Evan Reiser, CEO and Co-Founder / Asheem Chandna, Greylock Partner and Investor
E: Hello, my name is Evan Reiser. I've been a product and technology entrepreneur for about 15 years and I am the co-founder and CEO of Abnormal Security. Asheem, please introduce yourself.
A: I'm Asheem Chandna. I'm a partner at Greylock. I've been at Greylock for a couple of decades, you know, working with innovators to help build the enterprise companies of the future, and I'm very proud to be a founding investor and board member at Abnormal Security. I've been around cybersecurity for, two decades now. Cyber's never been more complex than it is today. And it's also never been a higher priority item than it is today for most organizations. The reality is not just smaller companies, but even larger companies around the world are just completely unprepared. One little thing can go wrong and the attacker is in your network
E: One of the challenges that customers, and I would say it organs have more broadly is that there's just a lot of trust that humans put in these digital identities. When I get an email from a machine, I assume it's you behind the keyboard. At the same time, there's also going to be risks that some criminals will also use some of these new technologies to increase the sophistication of their attacks.
A: For most organizations, email is the number one collaboration application. Email is the lifeblood of most companies; their business information lives in email. They deal with suppliers or email, and so protecting their email when email is now sitting in the cloud has become a top priority for companies.
E: Email is the number one collaboration application, maybe the number one business application. That's true for many industries. Collaboration communication is also starting to expand outside email and we're starting to see a much broader adoption of Microsoft Teams of Slack. How is this going to affect cybersecurity needs for customers in the future?
A: I would say, you know, cyber has to follow those applications, and so as organizations increase usage around email and other collaboration tools and applications, cyber needs to follow that and protect that. I would say every security team in the world really should be investing in these types of technologies what that really does is again and then the humans and those security teams can really focus their effort elsewhere.
E: I knew of you before I met you and I know when we first met I was really impressed with your market knowledge and understanding of secular trends and some of the customer needs that were growing. You take a look at a lot of companies, right, you have limited time, and you can only spend your time with so many people. What kind of set apart Abnormal or me and Sanjay from some other folks you've considered meeting?
A: I think it goes back to that very first meeting we had. I was blown away by the chemistry between both of you because you both had a certain amount of work experience before you started Abnormal Security. You had the intensity, the hunger, and the commitment to work together—a very good complimentary team.
E: What I hear from customers is that a lot of security operations teams are getting more and more overloaded with more alerts. At some point, they don’t have enough time or energy to go monitor anything. What I hear from customers, what they really want is something that will basically just go figure it out for them right they want the autopilot version of the security tools, so I think that's the vision that most security leaders want for their kind of products. They really want to put their team on more effective things.
A: When I think of Abnormal Security, what abnormal is really doing is bringing AI and machine learning into the environment, building baselines of what people do. Then thinking of zero trust around these cloud applications really, enabling intelligent trust.
E: You said it well, it's how do you operate when you don't need the trust accounts or networks or devices? How do you make sure your messaging between your customers and your vendor's employee is secure? I don't care if they're technically authenticated and authorized. Like it's technically okay, this is messed up, what are they doing here? That's exactly what our account compromise product does. What I appreciate about the way Abnormal operates right and also how we operate as a board and as a partnership is always trying to listen and learn to find out the best way they can go solve our customers' needs and I think if we continue to do that again and again you play that cycle through thousands of times over multiple years we will I think we can really live up to the ambition for what Abnormal can be and the great platform that customers expect.
A: This focus on customers also has yielded an abnormally high score. If you look at Gartner peer ratings and the score that the company has, I think that's a great reflection of just the quality of work. Many companies say they're customer-focused, but most companies lose their customer focus. I've really seen the way even you and the rest of the team have really worked to bring leading-edge technology and then bring that to the customer use case. You deliver a very strong customer value. So, if there's one piece of advice I would provide it's just to keep that customer focus, and good things will continue to happen. I think the word abnormal not only applies to the company's technology and its ability to observe and then remediate abnormal behavior, but Abnormal has also been abnormal in terms of its growth.
E: I'm really proud of the customer feedback we've gotten, but I think we've been successful there by working closely with our partners—listening, learning, optimizing—ultimately creating a great platform for them.
A: Abnormal Security has run an amazing journey to date, and what's just so exciting is we're barely getting started.