Don has over 17 years of technical, sales, product marketing and management experience in the technology industry in Asia. He currently holds the post of Regional Director at Pulse Secure LLC where he led the APAC spin-off from Juniper and the successful rejuvenation of the business, which was later recognized by Frost & Sullivan in 2016 & 2017. Prior to joining Pulse Secure, he held the post of Regional Director at BlueCat Networks Inc where he developed the business from conception with a channel ecosystem of over 100 partners across the continent.
Sachi Mulmi (SM), a researcher with Frost & Sullivan had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Don Tan (DT), Regional Director at Pulse Secure LLC.
SM: What is the unique value proposition of your company, and what are your key competitive differentiators?
DT: Every day at Pulse Secure, we work towards the single goal of Securing Access. We believe that users should not need to worry about whether they’re connecting to the cloud from a tablet at the office, or to their datacentre from a laptop while at the beach. Security is all about access and not control. Hence users should be able to get their work done easily no matter where they are or what device they are using. We have built our solutions around this philosophy, where we integrate remote, cloud, network, mobile and even application access into a single unified platform that is simple for the user, secure for any organization and easy to administer. The Secure Access platform offers IT a single converged management console, a unified client for all devices, and a common enforcement platform that is natively integrated and built on the concept that security has to be as dynamic as the threats it faces and users it protects.
SM: What do you want your company to accomplish in the next couple of years and how would you define success for your company?
DT: We currently have a piece of software (Pulse Client) residing on over 18 million endpoints, with 80% of Fortune 500 companies trusting us with their Secure Access needs. One measure of success would of course be to seeing even more companies from all sizes and verticals join us on this Secure Access journey. However, the other commitment that we take seriously as a team is customer satisfaction. We greatly appreciate that our customers love us and would recommend us. At present, our Net Promoter Score is 49, which tells us we are on the right track, and we want to continue to grow that.
SM: What are the most common network security threats in Asia-Pacific?
DT: One of the most common threats are definitely from internal sources i.e. employees and contractors. The high rate of smartphone penetration, especially in Asia, brings a slew of new devices in the network. The number of smartphones in China alone is more than double that of the US population. Unsanctioned devices along with increasingly sophisticated threats are challenging for traditional perimeter defenses such as firewalls when the threats can come from anywhere. It is hard to cope. IT needs scalable solutions to keep up, and vendors like us need to provide them with the means. A carpenter is only as good as his tools.
SM: What do you see as the future trends of this industry related to technology, legislation and customer demands?
DT: For me, the most interesting trend unfolding before us right now relates to legislation and innovation. For some countries, the challenge lies in the fact that legislation is struggling to catch up with evolving marketplaces such as the shared economy. Most countries seem to be forward-thinking by embracing the wave of innovation and technological disruption. While technological progression has inevitably displaced jobs in the past decades, some researchers theorize that robotics in the next decade could have a far more lasting impact. Will the rise of IoT correlate to a decrease in other forms of access? It will be interesting to observe the impact.
SM: Will network security continue to exist, or will other solutions and services take its place?
DT: The current approach can be summarized with the following: I will use the datacenter where I must, the cloud where I can, and mobile for everything else. For as long as there is something valuable worth guarding, there has been a need to guard it. It is why we have guard patrols and why padlocks were developed. Static network security will cease to exist as user patterns grow increasingly demanding. Dynamic defenses will take its place for all devices, including datacenters and clouds. If ‘knowledge is power’, in IT, ‘context is key’. Is this device compromised or rooted? What level of access should be provided? The solutions of the future will have to answer these.
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