Seokwoo Lee | Founder & CEO | Penta Security Systems

Today, businesses and the internet are united, as businesses are run on the internet. The market demands applications of both safe and stable foundation of technology as well as applications of fast and   new technologies. Nonetheless, applications of enterprise security must never be compromised regardless of the circumstantial changes and by taking this into consideration, Penta Security Systems, a leading provider of web and data security products, solutions, and services, was incepted.

Below are highlights of the interview conducted between Penta Security and Insights Success:

What led to the inception of Penta Security? 

When I was eager to pursue my entrepreneurship desires back in 1997, the internet started to gain popularity. In this stage where things were rapidly changing and most certainly in the connectivity sector, it made me realize that everyone will sooner or later be placed in a situation where connectivity security is inevitable in their lives.

After the foundation, the company focused on utilizing the merits of this county, South Korea. It was not easy to establish Penta Security as an OS or a networking technology provider as some of the firms in the US were already taking the lead in the world. This is the reason why I have decided to focus on developing security for the developers. In South Korea, there is a relatively high number of application developers, therefore we thought we could listen to their demands, reflect them on our products, and eventually create something that is developer-centric. As expected, ‘Web application security’ has become inevitable for the businesses because their most important assets, the data, went on the applications. As a result, compared to the existing system and network security, ‘data security’ became the most important part of maintaining the businesses nowadays.

From ‘things’ to ‘vehicles’ and now ‘blockchain’ that’s enormously and innovatively impacting our decision-making processes, we are coping with big and important changes as an IT security firm. We strongly believe that security must keep up with rapid technological changes and by taking the lead, Penta Security has been expanding its security offerings from IoT to all sorts of mobility environments.

How do you diversify the organization’s offerings in web and data security to appeal to the target audience? 

Today, businesses and the internet are united. Businesses are run on the internet, which now are the applications. The market demands applications of both safe and stable foundation of technology as well as applications of fast and new technologies. In terms of applying security to the rapidly changing environment, Penta Security is confident to stress that developing the methodologies in order to keep up with the changes is one of the biggest and important goals of the company.

Penta Security’s web security product responds fast to proxy deployment, inline topology, cloud, and other web-related environment changes. Data encryption product also responds fast to DBMS, file systems, cloud, and other data management-related environment changes including log and images, the unstructured data. We have been expanding our offerings in order to meet the demands of encryption in different areas, with our data encryption products.

From then on, we focused on providing different solutions to different audiences. To begin with, we managed to provide ‘detection’ solution to compensate the security features the developers might have missed, then ‘encryption’ solution to protect critical data assets, and finally, ‘authentication’ solution to allow users to identify themselves in the interconnecting network. Our offerings have managed to expand and diversify in IoT, automobiles, trains, and ships as well, via associating these main security features.

In result, Penta Security has registered 95 international and domestic patents and gained 58 international and domestic certifications. Moreover, won 37 product awards including the latest ‘Cybersecurity Excellence Awards’, ‘Gold Winner of Database Security 2018’, and TU-Automotive’s ‘2019 Best Auto Cybersecurity Product/Service’ with our authentication, detection, and encryption solutions.

Give a detailed description of the featured person’s influence over the company and the industry. 

Security must be at the head of IT and its transformation in order to let the technologies develop each and every part of the business. Therefore, as the CEO and Founder of an IT security company, I believe it’s most important to provide a clear vision and role of security to the employees. Letting the professionals do their jobs, whilst the entrepreneur leads the direction is what I believe managing and running a successful company really means.

Security is not only deeply engaged within the industry, but also with national policies. Even with the slightest misleading regulations, the result and the impact can be beyond our control. Therefore, we strongly believe that IT security firms must take part in the process of policy making. In order to achieve this, we have been actively participating in developing national industries by weighing in our opinions. We’re also engaged with technology institutes as we believe educating the next generation’s professionals is one of our important missions as the leader in the industry.

As per your opinion, what are the web and data security roadblocks or challenges organizations facing today? And what is your advice to overcome them? 

The biggest obstruction is the existing custom that only focuses on finding the vulnerabilities and in turn, patching them temporarily, assuming that the initial issues had been resolved. I definitely agree with the effort at least, however, looking ahead to building an immune IT system from the start is what actually matters the most.

We must let security become an important part of building the IT system – especially when we live in such a hyperconnected society. The whole concept well explains Penta Security’s philosophy and vision, which is ‘Secure First, Then Connect’. It is also very common to face situations where policymakers with big influence that lack a good understanding of new technologies end up developing wrongful IT policies. There are times when industry revitalization agendas produce actual regulations and results that stand in the way. In order to prevent social resources from standing in the way of developments, Penta Security is putting a lot of resources to educate, inspire, and promote base-level, easily understandable IT security to non-professionals out there.

How does Penta Security cope with the volatile technological trends to boost its growth? 

When trying to respond quickly to the changes, there is always a mix of old and new ways. This is not just about the conflict of the old and new, but it’s about efficiency. Penta Security puts its best effort in solving the decline of efficiency in structural and procedural ways. If we feel the need to focus on developing and applying new, innovative, and disruptive technologies, we form a new team or a department as well as new labs for in-depth developments in order to meet the needs of new business opportunities. We alternatively separate the company through spin-offs if necessary, as we truly believe that responding fast to the changes is what makes us ‘Penta Security’ as a whole.

Could you throw some light on your mission and vision statement? 

The concept of realizing an ‘Open Society’, which I deliberated when starting the company, have become the company’s vision. As mentioned, trying to fix the problem only after an incident occurs, is the worst way of realizing security as we can imagine. Modernization is all about communicating, interchanging, and sharing. We cannot grow and develop without these in an open society. If we want to feel secured even with our doors wide open, we must give trust and trust others who enter our safety zones. Penta Security is the company that can provide that trust and we strongly believe this is what ‘Trust for an Open Society’ really means to us. With Penta Security’s security solutions, businesses can  trust and freely manage businesses in their own disruptive ways.

What are your company’s future aspirations? What strategies are you undertaking to achieve those goals? 

What IT security meant to other industries back in the days weren’t much at all – in fact, it was just seen as a component part that supports the entire IT system. We wanted to build an IT security company that resolves any issues related to IT security from the first step, and that starts when building the initial IT system in a business. We thrive to build a safe platform and an infrastructure based on the concept of ‘Security by Design’. As a recent example, there is automotive security. In addition to automobiles, we are planning on expanding our desires to trains and ships, by providing security to all sorts of mobility environments.

The established IT was all about connecting users to the central system. However now, different devices are connected to each other and ‘connected car’ is a typical example. With our wholesystem approach to security, we believe it enables an era of hyper web integration and connectivity. Therefore, we aim to drive safer transport through our efforts in smart mobility, provide automotive security for connected and electric vehicles, automotive blockchain technology, and a mobility data intelligence platform.

We’re going through a big change where the method of connectivity has become completely different compared to the past. This, it is not an overstatement to say that blockchain, a new computing system that drives innovative changes in decision-makings, is leading this change. This change not only impacts other industries but mostly, impacts the security industry and of course, Penta Security as well. Running different technological labs, subsidiaries, and teams in each security sector in order to put ourselves out of the comfort zone, is what we constantly aim to achieve, with our best effort.

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