marketer, they want to hear from like-minded professionals who face similar challenges and have experimented with solutions. Holly and the marketing team’s approach is to give IT Managers, SysAdmins and other security professionals all of the insights, strategies and information they need to be successful at their security roles, whether they use Automox or not. Being a thought leader in the space drives natural awareness and affinity for the Automox product, the company and its leaders.
The Automox Team, Product and Product-Led Growth
A piece of driving affinity for the Automox product involves a product-led growth (PLG) strategy that allows users to gain value from the product as quickly as possible.
“At Automox, we have fully embraced the PLG strategy, which means our marketing team works very closely with our product team, and both departments share critical metrics around our customers' experience with Automox, from how they heard about us to their trial experience and the support they receive as a customer.”
Holly believes that Automox’s results-driven culture of accountability and collaboration ensures the company is always coming to market with the best possible platform for automated patch management. At Automox, we are dedicated to the products we deliver, and that notion is underscored by the fact that about 75 percent of our staff is dedicated to engineering or development.
“The sheer passion, commitment and dedication that every single person at Automox has to the industry and to the company is very apparent,” Holly said. “For my particular role, I love coming to work every day and communicating the message of what we do and the pain we dissolve to make sure IT Managers, CISOs and other people experiencing the overwhelming challenge of trying to keep all of their endpoints secure know that we can help them! The fact that I get to market a product that’s actually solving major problems makes my job exciting to come to every day.”
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.