Influential business leaders are those who carry good decision-making abilities, courage, and presence of mind to lead businesses successfully. Those who are in technology sector possess the ability to recognize the smart technology that solves a real problem. They identify the market for that need, and with their shrewd business acumen they leverage the same to build a revolutionary solution that solves a real problem in the market. One such influential business leader in tech is Dr. Shimrit Tzur – David, the CSO and Co-Founder of Secret Double Octopus. The Secret Double Octopus is the passwordless authentication solution for the enterprises. It liberates end-users and security teams from the burden of passwords with the simplicity and security of strong passwordless authentication.
“To success, you must have a smart technology that solves a real problem, a market for that need, and a good team.”
In an interview with Insights Success, Dr. Shimrit Tzur – David shares about her journey and contribution through her leadership in Secret Double Octopus.
Below are the Highlights of the interview:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient tech business leader.
Since I was young, I had a passion for computers. My older brother studies computer science and I remember that I went through my brother ’s books, began to copy code and write it on the computer, just to see what it does. Back then, it was clear to me that this is what I want to do in my life. I studied computers in high school and then I completed my BSc in Computer Science. I continued my studies to MSc and PhD right after graduated. In my MSc and PhD, my research focused on information security, so when I finished my PhD, I continued my research as a post-doc researcher, first in the Hebrew University and then in Ben Gurion University. In my research, I thought of a new approach for data-in-motion security that use the same algorithm that is used today to protect the nuclear weapon launch code in the USA. I remember the moment I told this idea to the Professor I worked with, Prof. Dolev.
I wanted to pursue an academic career and I thought it was a great idea academically, I wasn’t interested in a career in industry, but Prof Dolev immediately understood it is a great idea that can have great applications. I remember him giving me a very intense look and saying that he thinks we should go meet Vcs.
The rest is a history. Secret Double Octopus was founded in 2015 by me, and 3 other co-founders. Secret Double Octopus is the Leader in Passwordless authentication for the workforce. We delight end users and security teams alike, by replacing passwords across the enterprise with the simplicity and security of strong passwordless authentication. From being named a Gartner “Cool Vendor” in 2016, our platform is now serving mid-sized to Fortune 50 customers around the globe and we are backed by leading global Vcs.
What roadblocks or challenges were faced by you in a corporate business? And how did you overcome them?
At first, our product was a site-to-site security solution for VPN. After a year, we felt we had a great product in our hands, but customers weren’t rushing to buy it. They all agree that we have a groundbreaking product, but the problem it solved wasn’t a high enough priority for them. We were running out of funds and needed to show some success stories for the next round, and we began thinking about pivoting. We worked on the authentication solution which is a security risk that really bothers the industry today. Once we had a working prototype that got popularity in the market, we made the full pivot, and the new product is selling very well.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?
We offer passwordless authentication to each and every service in the organization, including web-applications, legacy applications, and workstations login, both for online and offline modes. Our product can be installed at the customer pace, per-user, or per-service. In addition, the product can be installed fully on-prem, this helps many conservative organizations install our solution without any fear regarding leaking information.
Besides the basic installation that includes our Octopus mobile application, our server is FIDO certified so any FIDO authenticator can work with our solution without the need to use the Octopus application. In addition, many of our customers already have a password-based MFA, such as Okta or RSA. In that case, instead of coming with the approach of replacing the current installation, we are integrating with the already installed MFA to provide our full coverage of secure passwordless authentication solution to all services, but the users continue to use their current way to authenticate so the transition will be transparent to rd the users and the customer investment on the current 3 party MFA solution won’t be lost.
What, according to you, are the vital traits that every business leader should possess?
I think that the two most traits that a business leader should possess are the ability to make good diagnosis and courage. The basic 3 things that a startup should have are a smart technology, a market, and a good team. In some cases, the technology must be replaced along the way, and to make that change after you invest as lot on the current product, a business leader must have courage. another important thing is choosing the right team to walk with you, for that, you must have a perfect diagnosis when it comes to people, otherwise, you can waste a lot of time and money.
Where are you focusing your energy now, and where do you hope to make an impact next?
These days we are focusing on making strategic collaborations, those that, in one hand, can sell our product in large scales but in the other hand, will not add too much bandwidth. In my dreams, I can see every employee that comes into the office and logs in to the many services without passwords at all. Secret Double Octopus breaks the long-standing security paradigm, proving that organizations can have better security with a better user experience while reducing costs.