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Leonid Shtilman on The role of CEO
Viewfinity provides the only solution which offers complete application control features and administrative privilege capabilities to protect against sophisticated zero-day attacks, malware, and advanced persistent threats. Our next generation application control provides everything needed for whitelisting - from trusted sources and updaters to a cloud-based system which can rank unknown executables, reinforced with managed administrative privileges. Applications not yet classified run in a sandbox "greylist mode" and are automatically evaluated and assigned to a white/black list. Our solution enhances the utilization of antivirus as a protective filter for the greylist. This approach leads to more secure desktop and server environments, enables high operational IT efficiency via a lower TCO model, and maximizes end user productivity.

Rake Narang: Which multiple hats does a today’s CEO have to wear? What best practices can you share with tech CEO’s who are early in their career?

Leonid Shtilman: The CEO, especially in young company, is not just a person who only oversees what other people are doing or makes decisions on hiring and firing. As the CEO, you must understand all aspects of your business. You should not compete with your CTO on technology, but you do need to understand technology and communicate well with your CTO in order to be a good CEO. Can you sell your product by yourself, without assistance of a sales manager? If so, you are a good CEO. One of my friends who is the CEO of several companies even has a rule: until you've reached $10 million in revenue, you should not hire a VP of sales. It's also a good business practice for the CEO of a young company to have primary responsibility for business development. Hire other people to help you with business development, but you and only you should create major business relationships and partnerships. This is especially true for the CEO of a young company versus the CEO of a well-established company.

Rake Narang: What are three tips for building a great team?

Leonid Shtilman:

  1. Give more power to young people. Alexander the Great, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had no experience. You should choose the best managers who will manage to grow  the business as fast possible. Young people might understand the trends in the market better and they can build a team more efficiently.
  2. Product development should be run equally by product management and business development. Business is not an IQ competition. You need innovations driven by your business ideas and not your business ideas driven by innovation. It is not an easy task to reach a harmony between business and technology, but without this harmony you will be lost.
  3. Create internal competition and do not be afraid to create a real difference in compensation and promotion of your best people. Your business relies on its best people much more than you may think. Building an elite team and creating an atmosphere that allows new people to enter this elite status is very important.

Rake Narang: What are the challenges of managing a global business?

Leonid Shtilman: The major challenges center around understanding of legal, business and human differences between different countries. For example, as the CEO you should not only understand the differences between privacy laws in different countries, the role of trade unions, the differences in labor laws – you must also accept them as “normal.” As a CEO you should be aware ahead of time that it will be very difficult to fire unsuccessful employees in some countries, that it will be difficult to build long term commitment from an employee in another country, and so on. Another challenge lies in the creation of a trust between company’s headquarters and foreign employees. The CEO should accept that those employees are not just “Americans speaking another language,” but they are people who have different backgrounds and a different way of thinking, different working habits, etc. For an early stage company that started overseas, for example, many times bringing in an American CEO is not successful.

Rake Narang: What are some of the trends you’re seeing in technology company investments this year?

Leonid Shtilman: I've identified three major trends:
  1. The focus on non-Windows based devices. While the vast majority of business devices are based on Windows, the feeling of investors in the technology sector today is that they will accomplish a faster and better return on their investment in a world not dominated by Microsoft. The exclusion in this approach is investments in security.
  2. Investments in cloud infrastructure. Investors consider that this trend is similar to the separation of the transportation business from the business of producing vehicles. The goal is to build a manageable solution for the entire IT infrastructure and not only to servers and storage.
  3. Increased investments in security is a natural response to the increase in a variety of attacks –from thieves and hacktivists to foreign political and economic competitors. New threats are going beyond antivirus and firewall and require massive investments in additional levels of protection.

Company: Viewfinity
400 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA 02451 U.S.A.

Founded in: 2007
CEO: Leonid Shtilman
Public or Private: Private
Products and Services: Application Control and Privilege Management
Company's Goals: Viewfinity continues to lead out in defining the most meaningful and logical next steps in the IT security sector through new levels of automation and concrete solutions that help companies make IT security best practices a reality in their environment. We will strive to increase the adoption of our next generation application control by raising awareness in the market regarding the importance of abiding by the principle of least privileges and the number of security risks this practice mitigates. With the increase in end user computing mobility, Viewfinity’s Next Generation Application Control will become the de facto fundamental layer for helping companies secure their IT infrastructure from malware and APT.
Key Words: Enterprise IT Security, Application Control, Privilege Management, Whitelisting

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