We talked about Paul Hadjy of Horangi about its specialization in penetration testing, phishing assessments, source code and architecture reviews, as well as CISO-as-a-service and security awareness training. He had the following to say about it:-
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Horangi.
Paul Hadjy: I have been starting companies ever since I was in college, most of which only had moderate success. With Horangi, I decided to start a business in line with my professional career and education while utilizing the experience of running smaller businesses. The idea for Horangi came when I was transitioning from Palantir to Grab. At Grab, I was running the security and IT teams, and when looking for cloud security vendors, I had a hard time finding any based outside of the U.S. or Israel. Seeing that clear gap in Asia, Lee and I decided to start Horangi.
How does Horangi innovate?
Paul Hadjy: Innovation is very important to us and how we operate at Horangi. In cybersecurity, we need to always remember that the bad guys only need to be right once. While we, on the other side, need always to be right. Innovation is essential in how we use our knowledge and skills to make a difference in the safety and security of consumers and businesses. In fact, our company mission is to empower our customers to innovate without fear. In practice, our main product Horangi Warden, a Cloud Security Posture Management solution that helps companies using the public cloud to automate their security and compliance management, is the result of innovative problem-solving in addition to our lessons learnt from building a web and code scanner software. The spirit for continual innovation also means that we’re always trying to think ahead. With Warden, we are launching the 1-click remediation later this month. This will empower our customers to not only identify security issues but also fix them with just a single click within the cloud.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Paul Hadjy: Beyond the coronavirus pandemic, education in the regional SME space is pertinent for us to tackle. We have to educate the market. Ultimately, we try to help companies solve cybersecurity issues, and it is education that makes people understand the existing problems. Most cloud service providers actually work on what is called a shared responsibility model, which means that the cloud service provider is responsible for some parts of security, but the customer is actually responsible for others. With Horangi Warden, our Cloud Security Posture Management product, we focus on helping our customers fix their security and compliance issues so that they can have a 24/7 look at what issues need to be addressed and implement those changes into their development lifecycle.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Paul Hadjy: Yes, of course. Going into COVID, we chose to slow down our growth plans for the year, stop hiring, and reduce costs in certain areas to ensure we would survive; however, long COVID would last. We learned so much over the past year, but one of the learnings that sticks with me the most was the power of the team coming together in a crisis.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Paul Hadjy: I always try to stay healthy and create balance outside of my work life; this really helps when things at work are stressful. A very influential person in my life called this finding your equator, which I relate to often. I think it’s really important to spend time in nature, stay fit, and do things that you really enjoy. Internally at the company, we actually also play a lot of Call of Duty Warzone which helped keep up communication during the lockdown.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Paul Hadjy: Horangi will continue to expand into different countries across the region, while our long-term vision is to build a cloud security platform. We will double down and own more market share in Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, as well as build new products. We just launched our services for GCP, but we are looking to launch services for Microsoft Azure and Alibaba Cloud in 2021, and we’ll continue to launch for other cloud service providers.