Their Story: A Dialogue With Larry Link, CEO, Cequence Security

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A dialogue with Larry Link

ITSPmagazine recently caught up with the President and CEO of Cequence Security, Larry Link. With co-founders coming from some of the largest cybersecurity companies in the world, the team at Cequence is laser-focused on stopping the growing number of malicious bot attacks.

ITSPmagazine: How was Cequence founded and by whom?

Link: Our co-founders are Ameya Talwalkar and Shreyans Mehta, both from Symantec, and Michael Barrett from PayPal. The founders saw an unmet need in the application security space for a solution that protected web, mobile and API applications from attack without any modification or changes to those applications. They were frustrated by the first generation of security tools (i.e. WAFs, RASP).

ITSPmagazine: Tell us a little bit about the executive team.

Link: The two co-founders of Cequence both came from Symantec so they have very strong technical experience and expertise in the development of scalable cybersecurity software platforms for large organizations. The other three members of the leadership team – myself included – complement those strong technical chops with equally strong go-to-market skills. In fact, my go-to-market team all worked together at Palo Alto Networks, and helped the company grow from $0 to nearly $500M in revenue.

ITSPmagazine: Tell us a little bit about the rest of the team.

Link: I’ve been involved with many companies in Silicon Valley, but honestly this team is special. Their relentless passion for innovation and their dedication to customer success is impressive. They’ve really set the bar high, which helps us attract very strong talent as we continue to grow. We’ve got a strong mix of data scientists and security software engineers on the team.

ITSPmagazine: What problems are you trying to solve with your offering?

Link: In these early days of the company, we are laser-focused on stopping the growing number of malicious bot attacks targeting large organizations. These attacks were not on anyone’s radar 10 years ago, but today malicious bots account for nearly 1/3 of all Internet traffic. As we grow, we will offer additional security capabilities that can be easily integrated within our Cequence Application Security Platform (ASP).

ITSPmagazine: Who is the target buyer and the target user of the solution and why would they (or should they) care?

Link: In today’s digital economy, there is a growing number of large, hyper-connected organizations that rely on web, mobile and API application assets to support business processes and engage with customers. These are also the primary targets for bot attacks. Our initial focus is on protecting the application infrastructure of these organization from malicious attacks.

Bot attacks are already widely recognized by our customers as a critical security problem. Their challenge has been to find a security solution that could automatically detect and mitigate these attacks, without first requiring extensive, time-consuming modifications to the hundreds of applications that are typically deployed across their organization.

ITSPmagazine: What misconceptions or assumptions might this target group be making that could lead to trouble if they don’t take a deeper look at the problem they are trying to solve?

Link: One of the symptoms of a malicious bot attack is a massive spike in the traffic on the customer’s network. Without the ability to inspect and profile this traffic, a customer might assume that their externally facing websites and applications have simply become very popular. And their response might be to expand server and network capacity to ensure optimal performance. Once they deploy Cequence, they often, unfortunately, discover that 80% or more of that traffic was malicious bots.

ITSPmagazine: What does success look like for the company, for the team, and for your customers?

Link: From a business growth perspective, we see an opportunity that is similar to the early days at Palo Alto Networks. That is, the opportunity to transform a large market — in this case, the application security market — by providing customers with innovations they can’t find anywhere else. It’s a winning business strategy, but also helps our customers strengthen their security posture and optimize their IT staff productivity.

ITSPmagazine: How do you approach hiring and retaining, given the challenges faced in the InfoSec space, and what are your thoughts on having a diverse workforce?

Link: With the strong economy, it’s an ongoing challenge to recruit top talent, including here in Silicon Valley. Fortunately, we’ve been able to attract very talented people who embrace a rare opportunity for professional growth and contribution that will lead to market transformation and customer satisfaction.

Diversity is not only desired, but essential to the success of Cequence Security. Everyone is unique, and their backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives all contribute to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

ITSPmagazine: If you had one piece of advice for business owners, what would that be?

Link: Stay focused on delighting your customers. Jim Barksdale once quipped that at a startup “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” This speaks to staying focused and delivering innovation that delights your customers.

About Larry Link

Larry Link has been at the forefront of the network and security technology industries, and brings more than 25 years of executive experience creating, building and managing profitable enterprise technology businesses. Most recently, Larry served as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW). In addition to his role at Stealth Security, Larry serves on the board of directors at CloudPassage, DB Networks and Squelch. Prior to his role at Palo Alto Networks, Larry was SVP of Sales for Silver Peak Systems. He ran Worldwide Sales at Neoteris from inception through its acquisition by Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) in April 2004. Prior to Neoteris, he was Vice President of Enterprise Sales for Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) from its launch in 1996, through IPO in 1997 and its subsequent merger with Excite in 1999. Earlier in his career, Larry held engineering, sales and sales management positions at Silicon Graphics and Hewlett-Packard. He earned a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.