We talked to Joe Boyle, founder of SaltDNA, about developing secure communication platforms, and this is what he said about it.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SaltDNA.
Joe Boyle: I was living in California working for a high-tech networking company and could not help but notice the dramatic shift towards mobility after the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and then Android in 2009. It was clear that communication apps were changing the way people were using their phones but they were mostly being aimed at consumers. We saw the opportunity to build a system that offered all of the nice elements of the consumer apps but, while focusing on an organizations’ security, allowed them to have full control of the system, remain compliant and of course, keep their private communications secure.
With SaltDNA we built the first holistic solution for closed encrypted communications between the users of mobile devices and the security systems they use within the organization. Our product provides full centralized control for administrators, as well as federated interfaces into and from trusted internal services. End users are busy professionals who need secure voice and video calls, messaging and image/file transfer to make important decisions while on the move. SaltDNA’s customers include global law firms, financial institutions, defense and security clients, oil and gas companies, and large enterprises across the globe.
Before SaltDNA, I was the director of product management for Silver Peak Systems and Blue Coat Systems, both in the network optimization space; and before that, I was employee number 4 at Replify, the first company to virtualize WAN optimization. I also worked on networking and communications technologies at F5 Networks and Aepona (acquired by Intel). I began my career as a software engineer in Apion which was acquired by Phone.com in 1999.
How does SaltDNA innovate?
Joe Boyle: As founders, we were very aware that having a world-class engineering team would give us a competitive edge within the market. We have a great mix of old guys like myself and top talent from the local universities here in Belfast. We have a very clear understanding of the direction that we want to go and we are continuously testing that with our existing and potential customers. Having this tight engagement with customers means that we maintain a high level of innovation.
This has proven to be a winning formula for us and the system has evolved quickly to support such configurations as allowing an organization to fully run its own secure communications platform by provisioning the option for on-premise deployment. Customers also have the option to have a full white-labeled version of the system if desired. On top of that SaltDNA offers many unique features restricting users from taking screenshots, securely downloading documents and images from internal systems or other users, and scheduling message and metadata clean-ups from their device.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Joe Boyle: The only change we have had to make is adjusting to all our staff working from home, which to be honest hasn’t been a difficult change. Our staff adapted quickly and could work from anywhere. Having a secure communication system has definitely helped us maintain constant contact. We’ve continued to hire and have not reduced our advertising spend during this period. Unlike many other businesses, we’ve been very lucky to have continued developing opportunities and building out our pipeline during this period.
We feel as confident as ever in our business and the technology we have developed. Since lockdown, there has been a huge move towards video conferencing technologies. We believe that, in the future, organizations will be much more willing to use this technology to provide flexibility to workers, reduce travel costs, and speed up decision-making and information sharing. Many of these conversations are very sensitive and the mainstream systems are not secure enough. We aim to be the leaders in secure communications for these companies.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Joe Boyle: Our app is the only app we use to communicate with each other securely throughout this crisis. SaltDNA is the best protection organizations have to secure trade secrets and other sensitive, strategic, and proprietary information when communicating on mobile devices. We utilize our own app throughout many aspects of the business, such as weekly board calls, scrum meetings, daily customer and partner conference calls.
How do you plan to stay in the game, ahead of the competition?
Joe Boyle: SaltDNA has many advantages/differentiators over competitors, both technically and functionally. The majority of SaltDNA’s competitors operate in the consumer market, offering secure communications for consumer use. These organizations believe that encryption alone is sufficient for security, but at SaltDNA we understand that whilst encryption is a fundamental aspect of communications until encryption is combined by the highest level of control, a communications system cannot be fully trusted. SaltDNA’s high-security system provides the same convenient user experience as consumer apps but in a safe and protected manner, enabling the customer to have full, centralized control of the system at all times.
Your final thoughts?
Joe Boyle: Our biggest challenge is definitely not being able to get face-to-face meetings with our customers and partners. We work in an industry where strong trusted relationships are so important. Given that this is a global pandemic, we have found that much of what we would have only talked about in face-to-face meetings have moved to secure calls. The silver lining is that we’re a secure communications company!
The current pandemic has been deeply impactful for many businesses and it has caused organizations to think differently about how they approach their cybersecurity strategies. SaltDNA has been ready to deploy its solution to organizations across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The year 2020 proved to be a breakout year for SaltDNA, achieving strong growth and a plan to repeat its success in 2021. SaltDNA intends to continue building its reputation with more success and a larger global footprint.
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