Ameya Talwalkar and Shreyans Mehta are the founders of Cequence Security. They have built a disruptive application security platform, which provides detection and defense of automated bot attacks as well as application vulnerability exploits. The platform is powered by patented AI technology and is deployed at several Fortune 500/Global 200 companies around the world. The Cequence solution secures close to a billion user accounts, preventing millions of dollars in fraud losses, saving millions of dollars in infrastructure cost and, most importantly, saving billions of dollars in brand/reputation loss from security breaches.
Prior to starting Cequence Security, Ameya was the engineering leader for Symantec’s entire anti-malware stack. This stack was integrated into every Symantec security product in the consumer and enterprise space and was responsible of preventing nearly 5 Billion cyber threats worldwide on a yearly basis. In early days of their career at Symantec, Shreyans and Ameya also built a disruptive network security engine which was considered a “game changer” in the industry and allowed Symantec to leapfrog ahead of the competition and win several industry reviews and awards.
Shreyans in his role as lead network security architect at Symantec led many innovative ideas based around this ground-breaking technology. For example, he started the “SafeWeb” initiative, which involved rating websites for their safety based on the billions of data points gathered from Symantec’s millions of users. This allowed Symantec customers to search and surf the web safely without having to worry about being infected. He later on used Machine Learning in a very innovative way to derive infection points of large scale botnets that were creating havoc in consumer and enterprise world. These were the early days of Ransomware.
Know-How of Leadership
According to the iconic duo, leaders should have a winning vision/mission for their company/organization and they should be able to clearly articulate that to their teams, their investors and their customers. They should be committed, accessible, trustworthy should lead by example. Moreover, they should cultivate a culture of trust, accountability, hardwork and having fun while doing it. Ameya and Shreyans also believe that, being a leader, one should continually assess progress on the vision/mission and be humble enough to make adjustments as necessary along the journey, while motivating the team to give their best every single day.
Believe in Yourself
One of the greatest lessons Ameya and Shreyans have learned is summarized in three words: “Believe in yourself!” They believed that they could build an engine that stops threats at the network level, way before file-based engines have a chance to tackle these threats. They believed they could build an engine that will work in various form factors – IoT devices, Windows PCs, large appliances and Cloud-based solutions. Despite skepticism from peers and seniors, they delivered a game changing technology that enhances security in all Symantec products.
Prior to Cequence, all bot mitigation solutions relied on technique – device fingerprinting. In fact this technique, which has its root in marketing technology going back to early 2000s, is so prevalent in this space that even industry analysts started advocating this as the way to solve the problem. The reality on the other hand is very different. In the early days of Cequence, Shreyans and Ameya realized that this technique has tremendous flaws in them – including the amount of time and pain it takes to integrate this into ALL applications that need to be protected from bots.
To overcome this, Shreyans and Ameya built a solution that does not require any application integration, protects all applications at once, and has deceptive mitigation capabilities. Today, the Cequence solution solves security problems for many fortune 500 / Global 2000 companies at scale. Their approach has received many accolades, including 2018 Gartner Cool Vendor.
Delivering Differentiated Product
Cequence Security’s product strategy derives from its founders’ experience in regularly shipping software to millions of customers around the world, expertise in building solutions to thwart the most sophisticated threats (even from state actors), interviewing and listening to a variety of large enterprise customers/early adopters, staying on top of industry trends, and most importantly build a team that can deliver a differentiated product to the market.
Ameya and Shreyans have faced the typical challenges that first time entrepreneurs face. Getting a venture off the ground in an expensive place like Silicon Valley, especially in the enterprise security space is very difficult. The architectural decision made in the early days of Cequence enabled them to build a differentiated product, but it had a few challenges – it was a much more complex product to build, it took longer to build and required a very experienced team to build it.
Both Ameya and Shreyans are really grateful to Cequence Security’s committed early investors and early employees who still have the same passion and dedication as they did on day one. One other challenge Ameya and Shreyans faced early on is “rising above the noise”. But Ameya and Shreyans started to get their message across by attending smaller conferences, writing blogs, attending various meetups, doing targeted webinars, and forging partnerships.
Committed to a Vision
Shreyans and Ameya are committed to building the next generation application security platform the way it should be. Their vision is to be able to protect applications from all kinds of attacks independent of where they are deployed or how they are deployed. This is a monumental task in itself and it is disrupting a large legacy market dominated for decades old technologies. While doing that they want to build a highly Successful/profitable company which builds shareholder value. As Palo Alto Networks is synonymous with Network Security, they want to make Cequence Security synonymous with Application Security.