First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rick Deacon: Doing as fine as we can be. My parents are safe in Ohio, while my S/O and I have been under SIP in northern California. We’re learning new skills and staying safe.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Apozy
Rick Deacon: My career began in grade school, hacking websites and playing with trojans, which eventually turned into me learning a lot about computers, networking, security, and ethical hacking. I achieved an Associate’s Degree from a community college near my hometown in Ohio, dropped out, and was offered a position as an intern at an accounting firm as an IT Specialist. I took the job, which eventually led me to my main career as a penetration tester. I was a pentester at a few companies for roughly 6 years.
As a penetration tester, hacking huge companies every day, I found that they were always easy targets for social engineering and phishing. Always. I founded Apozy in 2013 with my co-founder, knowing that I could change the way companies look at and secure against phishing attacks. That’s exactly what Apozy does.
How does Apozy innovate?
Rick Deacon: Apozy innovates by creating Airlock, a first of its kind Browser Defense Platform that uses Visual AI to determine website safety in real-time. We do so using tech that exists inside browsers already, enabling us to make a security product that is efficient, easy to use, and effective.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Rick Deacon: COVID slowed down new leads for a while but since has picked back up, and we’re doing better than ever.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Rick Deacon: We did end up leaving the office space we had rented, but that wasn’t a difficult choice. It was an easy decision, especially now that we’re 6 months in.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Apozy in the future?
Rick Deacon: I work out and enjoy my hobbies to de-stress. I always put the progress of the company one step behind employee welfare, including my co-founder and I. First, we make sure we’re doing well to create the best work environment and then focus on hitting metrics that make the company succeed.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Rick Deacon: Our competitors, our Cisco Umbrella, ZScaler, Menlo Security, Fireglass, and Authentic8. We will be ahead of them because of our focus on ensuring our mid-market customers can use our product without interrupting their employees. The big negative of most security boils down to ruining the user’s experience.
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