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A dialogue with Julien Bellanger
ITSPmagazine recently caught up with co-founder and CEO of Prevoty, Julien Bellanger. Bellanger shares crisp insights into the innovation and integrity required for long-term success in today’s InfoSec industry.
ITSPmagazine: What inspires you to do your job each day?
Bellanger: The thrill of turning a concept, a vision, into reality in a very agile way. My wife is still amazed at my three kids when they can’t sit still for more than 10 seconds while eating. Well that’s how I feel most days. I am happy in action and inspired as we execute each day as a team. Building a business is an extreme roller coaster but there is never a day that will bore you.
ITSPmagazine: What led you to enter the field of infosec?
Bellanger: Four years ago, I knew nothing about the world of infosec. My co-founder/CTO, Kunal Anand, and I never were security vendors and we understood very little about the landscape. He is a brilliant technologist who has helped defend brands like MySpace and the BBC. I had been in a couple businesses relying heavily on software and data protection.
We both felt the pains of protecting software from a tech and business perspective. When Kunal and I met, we realized that software security had been and was becoming even more of a nightmare for organizations, with no good solutions in the market.
We decided that we would leverage our non-vendor experience to build a completely new approach to application security. Today we are proud to be leading the transformation of application security after creating a whole new infosec category: runtime application security.
ITSPmagazine: How does your company approach and overcome difficult challenges in the market?
Bellanger: We face reality. We listen a lot to our trusted customers and partners, and we jointly overcome difficult challenges by forming solutions together. Building a strong and relevant network of advisory customers and partners is critical to achieving sustainable growth. We have always aimed at making Prevoty products very collaborative technologies so that they can enhance and benefit other existing products. Our market thrives when different solutions can communicate and work together to deliver exponential value to enterprises.
ITSPmagazine: With respect to security and privacy, what do you see as the biggest challenge we face as a society?
Bellanger: Our lack of common understanding of what privacy and personal data mean makes protecting our identities a real challenge. Part of the population consider most of their information public and have no problem sharing location, pictures, salaries, opinions, while others deem such information to be very personal. With that in mind, is it okay for the government or for other organizations to obtain access to all of our data, or should society still consider all or part of it to be private?
ITSPmagazine: What leadership principle or practice makes your executive team unique in the infosec space?
Bellanger: My team does not market, sell or build vaporware. I am sure it is not unique, but I have been shocked in the last few years at how many companies will say whatever it takes to their customers to win a deal. But it is not a healthy practice and definitely hurts stakeholder trust in our industry in the long run. If our product does not fit a customer’s use case, we tell them that it doesn’t, and then we work together to find a possible solution. In infosec, there is no silver bullet.
ITSPmagazine: If you had one piece of advice for a fellow CEO/CISO, what would it be?
Bellanger: Gain the maximum of real-time actionable visibility into what is happening in your business and with the assets you are protecting. You can react and adjust faster. The roles of a CISO and start-up CEO are very similar in many ways. For each, the job is a roller coaster that never stops, and unpredictable events happen all the time. It is impossible to automatically anticipate everything, especially when “the ____ hits the fan.” However, it is possible to understand risks, to have response plans, and to involve management or board before and after events happen. But to succeed, you need accurate and relevant intel – actionable, immediate visibility.
About Julien Bellanger
Julien Bellanger is co-founder and CEO of Prevoty, a next-generation application security platform. Most recently, Julien founded Personagraph, an Intertrust company focused on mobile user privacy.