Amit Shaked, CEO and co-founder, Laminar
One of the best pieces of business advice for any entrepreneur is this: “Look for a problem to solve. Not a product to sell.”
My co-founder Oran Avraham and I met at university at the age of 14 and after becoming best friends, we vowed to one day launch a security company together. Obviously, cybersecurity is a large industry so narrowing down our focus became key to being successful in all of the noise of the market.
In order to pinpoint our direction, we first asked ourselves: what is holding back valuable data innovations? What is the biggest problem in the data security space today?
The answer became clear fairly quickly: data breaches. We immediately knew that if we could create a solution that would disrupt data breach culture it would make a major impact on CISOs and data protection teams – and ultimately companies’ success overall.
Diving into Data Breach Culture
There are a lot of products on the market that claim to prevent data breaches, so Oran and I knew we had to dig a little bit deeper. We began to ask ourselves questions like, “How do data breaches occur today?” We compiled a list of dozens of recent, major breaches such as Marriott’s initial breach in 2018, Facebook’s breach in 2019, and LinkedIn’s data scraping incident back in mid-2021. A pattern emerged — nearly all originated from public cloud infrastructure.
This made a lot of sense. Experts estimate that by 2025, 200+ zettabytes of data will be in cloud storage. To put this into perspective, it’s important to understand how much a zettabyte actually is. A zettabyte is one billion terabytes and a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. A standard movie is only one to two gigabytes to download. All of this data is just as valuable to cyber adversaries as it is to businesses. As a result, hackers will do anything they can to get their hands on it.
The cloud has paved the way for data democratization, which in itself is a benefit to all organizations and consumers. Allowing greater access to data for those who need it, creates more opportunities and ultimately is more effective. However, the cloud has also allowed data to be spread around to various places data security professionals may not even be tracking. Known as “shadow data” this unknown data is not copied, backed up, or housed in a data store that is governed, under the same security structure, or kept up-to-date – which makes it easier for hackers to get their hands on it.
Solving the Problem, Not Just Selling a Product
Now that we had an understanding of the issue at hand, we then began to form the genesis of what would become Laminar.
First, we set ourselves on a path to being cloud-native. By “we,” I mean the company and its overall culture, not only the solution we would provide. We knew if we wanted to solve problems that are cloud-native, we must be cloud-native ourselves.
Next, we looked at how cloud infrastructure was run and modeled our internal team after it. We knew that the cloud was the driving force that was powering today’s businesses and that we simply could not slow it down or disrupt it. We began looking for individuals who had the experience and knowledge to move at the speed of the cloud and the heart to solve the data breach issue at hand. The team is now made up of Capture the Flag (CTF) players, kernel hackers, vulnerability researchers, and engineers who all believe that anything is possible.
Once our product was built, we turned to the very group of people we were trying to help: CISOs and data security professionals. Through Insight IGNITE, we were able to get product validation from hundreds of CISOs which confirmed that we were truly solving a problem and not just selling a product.
Finally, we took a no-nonsense approach. We both despise FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt, usually evoked intentionally in order to put a competitor at a disadvantage. Everything that we do with the company ties back to real-life scenarios and to real, important actions that data security teams could take in order to better protect their employees, partners, and customers.
Although it is cliché, there is weight to the saying, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
When an all-consuming problem is left unsolved, there are two options: build your own solution or wait around for someone else to make one for you. Oran and I tried to create an off-the-shelf solution to protect sensitive public cloud data because none existed. By taking the time to dive to ask questions and consult with other experts in our field, we were able to identify a gap in the market and fill in the blanks.